Now I am sure there are a lot of people who just got their iPhone so continuing on with our iPhone Basics posts (it’s been a while since we did one) we thought we’d give people the heads-up on the differences between Lock, Shut Down, Force Quitting and Resetting your iPhone. You’d be surprised to know how many people don’t know how to turn their phone completely off. When we say ‘Switch off’ or ‘reboot’, we mean completely off, not “locking” the phone where you simply press the Sleep/Wake button on the top of your phone. Below is an iPhone Basics on this and also how to force quit apps and do a soft reset.
To lock your iPhone simply press the Sleep/Wake button on top of the iPhone. For a while, I was under the false impression that locking the phone was equivalent to putting your Mac to sleep. But when your phone is locked, the screen turns off but the app that’s running at the time continues to run. For instance a relaxation app is able to continue playing sound but save battery power with the screen off. So, locking your phone is actually more like “display sleep” on your Mac.
So to ensure that your phone is using as little battery as possible, you’re best off always pressing the Home button before locking so that no app remains running (unless of course you want to run an app like Ambiance [iTunes Link] when going to sleep)
Note: Most apps do nothing while the phone is locked but I’ve seen too many apps where this isn’t the case, so I say “better safe than sorry” and usually quit before locking.
Next up how to turn your phone completely off. To do this press the Sleep/Wake button for a few seconds then drag the red slider that appears.
When should you turn your phone completely off? The two situations that I usually do this is when I’m almost out of battery and when my phone is acting kind of wonky.
If your battery’s almost dead and you’re nowhere near some way of charging it your best bet is to turn it off if you’re later going to need it to make a call or check something on the ‘net (assuming you can forego incoming calls and texts).
And if your phone’s been acting flaky, where apps are starting to get really slow or behave unexpectedly, turning your phone off then back on usually gets things back to normal.
Have you ever been using an app and it’s become very unresponsive or completely frozen? There is a way you can quit the app without having to reboot the iPhone. Now in 1.x and 2.x firmwares (does anyone still have those?) you can force quit an app by simply pressing the Home button for at least six seconds. This changed in firmware 3.0 due to the introduction of Voice Control on the 3GS so Apple changed the way it works. Now you need to hold the sleep/wake button until the slide to power off screen appears (as above), then instead of sliding to power off, press and hold the home button until the application quits (which is about six seconds). Voila your unresponsive app just quit, without the need for a reset/reboot.
If an App continues to act up and not work correctly then I would suggest you re-download the app through iTunes. This will then overwrite the app and do a fresh install on your iPhone and can often solve problems with apps (you won’t have to pay again either, it will tell you you have already downloaded it so it will be free).
Talking of which, if your phone seems to be completely frozen where attempting to turn it off or force quit the current app does nothing, you can force a reset of your phone by pressing both the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons for at least ten seconds. Note that while Apple technically calls this a “reset”, it’s actually more like a “reboot” and none of your settings will be changed.
So with that you now know the differences between lock, shut down, force quit and reset/reboot on your iPhone. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.