The Lure of the Siren Song: Or How to do a Forced Restart on the iPhone 8

Last modified
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Since the release of iOS11, one problem a lot of us are having is that the new Siri voices can cause our phone to go silent. Usually, the only way to get speech bak when this happens is to hit that trusty little home button and the lock screen button simultaneously for about eight slow seconds before the phone will be forced to restart. Or, that's how it was until the iPhone 8.

Last night, almost like clockwork, my new iPhone 8 Plus decided that it had been cooperative for far too long and that a Voiceover crash was long overdue. Therefore, I went through the old procedure to force the phone to restart! Nope! Not happening! Instead, when you use that key combination now, you take a photo with the camera. I tried this several times, which only meant I had several photos to go delete later. Undaunted, I decided to try something else. I decided I'd try and hold down the lock screen button while also pressing down one of the volume buttons. If that didn't work, I'd try the other volume button! Let the experiment begin!

So lock button and up volume button. The first few seconds, everything went fine. Just as I was beginning to hope, however,


Knowing of the new emergency features in iOS11, I immediately realized what was happening. In a panic, I pressed the home button as quick as I could. Thankfully, the siren stopped! At this point, instead of relaxed and nearly asleep, adrenaline is now coursing through my body and I'm thinking, "oh spit! The cops and paramedics, and maybe the fire department, are gonna show up!" After a few seconds to catch my breath and let my heart beat return to normal, I decided "what the heck! In for a penny; in for a pound." So. This time, I try the lock button and the down volume. Whew, everything is going gr--


Oh double spit!

Well, at least I'll get double the attention when the authorities show up!

Press the home button again! Siren cuts out! Apparently, there's a countdown before it actually makes the call in case of numbskulls like me!

Now I'm wide awake and straining to listen for approaching sirens. In the meantime, however, I still had a problem. How do I force my phone to restart to get speech? Sadly, I get out of bed and grab the ole laptop and fire it up. After about ten seconds typing in my question to the Google search engine, I have my answer.

So, if you have read this long-winded entry, here is the simple way to force your phone to restart. Quickly press the volume up button and release it. Then quickly press the volume down button and release that. Next, hold down the lock screen button as before for about eight slow seconds. VOILA!!! The phone will shut itself down. I am guessing this is that starting with the iPhone X there will be no home button so they had to re-design how to force restart the device.

20-30 seconds later, my phone had speech again. I shut down my laptop, laid back down, and straining my ears for sirens or stealthy footsteps from the local squat unit, I quickly and peacefully drifted off.

I hope you enjoyed my experience, but even more, I hope this helps.


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Submitted by TJT 2001 on Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I noticed that when I accidentally pressed the Sleep/Wake button and the volume button simultaneously on my iPhone 6s running iOS 10, I sometimes heard a "whoop" sound. The sound was similar to the sound you hear when you do a two-finger triple tap and hold. Is that the same sound as you hear when you are calling emergency services? Does anyone have any ideas as to what the sound I heard could represent?

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

I have not heard of that happening with iOS10. I just traded in my 6S and never had that happen. Sorry, I wish I could tell ou what was going on.

Submitted by gailisaiah on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Hi Sockhopsinger, Enjoyed reading your adventure. And, thanks for the tip! I wasn't trying to re-set my phone. I was disconnecting a call before I had to leave a voice mail message. I must have hit that sleep/wake button too many times. It started the count down with the siren noise. So, I know what you were feeling. But with VO, I found a button that said cancel. Wow! What a relief! I too thought that emergency 911would come out or call. So glad that didn't happen.

It actually isn't! The "hoop" sound this person is mentioning is the very loud siren going off before the countdown for the Emergency SOS feature.

Happy New Year!

Submitted by Danny Norris on Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Same thing sort of happened to me but I was trying to shut down the normal way and was too quick with my double tap and double tapped on the Emergency SOS button. I frantically tried to figure out how to stop it. I could hear the phone ringing so did the 2 finger double tap to hang up the phone. I immediately got a call back asking if I had any emergency at the location I was at. I profusely apologized and told her it was an accident and tried to hang up before the call went through. The operator was very understanding about it all and told me that the next time if it happened just stay on the line and tell the operator that I accidentally hit that SOS button. I did a little research to see if I can disable that button but don’t think we can. My research led me to the Emergency SOS setting in the iOS General settings. In that, there is a setting to hit the side button 5 times to automatically call emergency. That one can be disabled.
So bottom line is, if you can’t stop the countdown in time, just stay on the line and tell the operator that it was an accident.