I Dropped My Phone And The Screen is Black But It Still Works: Troubleshooting Guide

Scott Daly

Cell Phone Black Screen

If you recently dropped your phone, picked it up, and now only see a black screen – this tutorial is for you. Dropping your phone can cause a few different issues to the hardware inside that end up resulting in a black screen (sometimes known as the “black screen of death”), even though the rest of the phone might still be working fine. This can be very stressful because a phone without a working screen is really difficult to use.

The good news is that it could be something minor – like a software or settings issue that simply needs to be reverted or a connection that came loose. The bad news is that it could also be something more major – like a damaged or broken LCD. On this page we’ll go over the procedures you should follow to start ruling out things to hopefully get to the bottom of the issue.

Why Is My Phone Screen Black

iPhone with Black Screen

If your phone screen is black after dropping it, there’s a chance you’ve damaged the display or its connections. Here’s why this might happen and what could be wrong:

  • Damaged Display: The impact from the drop might have physically damaged the LCD or OLED screen itself. This could lead to cracks, dead pixels, or complete display failure resulting in a black screen.
  • Loose Connections: The force of the fall could have dislodged internal cables connecting the screen to the phone’s logic board. Without this connection, the screen stops receiving signals.
  • Software Glitch: In rarer cases, a software crash or glitch caused by the impact could prevent your display from turning on, even though the phone itself might still function.
  • Battery Issues: While less likely, the drop could have damaged or dislodged the battery, impacting the phone’s ability to power the screen.

How to Troubleshoot a Broken Screen

Even with a cracked or damaged screen, you might still hear notifications or feel your phone vibrate. Here are some things to try if your screen is black, but your phone seems to still be working.

Hardware Inspection

Immediately after dropping your phone, a thorough physical inspection is crucial to assess the extent of the damage. Here’s what to examine:

The Screen

  • Cracks: Look carefully for any cracks in the screen, no matter how small. Even hairline fractures can spread and worsen over time.
  • Dead Pixels or Discoloration: Check for areas on the screen that are completely black, show abnormal colors, or have flickering pixels.
  • Touch Sensitivity: Try tapping in different areas of the screen. If the touch doesn’t respond in certain spots or there is a delay, you may have internal display damage.
Cell phone with cracked/broken screen

The Body

  • Dents and Bends: Examine the frame and edges of your phone for any dents, bends, or warping. A significant impact could have damaged the internal components, along with the external housing.
  • Loose Buttons or Ports: Check if any buttons feel wobbly or if the charging port or headphone jack seem loose. Dislodged components could indicate internal problems.
  • Separated Seams: Look for gaps along the edges where the phone’s frame joins with the screen or back panel. Any separation might indicate internal structural damage.

Additional Checks

  • Camera: Take a few test photos with both the front and back cameras to see if there’s any blurriness, distortion, or if the cameras won’t focus at all.
  • Sounds: Play music or a video to test the speakers. Also, try recording a voice memo to check the microphone.

Important Note: Even if your phone looks unscathed, internal damage could cause problems later. If you experience any glitches or malfunctions after a drop, even if they seem unrelated, consider getting a professional diagnosis.

Test the Basics

  • Listen and Feel: If you can hear sounds and vibrations, your phone’s main functions might still be operational.
  • Make a Call: Try asking a friend to call you, or use another phone to call yourself. If your phone rings, it’s a good sign the phone itself is on.
  • Check the Display Brightness: It’s possible your display is simply turned down too low. Try increasing the brightness in small increments.

Do A Forced Restart Of The Phone

A forced restart is a great next step if basic troubleshooting doesn’t get your phone working again. If your phone is working and your screen is black, this is a good way to rule out most if not all software-related issues. Also known as a hard reset, a forced restart can be a lifesaver when there’s a glitch or setting causing you issues. The good news is that you can do one even if your phone’s screen is black and unresponsive. Here’s how to do it for both Android and iPhone:


The button combinations for a forced restart vary depending on the phone model. Here are the most common methods:

  • Hold Power + Volume Down: This is the most common method for newer Android phones. Press and hold both the Power button and the Volume Down button together for about 10-15 seconds. Don’t let go until you see the phone’s logo appear on the screen.
  • Other Combinations: If the above method doesn’t work, consult your phone’s manual or search online for the specific key combo for your model. Some phones might use the Volume Up button instead of Down, or require a three-button press with the Home button included (on older models with physical Home buttons).


The method for iPhones depends on the model you have:

  • iPhone 8 or Later (including iPhone SE 2nd and 3rd generation):
    1. Quickly press and release the Volume Up button.
    2. Quickly press and release the Volume Down button.
    3. Press and hold the Side button (the power button on the right side) until you see the Apple logo appear.
  • iPhone 7:
    1. Press and hold the Power button and the Volume Down button together for about 10 seconds.
    2. Don’t let go of the buttons until you see the Apple logo.
  • iPhone 6S or Earlier:
    1. Press and hold the Power button and the Home button together for about 10 seconds.
    2. Don’t let go of the buttons until you see the Apple logo.

Important Tips:

  • Make sure you press and hold the buttons for at least 10-15 seconds, even if it feels like nothing is happening.
  • If your phone has a case, remove it before attempting the forced restart to avoid any button obstruction.
  • If the forced restart doesn’t work, try connecting your phone to a charger and letting it charge for at least 30 minutes before trying again.
  • If none of these methods work, your phone might have a hardware issue. In that case, it’s best to consult a professional or your phone’s manufacturer for further assistance.

Charge Your Phone

While not the most common answer, a dead battery can lead to a black screen. The impact from the drop could also cause damage to the battery that plugging the phone in could potentially work around. For this step, plug your phone into a charger for at least 30 minutes. Then try to power your phone on.

Connect Your Phone to a Computer

If the screen remains off after charging your phone, connect your phone to a computer using a USB cable. If your computer recognizes the device, it means the phone is still functional. This would be a good way to narrow the issue down to the display.

Backup Your Data

If you’re able to connect your phone to a computer, initiate a backup as soon as possible and let that run through. You never know if you’ll be able to turn the phone on again so backing up should be a priority so you don’t lose your pictures, files, etc. You can refer to your phone’s manual for backup instructions but it’s usually easy once you connect to a PC or Mac.

Use Voice Commands

Voice assistants like Google Assistant or Siri may be able to help you perform basic actions, even without a working screen. Again, this is another great way to pinpoint the screen as being the issue after a drop. If your voice assistant can perform a function (like dialing) and you’re able to conduct a phone call, then it’s likely the display.

Troubleshooting Options

ProblemPossible Solutions
Damaged DisplayContact your phone manufacturer, carrier, or a reputable repair shop
Loose Display CableContact your phone manufacturer, carrier or a reputable repair shop
Software IssuePerform a factory reset (Note: This will wipe out your data)

Understand that continued use of a phone with a cracked or damaged screen may worsen the problem or become a safety hazard. Ideally, you should seek a professional repair as soon as possible.\

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the Issue: The black screen issue often happens because of either software or hardware problems. Sometimes, it’s something simple like a loose cable, while other times, it’s because the display is damaged.
  • Try Simple Fixes First: Before getting professional help, try restarting the phone, charging it, or connecting it to a computer. These basic steps can sometimes solve the problem.
  • Consult a Professional: If your phone’s screen is still black after trying these steps, it may need professional repair. Technicians can identify if the screen or other parts are broken and replace them.
  • Take Preventive Steps: Use a case, a screen protector, and be careful when handling your phone to avoid damaging the screen. Regular backups are also crucial to ensure your data is safe.

Diagnosing the Black Screen Issue

When a phone screen goes black but the device still works, it’s crucial to assess whether the cause is software or hardware-related. The approach to fixing the issue will vary based on this.

Identifying the Problem

To determine if the phone has any life signs, listen for sounds or vibrations. Check if notification lights or sounds persist, which could indicate that the phone is operational despite the black screen. For an iPhone, attempting to use the volume up, volume down, and then holding the side button can help understand if the issue is with the screen. On Android, holding down the Power button alongside Volume Down might reboot the system and restore the screen.

Software Vs. Hardware Causes

Software issues, like a faulty app or a system glitch, can sometimes be resolved without professional service. Hardware problems, however, such as a damaged screen or loose connections inside the phone, may need physical repair. To separate the two, observe if the phone enters recovery mode or safe mode using specific button combinations, which usually circumvent software problems if they work.

Common Fixes

If software trouble is the suspect, here are quick fixes to try:

  • Force Restart: Different for each model, force restarting often resolves black screen issues.
    • On Android: Hold down the Power and Volume Down for 10 seconds.
    • On iPhone: Press and release Volume Up, Volume Down, then hold the Side button.
  • Safe Mode (Android): Helps in identifying a problematic app.
  • Update or Restore: Connect the phone to a computer, run an update or restore it using iTunes (for iPhone) or device-specific software.

For potential hardware issues, seek professional repair service, especially if the phone screen remains black after all software attempts fail. This ensures that valuable data is not lost and the problem is correctly identified.

Preventive Measures for a Black Screen

A black screen after dropping your phone is something you should definitely avoid. Here are some simple things you can do to prevent this from happening again in the future:

  1. Use a Protective Case: This is the best way to shield your phone from drops. A case adds a protective layer that absorbs shock and protects the screen and internal parts.
  2. Screen Protectors: A good screen protector helps keep your phone screen scratch-free and adds an extra layer of protection.
  3. Handle with Care: Be mindful of how and where you handle your phone. Avoid holding it too loosely, and always keep it in a safe place when not in use.
  4. Back Up Your Data Regularly: Keeping backups means that even if your phone gets damaged, you won’t lose your important photos, messages, and contacts. Regularly back up to the cloud or your computer.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, find answers to common issues related to a phone with a working system but a non-functional screen after a drop.

Why does my phone still work even though the screen is black after I dropped it?

Dropping a phone can disrupt the screen’s connection without affecting other functions. The phone might receive calls and make sounds which signifies it’s working.

What should I do if my smartphone screen turns black but the device still functions?

Try a force restart first. For Android, this often means holding down the Power and Volume Down buttons. For an iPhone, quickly press the Volume Up, then the Volume Down, and hold the Side button.

What are the common reasons for a phone screen to go black after being dropped?

A black screen usually suggests a loose connection or damage to the LCD or OLED panel inside the phone. The impact from a drop can disrupt the delicate components that control the screen.

Can a black screen after dropping my iPhone indicate irreversible damage?

Not always. While a black screen can seem serious, it’s not always permanent damage. Having a professional check your iPhone will give you a clear idea of the issue.

How can I troubleshoot a black but functional screen on my Android device?

Apart from a forced restart, try booting the device in Safe Mode by turning the phone off then holding the Power button. Press and hold the Volume Down button when the logo appears.

What steps can I take to fix a black screen of death on my phone?

Start with basic troubleshooting like a forced restart. If this fails, the next step is to connect your phone to a computer to try a system update or factory reset. If these solutions don’t help, seek professional repairs.