iPhone Proximity Sensor Not Working? (Screen Is Not Going Black) Fix

Several users have reported that they are having issues with the proximity sensors. Some of the reported problems are listed below:

  • The proximity sensor is too sensitive.
  • The proximity sensor is being triggered for no apparent reasons.
  • Your iPhone screen is not shutting off when you hold your phone up to your ear during a call.
  • Your phone is still showing a black screen even after finishing your conversation,

Your iPhone uses the proximity sensor to detect the presence of your face, ear and cheek when you are on a call. Your iPhone does this because of two main purposes: Reduce display power consumption and thus save battery life by turning off the screen light and to disable your iPhone’s touch screen to avoid inadvertent and unwanted inputs by your face.

proximity sensor

If you are having this problem, do you think that your iPhone’s proximity sensor is not working correctly? do not worry, you are not alone. This articles explains what to do when the proximity sensor is not working.

See also: Black iPhone Screen

First of all, please note that there is no setting for the proximity sensor on your iPhone. This means that you cannot turn off the proximity sensor. Note that this is different than “Raise to Wake”. Raise to Wake lets you see your lock screen (display wakes up) when you raise your iPhone up. You can turn off and on this (this is on by default) by going to Settings > Display & Brightness.

  1. Make sure that your iPhone’s case or screen protector does not obstruct with the proximity sensor activity. Try removing the case to see if that fixes your problem.
  2. Restart your iPhone. You can do so by going to:
    • Settings
    • General and scroll down
    • and then tap Shut Down
    • Then turn your iPhone back on
  3. Force restart your iPhone. Do not worry, this does not delete your content on your iPhone. Here is how:
    • If you own an iPhone X, iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus: First press and release the volume up button and then volume down button and then press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears.
    • If you own an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus: Press and hold the side and volume down buttons together until you see the Apple logo
    • Other iPhone models: Press and hold the side and home buttons together until the Apple logo appears.
  4. Update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS version. You can do so easily and wirelessly (you can also do so via iTunes). If you want to do this wirelessly, make sure that your iPhone is connected to a Wi-Fi network. Then tap:
    • Settings
    • General
    • Software Update
    • Tap Download and Install

If you are having this because of a hardware problem, e.g. because of a drop or water issue, contact Apple. Your device could be covered under warranty. You may want to make a Genius appointment.

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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18 thoughts on “iPhone Proximity Sensor Not Working? (Screen Is Not Going Black) Fix”

  1. I had this problem too with my (old school) iphone SE. Tried all the easy fixes, went to the Apple store, they didn’t sort but advised trying without screen protector. This didn’t work, but did mean that the screen smashed when I dropped it 😤
    Went back after lockdown, they said that the problem with the proximity sensor would go away after screen replacement. Apple’s charge exceeded replacement cost of phone so I took it to a phone shop instead. The replacement screen has NOT fixed the proximity sensor problem (and now my phone’s warranty is invalid). Grrr… gonna try the autowake thing now.

    Reply
  2. I have the same problem with the proximity sensor. My screen is still active while on a call. Usually it’s when I’m using my phone (ie Facebook/messenger)and someone calls me. Once I inadvertently ended up with an unwanted group chat. After the calls my phone freezes and a have to reboot my phone. Rise and wake is disabled and I have removed my screen protector, all to no avail. Help!

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