Picture of the Apple iPod Touch Player, displaying the Reset All Settings progress bar screen.

How to Reboot an Unresponsive iPod Touch

Now and again, we’ve noted that the touch screen responsiveness on the iPod Touch MC011LL disappears.  E.g. Touching and moving the finger across the screen produces no action from the iPod.  Thus, you cannot unlock it to play music or run other apps. The only way we find to fix this and unfreeze the screen, is to reboot the iPod Touch player.  But how do you reboot an unresponsive iPod Touch player, when tap and swipe gestures fail to work ?

How to Reboot an Unresponsive iPod Touch Player Intro

Indeed, you cannot reboot in the easiest way without swiping the slider bar on the Slide to Power Off screen, as shown next.  Without touch screen responsiveness, you cannot move the power off slider to the right.

Picture of the Slide to Power Off Screen on the iPod Touch player.
iPod Touch Slide To Power Off Screen

Indeed you could plug your iPod into an iTunes computer and reboot it from there. Or, you could just allow the iPod battery run dead. Then connect it to AC power and turn it on again.

But we like neither of these options.  Why? Because a user may not have a PC running iTunes nearby. And most folks may not have the time to wait for the battery to run all the way dead.  There is another way though, as follows.

How to Reboot an Unresponsive iPod Touch Player, Step by Step Instructions

To reboot (soft reset) when the screen freezes, press and hold the Sleep and Home buttons at the same time.

The red Slide to power off slider then appears, as pictured above.

But, just keep holding both buttons in at this point.

After a few seconds, the screen goes blank.

Then after a short period more, the Apple logo appears. This means that a reboot in progress.  Release the buttons when you see the logo, as pictured next.

Picture of the iPod Touch Boot Screen, which appears after power on.
iPod Touch Boot Screen, which appears after power on.

After one or so minutes, the lock screen should appear, as shown next. Hopefully now, you can work the Slide to Unlock control on the screen once more.  Rebooting often fixes frozen touch screens.  Note that this soft reset does not erase the music, contacts, email, and other data in the player.

Picture of the iPod Touch portable player, displaying the Lock screen. How to Reboot an Unresponsive iPod Touch.
iPod Touch portable player, displaying the Lock screen.

To avoid the frozen touch screen problem, we do not let our iPod Touch go all the way dead. Why?  Because doing so can result in a hung touch screen at the next reboot.  Also, we avoid static electricity around the data and headphone ports.  Be careful of touching near these ports when handling your iPod in very dry places.


  • We tested the rebooting routine above on iPod Touch portable players running iOS 5.1.1 (9B206).

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References for How to Reboot an Unresponsive iPod Touch

  1. iPod Touch Official Support Page
  2. iPod Touch Product Page

Revisions Log

  • 2019-07-14: Added key phrase targeting for ‘Reboot iPod Touch Player’, removed ad code scripts, and added more tags and links.
  • 2016-07-17: First published.