Why There’s a Delay Before Your iPhone Screen Turns Off (and How to Eliminate It)

Why There’s a Delay Before Your iPhone Screen Turns Off (and How to Eliminate It)
Photo: WML Image, Shutterstock

Ever noticed that your iPhone display is a little sluggish about going to sleep? Pressing the Side button on older iPhones — before the introduction of Face ID — would immediately shut off the screen. Newer models don’t work that way. Now, you’ll notice a slight delay between pressing the button and the iPhone actually going to sleep — about half a second or so. There’s a reason for this, which we’ll explain below, but it can also make your phone feel slow, so we’ll also tell you how to eliminate the delay if it bugs you.

Why your iPhone lags before going to sleep

When you press the Side button once on your iPhone, it holds for a short duration instead of shutting off the screen immediately. It does this because it’s waiting to see if you’ll press the button again — you can activate Apple Pay by pressing the Side button twice, or press it three times to launch accessibility features such as Guided Access or AssistiveTouch. By adding a short delay to the sleep feature, Apple is allowing you a little more time to press the Side button a second or third time. If no follow up clicks happen, the iPhone goes to sleep.

This quirk only affects iPhones with Face ID, as those features are tied to the Home button on phones that still have one — in 2022, that’s mostly older models, as well as the iPhone SE. Pressing the power button on a phone with a Home buttons turns off the screen immediately.

The delay doesn’t really affect your phone’s performance — save for an infinitesimally increased battery drain for heavy users — but it can make it feel slow, and most NFC readers will bring up Apple Pay automatically, no button presses required. So why not just remove it?

How to make your iPhone go to sleep instantly

Screenshot: Pranay ParabScreenshot: Pranay Parab

To turn off your iPhone’s display instantly, you’ll have to disable an Accessibility Shortcut, as well as the shortcut for Apple Pay. First, go to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay and turn off Double-Click Side Button.

Next, go to Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut. Now uncheck all the shortcuts from this list. If an option is greyed out, you’ll have to disable it from Accessibility settings first.

For example, if Guided Access is greyed out, you can go to Settings > Accessibility > Guided Access and turn it off. You can return to Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut and uncheck Guided Access afterwards. Similarly, other greyed out options should be disabled first before turning off their corresponding shortcuts.

Once both Side button shortcuts are disabled, your iPhone will go to sleep immediately after one click, just like your old iPhone used to.

  

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