What Can I Do When My iPad Is Frozen?
By Carol Finch
IPads freeze for various reasons. They can become unresponsive if the battery runs down, or if an app causes a problem with the operating system. In some cases, the iPad won't work at all; in others, just one app freezes. Sometimes, your problem is just a temporary glitch that you can fix easily. Other times, your iPad may have more serious issues, and you may need to restore it in recovery mode or have it checked out by Apple or a third-party repair service.
Check Your IPad's Battery
If your iPad seems to have shut down, has a blank screen and doesn't respond when you try to turn it on with the Sleep/Wake button, then you may simply have run down your battery. IPads will close down when they don't have enough power to run. Try charging it to see if this solves the problem. It may take a couple of minutes before the battery charge icon appears, and you may not be able to use it for up to 20 minutes while it takes in enough power to operate.
Force an App Shutdown
Glitches in apps can cause some freezing problems in iPads. If your screen freezes on the app itself, but your iPad's buttons still work, you can force it to close. Double-click the "Home" button, and swipe through the apps at the bottom of the screen until you get to the one you've been using. If you swipe it up, it will close down. Sometimes, screens freeze because of apps still running in the background, even though you have closed them. If you have recently quit an app, and your iPad then stopped responding, hold down the "Sleep/Wake" button until the power slider appears and then press the "Home" button for a few seconds before releasing it. If an app was causing the freeze, you should be able to use your iPad again.
Restart or Reset Your IPad
If your iPad is completely unresponsive, or if force-closing apps doesn't solve your problem, turn it off and on again. If this doesn't work, or if you can't restart it at all, then you can try resetting it. Hold down the "Sleep/Wake" and "Home" buttons at the same time for around ten seconds. You should see the Apple logo appear on the screen if this has worked, and should be able to use the iPad again when it powers up.
Restore Your IPad
If all else fails, you may need to restore your iPad. Keep in mind that this will wipe all your data and settings and restore the device back to its factory settings -- you should back up the iPad if you can before you start this process, so that you can transfer data back later. Connect your iPad to your computer and open iTunes. If iTunes doesn't recognize the iPad, you'll need to force a restore. To do this, turn the iPad off. If it is not responding, hold down the "Sleep/Wake" and "Home" buttons at the same time until it shuts down. Hold down the "Home" button and connect the iPad to the computer; let go of the button when the screen shows the "Connect to iTunes" message. If iTunes does not open automatically, open it. When you are connected to iTunes, click the "iPad" icon on the top right of the menu bar, select the "Summary" tab and then "Check for Update" -- if you need to update your software, you should do this first. Next, click "Restore iPad." You'll be asked to confirm the restore before it starts. Once it is done, you have to set up the iPad again before you can restore its data.
Getting Third-Party Help
If none of these solutions fixes your frozen iPad, then you may need to have someone look at the device. If it is still in its warranty period, you can contact Apple Support or send/take it in for a service. It may also qualify for Apple's Out of Warranty service. If you don't have coverage any longer or want an alternative solution to Apple, you may need to find a third-party store that repairs iPads.
Carol Finch has been writing technology, careers, business and finance articles since 2000, tapping into her experience in sales, marketing and technology consulting. She has a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages, a Chartered Institute of Marketing.certificate and unofficial tech and gaming geek status with her long-suffering friends and family.