Why is my power button and volume buttons not working?

Phones rely heavily on hardware buttons for core functionality. When buttons like the power button or volume buttons stop working, it can severely limit what you can do with your device.https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/fixes-android-phone-buttons/
There are several common reasons buttons can fail on smartphones:

  • Physical damage from drops, wear and tear
  • Software glitches or OS issues
  • Dirt, dust or debris buildup
  • Problems with battery or loose connections
  • Issues with the button strip or ribbon cable

Later sections will cover troubleshooting steps to try and determine the cause, as well as prevention and repair options if the buttons remain unusable.

Hardware Damage

Physical damage like cracks or water damage can break the delicate connections and mechanisms behind the power and volume buttons, preventing them from working properly. Dropping your phone can crack the button itself or loosen ribbon connectors, while liquid damage can cause corrosion or short circuits. If your phone has suffered any physical trauma, inspect closely for cracks, dents, scratches or other signs of damage near the affected buttons.

According to this source, diagnosing your phone’s hardware buttons is important to confirm hardware failure. Things to look for include loose or damaged button strips, obstructed mechanisms, and unresponsive ribbon connectors.

In the case of hardware damage, you may need to replace the affected components or entire button assembly. However, before attempting complex repairs yourself, consider taking your device to a professional service center to assess the damage. They have the experience and tools to properly troubleshoot and repair phone buttons if possible.

Software Glitches

Software issues are a common cause of power and volume buttons suddenly stop working on Android phones (Thetechedvocate.org, 2023). Bugs, crashes, or recent updates may break intended functionality and interfere with components like hardware buttons.

An easy first step is to restart your Android phone by holding down the power button for 10 seconds or longer to force a reboot (Makeuseof, 2023). This will restart the device and reload the software, potentially resolving any temporary glitches.

If that doesn’t work, booting your device into safe mode is another troubleshooting step. Safe mode loads Android with only the essential apps and services running. If buttons start working properly in safe mode, then a third party app is likely causing issues.

As a last resort, backing up your phone and performing a factory reset often resolves even serious software problems. Just keep in mind it will erase your locally stored data in the process.

Dirt Buildup

Over time, dust, debris and dirt can accumulate in the gaps around the edges of the power and volume buttons. This buildup can block the buttons from being depressed properly or make the buttons stick when pressed.

Pocket lint and other fibers can also find their way into tiny openings and prevent the button mechanisms from working smoothly. As you use your phone, oils from your fingers and skin cells also deposit around the buttons.

Since many phones today have water and dust resistance ratings, it’s also possible for moisture to enter the phone but not properly drain out. This residual moisture can leave behind minerals that crystalize and interfere with moving parts like buttons.

Bad Battery Connection

If the battery becomes loose inside the phone, this can result in the buttons not properly connecting to the phone’s logic board (1). When inserting a new battery or reinserting the existing battery, it’s important to ensure the battery is properly aligned and fitted snugly into place. If the battery is loose, the contacts may not line up correctly with the contact points inside the phone chassis. This can prevent signals from being transmitted from the external buttons to the main board.

One troubleshooting step is to remove the battery, visually inspect the contacts to ensure no dirt or debris is present, blow out any dust, then reseat the battery making sure it clicks firmly into position (1)(2). Sometimes batteries can become warped or bent which also prevents flush contact; inserting a piece of paper or card stock around the battery can help shim it into proper position. If the battery compartment is damaged, replacing the battery door can also resolve loose battery issues.

Proper battery installation and connection is key for the external phone buttons to operate correctly by transmitting signals to the main logic board through shared contact points. Periodically inspecting battery fitment and connections can help prevent button issues stemming from a loose or misaligned power cell.


(1) https://www.quora.com/Why-do-some-of-my-phone-buttons-not-work-after-changing-my-phones-battery

(2) https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5636796

Button Strip Damage

One common reason why phone buttons stop working is damage to the button strip or “ribbon cable” that connects the buttons to the phone’s motherboard. Ribbon cables under buttons can wear out over time if they’re placed under too much stress or bent too sharply. Repeated pressing of the buttons can also cause the ribbon cable to fatigue and lose conductivity.

Some symptoms of a damaged button ribbon cable include buttons not responding, intermittent response, or triggering random actions when pressed (Source). The ribbon cable may also appear visibly torn or damaged under inspection.

Unfortunately, repairing a damaged ribbon cable requires microsoldering skills and specialized equipment. In most cases, it is easier and more cost-effective to replace the entire button or front panel assembly. Preventative measures include avoiding excessive button presses and impacts to the button area.

Troubleshooting Steps

If your phone’s power and volume buttons are not responding, there are several troubleshooting steps you can try before taking your phone in for professional repair.

First, try restarting your phone by holding down the power button for 30 seconds to force a reboot (if possible). This can clear up temporary software glitches preventing the buttons from working properly. You can also try connecting your phone to a computer with a USB cable and restarting it using keyboard shortcuts.

Next, inspect the buttons and their surrounding area for any debris, dust, or dirt buildup that could be interfering with the contacts. Use a toothpick or compressed air to gently clean the gaps. Also check for water damage or exposure to moisture – this can short circuit the buttons.

If the buttons look physically fine, you can try resetting your phone to factory default settings (note this will erase all data on your phone). Go to Settings > System > Reset to clear out any problematic third party software.

As a last resort before seeking repairs, connect a wired mouse to your phone using an OTG adapter. This lets you temporarily navigate the phone without needing to use the built-in buttons.

When to Repair/Replace

If your phone’s power or volume buttons stop working properly, it’s best to assess if the issue is fixable or if the phone needs professional repair or replacement. Some common factors to consider:

  • If the phone is still within the warranty period, you may be able to get a free repair or replacement from the manufacturer. Check your warranty terms.
  • If the phone was recently dropped or damaged, internal components may be broken and require replacement by a professional. Repairs can range from $50-150+ depending on phone model.
  • Try basic troubleshooting like cleaning the buttons or rebooting the phone. If issue persists, internal damage is likely.
  • For older phones, the cost of a repair may exceed the value of the device. Replacement may be better.
  • If multiple buttons are unresponsive, logic board damage is possible requiring a more expensive mainboard replacement.

Assessing the root cause first can determine if a DIY fix is possible or if professional phone repair or replacement is the best option.

Preventative Measures

There are a few things you can do to help prevent issues with your power and volume buttons:

  • Use a protective case – A sturdy case can help cushion your phone from drops and bumps that could damage the buttons.
  • Avoid liquid damage – Exposure to moisture can short circuit the buttons or cause corrosion over time.
  • Don’t press buttons forcefully – Pressing the buttons too hard repeatedly could break the delicate mechanisms.
  • Keep buttons clean – Gently wipe away any dirt or debris that accumulates around the buttons.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures – High heat or cold can make the buttons more brittle and prone to cracking.
  • Handle with care – Be mindful of how you store and handle your phone to avoid placing pressure on the buttons.

Putting a case on your phone, keeping the buttons clean, and handling your device carefully can go a long way in preventing issues with the power and volume buttons.


In summary, there are several potential causes if the power button and volume buttons stop working on your Android phone. The issue could stem from hardware damage, software glitches, dirt buildup, a bad battery connection, button strip damage, or other issues. Before resorting to repair or replacement, it is advisable to try some troubleshooting steps like cleaning the buttons, testing different buttons, rebooting the device, checking for software updates, and examining the phone for any physical damage.

If the buttons remain unresponsive after troubleshooting, you may need professional repair service. As a preventative measure, use a protective case, avoid dropping your phone, and keep it away from moisture and dirt. Unresponsive buttons can be frustrating, but the problem can often be resolved with some diligent troubleshooting and maintenance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *