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How to turn off your iPhone 12

Published Sep 25th, 2022 6:12PM EDT
Apple iPhone 12 Review
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

As you may have realized, turning off your iPhone 12 is not exactly as easy as you might think. And the reason is quite understandable. When Apple got rid of the physical home button, the well-known sleep/wake button had to take on more functions.

Before the new iPhone designs, all you needed to turn off your iPhone was to hold down the Sleep/Wake button. Now, holding the side button could prompt Siri, activate  Assistive Touch, or open Apple Pay. Everything else except turning off your iPhone!

You might find these changes overwhelming when you upgrade from an older iPhone to an iPhone 12 or any model later. This article will guide you through the process of turning off your iPhone 12 with and without buttons. We also show you how to perform a hard reset of your iPhone, too.

For convenience, the term “iPhone 12” in this article will refer to all the iPhone 12 models; iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, or iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Turning off your iPhone 12

Know your buttons

Before we begin spewing out steps and guidelines on how to turn off your iPhone 12, we must first acquaint you with its buttons and their new functionalities. On the left side of your iPhone 12, you’ll find the volume buttons, while the Side button, sometimes referred to as the Power button, is on the right side.   

Thankfully, Apple has given the option of turning off an iPhone 12 with either the physical buttons or through the Settings app. We will be examining both options.

How to use the buttons

As earlier mentioned, what used to be the power button on old iPhones now activates Siri. You’d have to hold down two buttons simultaneously to turn off your iPhone now. 

You can use two methods to shut down your iPhone 12 with buttons. Both steps are straightforward, with one being more straightforward than the other.

The Power slider

iPhone 12 Power slider

In the first method, all you need to do is to simultaneously press either of the volume buttons with the right side button for about 2 – 3 seconds until the Power Off slider appears.

When doing this, you have to be careful because pressing the Volume Up button and the Side buttons too quickly can take a screenshot instead. So to prevent this, be sure to keep the pressure on the keys for as long as required.

Alternatively, you can use the Volume Down key to be on the safer side.

Without the SOS slider

The second sequence is handy if you want to avoid placing an emergency call by accident. When using the first method, the SOS Slider would usually show just underneath the Power OFF Slider.

However, if you’re uncomfortable seeing the SOS slider, you should consider this second method.

Press and release the Volume Up key, followed immediately by the Volume Down key. Then, press and hold the Side Button until the Slide to Power Off option appears on the screen. 

After using either of these methods, it is needless to say that you would need to slide the “slide to Power Off” icon on the screen to the right side to turn off your iPhone.

Do note that canceling the Power off sequence would mean that you will have to input your password again before you can access your iPhone.

How to turn off an iPhone 12 using Settings

Regardless of your iPhone 12 model, you can easily turn it off through the Settings app. This way, you can escape all the hassle of memorizing any volume button combinations.

It is just a few easy steps:

  • First, open Settings.
  • Then tap on the General option.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page immediately after the Reset option
  • Tap on the Shut Down option
  • Glide the slide to the right side to turn off your phone.
  • Wait 30 seconds for the iPhone to Power down.

After you’ve turned off your iPhone 12, turning it back on is pretty simple by using the buttons. All you have to do is press and hold the power button on the right-hand side of your device until the Apple logo pops up.

How to hard reset your iPhone 12

You might experience instances where your iPhone 12 becomes unresponsive or frozen. This is usually not too hard to fix. Many times, some mild software malfunction primarily causes it.

In such an instance, a hard reset, also called a forced restart, could be the magic wand that fixes it all. So, perform a hard reset rather than wait for the battery life to run down.

To do a hard reset, there are two main options:

Hard reset with buttons

iPhone 12 buttons layout

Resetting your iPhone 12 with buttons is similar to switching it off using the “without the SOS slider” method. The only difference between the two is that resetting requires that you keep pressing the Side button even after the Power Slider appears on the screen. You press and hold till the Apple Logo appears.

Be careful not to activate the Emergency call feature

Sadly, this second method doesn’t eliminate the risk of mistakenly activating the Emergency dial option. If you do not press the Volume Up button first, then the Volume Down button, before the Side button, you may accidentally activate the emergency call feature.

Restarting with AssistiveTouch

The Assistive touch feature on iOS provides a shortcut feature, thus allowing users to perform various tasks without using buttons. The Assistive touch feature acts as a virtual home button on the screen where you can choose what tasks the button performs, such as volume control, switching off your device, or even restarting. 

How to Turn on AssistiveTouch

The AssistiveTouch feature isn’t a default feature. You’d have to enable it on your iPhone 12 before you can use it. 

  • To enable Assistive Touch, first, you go to Settings. Open it.
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  • Then tap on Accessibility. 
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  • When in Accessibility, scroll down and tap on Touch
  • At the top of the screen, you’ll see the Assistive Touch option. Turn it ON.

How to use AssistiveTouch to restart your iPhone 12.

iPhone 12 Assistive touch

Now that your Assistive Touch Feature is enabled, you would need to add the Restart option in your Assistive Touch menu. You can begin the customization process immediately after enabling the Assistive Touch.

You’d find the “Customize Top Level Menu” option under the icon that toggles the Assistive Touch. Tap on it.

You can then go ahead to replace any of the tasks with Restart. Alternatively, you can use the – and + symbols at the bottom right corner of the screen to add the Restart function. 

Fun fact; these guidelines can work on all other iPhone models, from the new iPhone SE to the latest iPhone 14 Pro.

At first, you may find it challenging to get accustomed to the buttons and the newly added functionalities on your iPhone 12. However, with 3-4 attempts, you’ll start to get the hang of it.


Why can’t I turn off my iPhone 12?

Your iPhone 12 may be having a software problem that could cause the software to freeze. This software crash could freeze the phone’s display and make it nearly impossible to turn off your iPhone.
Another reason why your iPhone 12 may not be turning off could be a hardware problem. Perhaps when either of the Volume Keys may not be working. You can fix this by restarting your iPhone.

How to turn on an iPhone 12?

Simply press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears on the screen. For clarity, the Side button is the button found on the right-hand side of the iPhone 12.

How do you turn off a frozen iPhone 12?

You may need to perform a hard reset or a force restart. First, quickly press and release the volume up button, do the same for the volume down button, and finally, press and hold the side button. Hold the Side Button till the Apple logo appears, and release the button.
Thankfully, the process for performing a force restart is pretty much the same for iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and iPhone 14.

How do I turn off my iPhone without sliding?

To turn off your iPhone without sliding, first press the Volume Up button followed by the Volume Down button, then press and hold the side button till the screen goes blank.

Why won’t my iPhone turn off when I press the power button?

The first and most probable reason could be a software problem that makes your iPhone unresponsive. This problem can be fixed by restarting your iPhone.
Another reason could be that you were doing it all wrong. To turn off an iPhone 12, the process requires that you press the side button simultaneously with any of the Volume buttons.
Finally, this could be a result of a hardware problem, where one of your buttons may be faulty. In this case, you’d have to contact the Apple Support website.

What do I do if my iPhone won’t turn off?

If you have difficulty turning off your iPhone 12, we recommend you force restarting it. To force restart, press the Volume Up button followed by the Volume Down button, then hold the Side button until it restarts.

What is the button below the power button on iPhone 12?

It is simply a mmWave antenna for the reception of the 5G network. You need not worry too much about this button. Its functionality does not, in any way, affect the turning off/on of the iPhone.

How do I turn off my iPhone 12 pro?

You can turn it off by pressing the Side Button and the volume button simultaneously. Or by going to the setting and selecting the turn-off option. The iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max can all be turned off the same way.

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Toby Grey - BGR Guides Contributor

Toby Grey contributes as a How To expert for BGR. Typing away like a keyboard super hero, he covers just about anything you can think of. If Toby isn't writing, he's probably reading a book or playing video games.