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What to do if your phone won’t turn on: A step by step guide

If you've ever asked yourself, ''why won't my phone turn on?'' you're not alone. Even if you're a professional Android tinkerer, things could occasionally go beyond your skill level and you may find yourself wondering what to do with a phone that won't turn on.

If you’ve ever asked yourself, ”why won’t my phone turn on?” you’re not alone. Even if you’re a professional Android tinkerer, things could occasionally go beyond your skill level and you may find yourself wondering what to do with a phone that won’t turn on. Today we’ll take a look at a few reasons why your phone won’t turn on and also look at a few fixes for the same.

Jump to:

Check if your phone is plugged in

Is the problem just with the screen?

If your phone was dropped or got wet

Was the phone buggy before breaking?

Check the battery

Charger and cable problems

Android stops at the logo screen

Use your computer to force it to turn on

Amazon Basics USB-C charging cable

1. Is it plugged in?

Just kidding – but seriously, when was the last time you charged it? Sometimes time flies when you’re having fun watching cat videos and the next time you pick your phone up it won’t turn on because you’ve YouTubed it to death. Grab a power supply and make sure you actually have some juice on your phone before we proceed. Remember, sometimes you need to charge for a few minutes before your phone can power itself on.

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NextPit no battery

First things first: Did you charge it lately? / © NextPit

Anker 32W 2-port charger

2. Is it on but the screen isn’t on?

This is the next possibility, the phone is actually on but the display isn’t working. The easiest way to check this is to long-press the power button to force it to shut off and then turn it back on. You should hear a boot sound or feel a vibration. This means your phone is working but you have a display driver or screen problem.

If you have a PC and a cable to connect your phone, then we have a guide on how to recover the data from your phone. As for a broken screen, that’s a job for the repair store.

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shutterstock 549707107

Troubleshooting is not always so obvious if the display is broken / © Piyawan Charoenlimkul/Shutterstock

3. Did you drop it or get it wet?

This is one of the most common reasons a phone won’t turn on. If you’ve recently dropped your phone or it has gotten wet, you might have some issues. Trying to turn a wet phone on too soon can short circuit your phone and fry it, so if it gets wet, follow our guide on what to do with a water-damaged phone.

To put things succinctly, if you dropped your phone in water and it won’t turn on, you’re going to need to take it in for repair as you most likely have a hardware problem or a damaged display. But before that, you can still try getting some data out of it by using the steps mentioned in the article below.

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water shutterstock 658708180

Not every device can handle water / © blackzheep/Shutterstock

4. Did it gradually get buggy and then die?

If you started to notice some weirdness, like crashes, restarts, or other things that shouldn’t happen in the lead-up to your phone no longer turning on, you might just have a software issue that can be fixed by replacing the firmware.

First, you’re going to want to get as much data off as you can and then flash new firmware. We have guides for the popular devices on NextPit to help you out, and you can also try a factory reset to clear up any other problems. If this sounds too complicated, take it to your carrier store for assistance.

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5. Is your battery bloated or leaking?

Another rather obvious reason your phone might not turn on is that the battery has simply given up the ghost permanently. This usually happens gradually over time, but it can occasionally happen suddenly, especially if your battery is bloated or leaking.

If your battery cover is removable, take it out and inspect it for damage, bulges, or leaks. If you find any, get a new battery pronto and dispose of the old one safely.

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swollen battery shutterstock 2107712735

Swollen batteries pose a risk of explosion / © Artfully Photographer/Shutterstock

6. Is your charger or cable kaput?

Sometimes you’re left wondering why isn’t your phone turning on and it turns out that the phone isn’t the culprit at all. There have been occasions even the smartest of people have not identified that the issue is because of a faulty charger cable, adapter, or even a wall socket. So make sure you try a different USB cable, different power adapter (if you have one), and another power outlet in your home before you know you can definitely blame your phone.

Amazon Basics 68W two-port USB-C and USB-A wall charger

7. Are you just seeing the logo screen?

If your phone will actually turn on but won’t go past the boot screen, this is what we call a boot loop. It generally means your phone will start as normal but just get stuck forever on the logo screen.

If you’ve recently updated to a new version of Android or flashed a custom ROM it might be as simple a solution as entering Recovery and wiping the cache partition or doing a data wipe/factory reset or, in the worst possible case, you might have bricked your phone.

For a tutorial, check our guide on how to factory reset your Android phone, or search our site for your specific device. If your phone is currently fine and you’re reading this out of curiosity, we’d like to kindly advise you to back up everything on your phone, just in case this happens to you in the future!

8. Use your computer to force it to turn on

If you are using an Android device and are faced with the ‘phone not turning on’ problem, there is another way you can try powering it on. This step involves your PC and this is a fix that has been endorsed by Google. Here’s what you need to do.

Connect your smartphone to your computer via USB.

Let it charge for 15 to 20 minutes.

Take the cable out of the phone, don’t disconnect it from your computer, and plug it back in again within 10 seconds of removing it.

Let it charge for a further 30 minutes at least.

Press and hold down the power button on the phone for 5 seconds and then hit restart.

If you don’t get the restart option straight away, continue holding down the power button for 30 seconds.

If none of these tips have worked, it could be time to take your device to a repair shop.


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