Tap to Wake Not Working on iPhone 13 or iOS 15? How to Fix

The iPhone 13 and iOS 15 were released around the same time last month and although Apple has brought some new and useful features to both of them, there are have been some outcry about a few issues that users have been facing since upgrading. One such issue that people have been vocal about is the inability to use the ‘Tap to Wake’ option that many of us generally use to wake up our iPhone screens. 

In this post, we’ll explain what this issue is all about, the affected devices, and how you may be able to fix it for now. 

What’s the issue with Tap to Wake on iPhone 13?

iPhone 13 user are reporting that the ‘Tap to Wake’ functionality on their iPhone no longer works as intended. Tap to Wake, in case you don’t know, is the feature that allows you to turn on your iPhone’s screen by simply tapping on it once. Because of the issue, users can now no longer wake their iPhone screens up when they tap on it which now either requires repeated taps or a fresh restart.  

The issue doesn’t seem to be limited to the ‘Tap to Wake’ feature as there are also some users who are facing problems registering touch inputs within apps as well as other system elements. New iPhone 13 on both stable and beta builds of iOS 15 are facing touch response problems, meaning it could either be a hardware or software-related issue. 

Related: Last Line No Longer Available iPhone 13 Issue Fix

Are older iPhones affected?

If you’re wondering whether the screen response problems might be related to iPhone 13’s hardware, it’s unlikely because the ‘Tap to Wake’ not working issue is also affecting some older iPhones, based on reports from users on Reddit and Twitter. Even iPad users are complaining that their devices don’t respond to touches as soon as they were updated to iPadOS 15. 

Among the iPhones reported to have touch response issues are the new iPhone 13 series, iPhone 12 series, iPhone 11 series, iPhone XR/XS, and iPhone X. The fact that all these iPhones from the past are affected means we can narrow down the root of this issue to something in the software, that could be the iOS 15. 

Has Apple acknowledged this issue?

Apple is yet to acknowledge the ‘Tap to Wake’ issue on iPhone 13 or iOS 15. Although iOS 15.0.1 was released on October 1, 2021, just days after iOS 15, the latest update on iPhone only mentions a fix for unlocking the iPhone 13 with Apple Watch. The reason for that could be that Apple is yet to find a cause or fix for the touch issues on iOS 15 and will only address it when it releases the next update for its iPhones.

Related: iOS 15 Failed Verification Issue Fix

How to Fix Tap to Wake issue on iPhone 13 or any iOS 15 iPhone

Since Apple is yet to address ‘Tap to Wake’ not working and other touch-related issues, we can only try to resolve them through a few workarounds. If you’re someone who’s facing issues with Tap to Wake on your iPhone since the iOS 15 update, then you may want to take a look at the following fixes that should solve the problem at least for the time being. 

Fix #1: Make sure Tap to Wake is enabled

The first thing to do when Tap to Wake isn’t working as intended is to make sure it’s enabled inside Settings. It might be possible that the feature has been disabled previously or was turned off randomly due to the latest update. You can check if the Tap to Wake feature is turned on by going to Settings > Accessibility > Touch and then enabling the ‘Tap to Wake’ toggle on this screen. 

You may want to toggle it off and then back on, it may help. 

Fix #2: Does your iPhone support Tap to Wake?

In case you didn’t know, the Tap to Wake functionality is available on only a handful of iPhone models. You can only use this functionality on the iPhone 13 series, iPhone 12 series, iPhone 11 series, iPhone XR, iPhone XS series, and iPhone X. 

If you’re using an iPhone 8 or an older model, you’d have to make things do by following fixes #5 and #6 instead. 

Related: Fitness App Not Working on iPhone 13 or iOS 15: Fix

Fix #3: Restart your iPhone

Users who reported problems with ‘Tap to Wake’ clarified that restarting their iPhones temporarily enabled the feature for some time. This should be helpful because restarting an iPhone clears your device’s background services and resets its RAM and cache storage. Performing a restart should help resolve incompatibilities on the system and apps and in this case, should be enough to fix your ‘Tap to Wake’ issue. 
To restart your iPhone, and hold the Power button (or Volume up and Power buttons) until you see Power off slider, slide over the setting, and wait for your iPhone to power off. When the device has completely switched off, press and hold the Power button again until you see the Apple logo appear to restart the device.

Fix #4: Force Restart your iPhone

If performing a simple restart doesn’t solve it, you can try a force restart on your iPhone to fix the ‘Tap to Wake’ issue on iOS 15. To force restart an iPhone with Face ID (like the iPhone 13, iPhone 12, iPhone 11, iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone X), follow these steps in the same order:

  1. Press and release the Volume Up button instantly 
  2. Press and release the Volume Down button instantly
  3. Press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears

Fix #5: Use your iPhone’s Side button instead

The Tap to Wake isn’t such a major issue, although many of us may have used it several times during the day. Another easier way to wake up your iPhone’s screen is to try the conventional way of doing it by pressing the Side button. The Side button is something you might have gotten used to on your iPhone as it’s the one button that you also use to turn off your device’s screen, lock it for privacy, and to save its battery. 

You can wake your iPhone screen by pressing the Side button on the right-side edge (the only button available on the right edge).

Fix #6: Enable Raise to Wake 

If Tap to Wake doesn’t work on your iPhone, there’s one more way to wake your screen without relying on the Side button. This can be done by enabling the ‘Raise to Wake’ functionality which automatically wakes the Lock screen on your iPhone as soon as you raise it to look at it. This feature is also handy when you want your iPhone with Face ID to unlock instantly as soon as you pick it up. 

To enable Raise to Wake, go to Settings > Display & Brightness and enable the ‘Raise to Wake’ toggle until it turns green. 

Fix #7: Wait for the next iOS 15 update

iOS 15 has been in beta testing for a few months until its stable release last month. Even after the long-term testing of the new mobile OS, there might still be a few bugs that may have gone under the radar or they might have only started appearing in the stable build. Since the inability to use ‘Touch to Wake’ coupled with other touch-related issues seems to be large in numbers, we can expect Apple to address this issue as soon as the next update rolls out. 

Although iOS 15.0.1 just got released a few days ago, there was no mention of any fixes for the Tap to Wake issue. For now, you can wait for the company to roll out the next stable update. If you’re someone who enrolled in the beta build of iOS 15, it’s advisable to opt out of beta and upgrade to the next stable build as soon as it’s available so that your issue gets resolved. 

That’s all there is to know about fixing the Tap to Wake issue on iPhone 13 and iOS 15.


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