What to Do When Your iPad Freezes

Use the iPad's multitasking feature to restart a frozen app.
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While it shouldn't happen often, the Apple iPad is known to freeze from time to time. In most cases, this is because of an unresponsive app, in which case you can restart the app and get on with your day. If you're unable to restart the app or if the iPad itself is frozen, you can get the iPad working again by remembering the three R's: restart, reset and restore. Follow these actions in order until the iPad is fixed. Restoring is a time-consuming process during which you set up the iPad from scratch, so save it as your last resort.

1 Restart the Problematic App

When an iPad screen freezes, it's usually due to the app that is running. Press the iPad's "Home" button to return to the home screen. Double-click the "Home" button to display the recently used apps and then drag the frozen app to the top of the screen. This clears the app from the iPad's memory. If you press the "Home" button again to return to the home screen, you can relaunch the app. Whenever an app freezes, check for an update in the App Store. Chances are the update has a fix for whatever caused the freeze.

2 Restart the iPad

If the iPad itself is frozen, pressing the "Home" button may not do anything and the touch screen may not respond, even when you are on the home screen. When this happens, the best fix is usually to restart the iPad. First, make sure the iPad has a charge. If the screen is black, plug the iPad into its AC adapter for at least 20 minutes. Press and hold the "Sleep/Wake" button on the top edge of the iPad until a red slider appears on the screen and then drag the slider to the right. When the iPad shuts down after about 10 seconds, press the "Sleep/Wake" button again to turn it back on.

3 Reset the iPad

If the iPad's touch screen isn't responding, it may not be possible to drag the red slider to shut it down, or the iPad may freeze again as soon as you turn it on. In either of these situations, the next course of action is to reset the iPad. To do this, press and hold both the "Sleep/Wake" button and the "Home" button at the same time. Hold them for at least 10 seconds until you see the Apple logo appear on the screen. Release the buttons, and within a half-minute or so the iPad resets itself and turns on.

4 Restore the iPad

When restarting and resetting the iPad don't work, the solution is to restore the iPad to its factory settings. This is where you'll be glad you have a backup, because a restore wipes everything from the iPad, including your files and settings. Connect the iPad to your computer, launch iTunes and click the "Restore iPad" button under the Summary tab. The procedure can take an hour or more, depending on the speed of your Internet connection. After iTunes reinstalls the operating system, a "Hello" message appears on the iPad's screen. Follow the iPad's onscreen instructions to set it up again and restore your backup from either iTunes or iCloud.

5 Disclaimer

Information in this article applies to an iPad with iOS 7 and Apple iTunes 11. Information may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.

A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.