If you’re new to iPhones or just haven’t explored yours too closely, you may be curious about the few buttons that appear on the device. Although the iPhone can mostly be used via the screen alone, these physical buttons are integral to the phone’s functionality. So, what exactly is the sleep/wake button?
The sleep/wake button allows you to put your iPhone into sleep mode and wake it back up again, darkening and brightening the display as needed. It can also be used in combination with the volume up button to turn the phone off or to send an SOS signal if you’re in trouble, or take a screenshot.
Let’s take a closer look at the iPhone’s sleep/wake button, including its primary functions and also what you can do if it’s not working properly or breaks.
What Is the Sleep/Wake Button on the iPhone?
On certain iPhone models, there’s a sleep/wake button to give you easy access to your screen (or to turn it off). But that’s not all the sleep/wake button does.
On the latest iPhone models, holding down the sleep/wake button along with the volume up button will give you the option to send an SOS signal (essentially calling 911) or power the iPhone off.
If you release the volume up button and keep holding the sleep/wake one, then you can perform a hard reset of your iPhone.
The most common thing the button is used for is simply to wake up your iPhone or to turn the screen dark when you’re finished using it.
How Do You Find the Sleep/Wake Button?
If your iPhone has a sleep/wake button, then it’ll be located on the right-hand side. Feel along the side of your iPhone and, towards the top, you should feel the ridge of a button.
This is the sleep/wake button — it shouldn’t be confused with the volume buttons, which are generally located on the left-hand side of the phone.
Which iPhone Versions Have a Sleep/Wake Button?
If you can’t find your sleep/wake button, then you may have an older iPhone. The button is only available on the iPhone 6 or later. Before that, the home button was used to perform a lot of the same functions.
The home button is located as a circular button below the screen on the models that have it. The newest iPhone models, such as the iPhone 13 Plus (available on Amazon), do not have a home button.
How to Stop Your iPhone From Going Into Sleep Mode
You don’t need your sleep/wake button to put your iPhone into Sleep Mode. It will automatically enter Sleep Mode after a set amount of time, depending on your settings. You can change them by following these steps:
- Head to ‘Settings.’
- Scroll to ‘Display & Brightness.’
- Hit ‘Auto-Lock.’
You can also choose to set a longer amount of time before your iPhone goes into Sleep Mode, or you can choose to never have it go into Sleep Mode at all, depending on your preferences. Just be aware that Sleep Mode conserves battery, so if your screen is always on, you will notice that the battery life drains a lot faster.
It’s also important to note that without Sleep Mode, your iPhone may come into contact with things in your pocket or bag, causing apps to open unintentionally. Sleep Mode isn’t just handy for privacy and conserving battery — it ensures that everything you do on your phone is deliberate.
What Can I Do About a Broken Sleep/Wake Button?
If your sleep/wake button is broken, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take.
Try a Hard Reset
Make sure the sleep/wake button is actually broken by performing a hard reset on your phone. Hold the button down along with the volume up button for ten seconds, then release the volume up button and keep holding the sleep/wake button.
If the phone doesn’t restart, then there is definitely something wrong with the button.
Check if the Button Presses Down
If you can physically press the sleep/wake button down and it feels normal, then it’s possible you’re facing a software glitch. If you can feel the button snag or it’s not pressing down at all, however, something might have come loose in the physical hardware.
Update and Reset Your Phone
If the button feels normal, you can try updating and resetting your phone to rule out an easy software fix. First, follow these steps:
- Head to ‘Settings.’
- Tap ‘General.’
- Tap ‘Updates.’
Check if there’s an update available for your phone. Apple fixes known bugs with their iOS updates.
If there’s no update available or updating the phone doesn’t fix the issue, you can restore the phone in one of two ways:
- By heading to ‘Settings’ > ‘General’ > ‘Reset’ to reset the phone to factory settings.
- By plugging the phone into your computer via a lightning cable (on Amazon) and choosing the ‘Restore’ option in iTunes.
Your phone will then take a few minutes to reset. You can restore it to a backup or to factory settings through iTunes, but don’t forget to back up any content you might need ahead of time if you choose the latter.
Get the Phone Repaired
If none of the above solutions work, then it’s likely that there’s a hardware issue. While seasoned technical wizards may be able to buy the parts online and follow a tutorial on how to replace the sleep/wake button, doing so isn’t advised for those who aren’t confident and experienced with such things. Instead, those people should take their phones to a technician.
Taking an iPhone to a repair shop that isn’t Apple certified may void any warranty you have, so be sure to check out your options with Apple Support. They can usually quote you a price and timeframe online before you send your phone off or take it into a retail store.