Why is my phone screen black? Causes and quick fixes

Updated on 20 May 2024

Published May 20, 2024 - Your phone screen can go black for a few reasons, like software issues, LED display problems, the need for a factory reset, overheating, or malware. But don’t panic — the problem might be fixable. Before digging into your wallet, check out the quick fixes in our guide below.

Reaching for your phone only to find the screen won’t light up can be frustrating — especially when you know it’s on and should be working. Luckily, the black screen of death doesn’t always mean your phone’s life is over. 

Keep reading to learn some top reasons your phone screen might be black — and what you can do to quickly fix or address the issue.


1. Software issues

When a phone goes dark, software-related problems are a common culprit. From bugs in a new iOS update to complications from trying to jailbreak your phone, faulty software is an ongoing risk. Even having apps with conflicting code installed on your phone can lead to software glitches. 

How to fix it: If you think your phone is broken from a jailbreak gone wrong, try a factory reset. Otherwise, a developer update can solve many software-related issues. To see if there’s an available update for your phone: 

  • Connect your phone to a PC, iMac, or MacBook with a USB/lightning cable.

  • Search for a downloadable update from your phone’s manufacturer.

  • Follow developer instructions to install the update.

2. Issues with the LED display

A phone’s LED component is responsible for displaying images on its screen. If something damages the connections here, your screen can go dark. A bad drop is usually enough to cause this kind of issue. One sign your phone has LED display issues is that everything but the display is functional.


How to fix it: You may need professional services to fix your phone’s LED display, but it’s always worth troubleshooting first. Here’s what to do if you think your phone may have LED display problems: 

  •  Double-check if your LED is broken by resetting your phone. 

  • If resetting didn’t solve the issue, contact a phone screen repair service that can diagnose and potentially repair the broken component.

3. Internal temperature is too high

Smartphones have sensitive internal components, which can sustain damage from high temperatures — like sitting in a parked car on a sunny day. Your windshield can magnify the heat, just like a kid using a magnifying glass to fry an egg on the sidewalk for a science project. While fried eggs can be great, fried phones? Not so much. Overheating can ultimately damage both the phone’s hardware and software. 

One sign your phone might have overheated is that the black screen glitches. When a phone’s internal processor gets too hot, it can cause lockups that lead the phone to glitch or become unresponsive. And if the high heat continues? The black screen of death could become permanent.    

For this reason, try to avoid leaving your phone in areas of high heat. 

How to fix it: While this isn’t always the case, some damage from overheating is temporary and fixable. Here’s what to do: 

  • Remove the phone from the heat, turn off the device, remove the phone case (it can trap heat), and allow it to cool down. 

  • Avoid charging the phone until it has completely cooled since charging can generate additional heat. 

  • Restart the phone and update its software. This can help address software issues caused by overheating. 

  • Monitor your phone’s health, especially its battery life. You may need to schedule professional services or replace parts if there’s lasting damage. 

4. Malware or viruses

Malicious apps, phishing schemes, unsecured Wi-Fi networks, and many other threats can leave your phone vulnerable to malware or viruses. If infected, your phone’s performance can start to drag — glitching, freezing, defaulting to the black screen of death, and other holdups. Malware is incredibly harmful and can even lead to identity theft.


To avoid malware and viruses, practice safe internet etiquette anytime you use your device. Avoid downloading files from unknown sources, don’t visit unsecured websites, and check app reviews for red flags like glitching or other device impairment before downloading.  

How to fix it: If you suspect malicious software and have tried other troubleshooting methods for your black screen, consider contacting a professional repair service.

  • Contact a professional repair service, and do not connect the infected phone to other devices. Plugging an infected device into your iMac or other computer risks spreading malware.

5. In need of a factory reset

If your phone screen stays black after multiple rounds of troubleshooting, it may be time for a factory reset. Doing so will restore your phone to its factory settings, erasing all data and settings that might be causing the issue. Before doing a factory reset, save any photos or files you want to keep from your phone — otherwise, you could lose them permanently. 

How to fix it: The steps to performing a factory reset will differ by phone, but here are the general steps: 

  • Backup your data. For iPhones, you can use iCloud by going to “Settings” and then “iCloud Backup.” For Android, go to your device settings and look for “Backup” to use either Google Drive or the device backup service. 

  • Reset your phone. For most iPhones, you can trigger a factory reset by holding the power button and the down volume button for several seconds. For Android, navigate to “System” and then “Reset.” You do not need to remove or activate a new SIM. 

  • Complete the setup. After resetting your device, it will power up with instructions for how to finish setting up the device. 

Why is My Phone Screen Black FAQs

Dealing with a black phone screen and want to know more? Check out these commonly asked questions below.

Why is my iPhone screen black?

A somewhat common iPhone issue is when the phone’s screen is black and doesn’t respond to touch but you can tell the phone is on by its sound and haptics. Oftentimes, this is fixable since it’s likely a glitch or system overload 

If your iPhone screen is black, try one of these troubleshooting tips: 

  • Force restart your iPhone 

  • Charge your battery 

  • Cool down your phone if it feels hot

  • Enable iPhone recovery mode 

  • Factory reset your device (remember to back up the device beforehand)

If your iPhone screen is black due to a problem with the display, you may need to seek the help of an iPhone repair technician. 

How can I prevent the black screen of death?

Our phones are constantly being put through the wringer. Between jailbreaking our phones to dropping them on the floor (oops), a phone’s black screen is likely an indicator that the system is overwhelmed or damaged. 

Here are a few tips for preventing your phone from going black: 

  • Keep a case on it 

  • Be cautious of downloading apps with low ratings or reports of bugs 

  • Maintain a healthy battery 

  • Clear/quit your apps regularly 

  • Keep your phone away from hot environments 

  • Uninstall incompatible apps 

  • Clear the cache in your web browser apps 

  • Avoid connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi networks 

  • Never open a link from a suspicious number or email address

Should I get a replacement phone if my screen is black?

If you’ve followed the steps above and your phone has lasting damage, try contacting professional repair services. They may be able to replace faulty parts that can bring your device back to life. If repair isn’t possible — or if repair costs wind up being about the same as a new phone — it’s probably time to consider a replacement phone. 

Luckily, paying full price isn’t your only option. Refurbished phones have been expertly restored and tested for full functionality — plus, they’re a cost-effective and eco-conscious choice.  

Shop Back Market’s selection of refurbished phones today. 


Written by HaziqTech Expert for Back Market UK, Ireland & Australia

When not fighting the good fight for environmental sustainability, Haziq loves making reviews of everything and anything tech-related.

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