How to Change Auto Lock Time on an iPhone & iPad (Fix the "iPhone Keeps Locking" Bug)

How to Change Your iPhone's Autolock Time

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

If your iPhone keeps going to Lock screen after showing a black screen and then a spinning wheel—we've got a fix below. We're going to show you how to fix the "iPhone keeps locking" problem many iPhone users run into. If you simply want to change your Lock screen settings to turn off Auto-Lock or change how quickly your screen dims, we'll cover that as well. What is Auto-Lock? Auto-Lock, or sleep mode, is one answer to how to save battery on the iPhone and iPad. This setting dims the screen after a set amount of time in order to extend iPhone battery life and prevent others from accessing your unlocked iPhone. If you disable Auto-Lock to get rid of your automatic screen lock time, it will cut into your battery life. You may also be wondering, "why is Auto-Lock grayed out on my iPhone?" We'll tell you why this happens, and how to fix it.

Related: How to Write Notes Directly from the Lock Screen on Your iPhone

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If your iPhone is in Low Power Mode, the option to change Auto-Lock will be grayed out. This is because Low Power Mode locks the Auto-Lock function at thirty seconds. Otherwise, you can learn how to change Auto-Lock once and easily do so whenever you need to change Auto-Lock in the future. If you need to stop your screen from going to sleep, setting Auto-Lock to a longer amount of time is the solution. I’ve changed my iPad Auto-Lock time most often when cooking with a recipe as I need to easily be able to see the next step without covering my iPad in food. Changing your Auto-Lock time is one of the many ways to customize your iPhone Lock screen as well. If you want to stop your iPhone from locking, here’s how to keep your iPhone screen on. But first, we'll cover how to fix the bug where iPhones keep going to Lock screen in the middle of using an app. 

Related Video: Customize What You Can Access from Lock Screen

The above video is a preview of an iPhone Life Insider Daily Video Tip

Table of Contents:

1. What Is Auto-Lock on the iPhone & iPad?

Auto-Lock is another way to say sleep mode. Auto-Lock activates a screen timeout after a set number of seconds or minutes, unless you disable Auto-Lock. In the same way that your computer goes to sleep after a set amount of time, the iPhone, too, will dim the screen so that the battery life is conserved. If you find your iPhone runs out of power too quickly, it’s a good idea to set the screen to sleep sooner. You can easily change Auto-Lock in Settings whenever you need to. However, you also have the option to turn off Auto Lock all together. If your iPhone keeps shutting off, use the tip below to change your iPhone or iPad's Auto-Lock time. 

Related: How to Find Your iPhone Even If It’s Dead 

2. How to Change Screen Lock Time on Your iPhone & iPad 

Auto-Lock is an easy feature to change in Settings. You select 30 seconds all the way to 5 minutes before your screen locks; you can also choose to set Auto-Lock to Never, essentially turning Auto-Lock off. Your iPhone's screen lock time is, by default, set to 30 seconds.  

How to Change Auto Lock (Sleep Mode) on the iPhone & iPad 

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Display & Brightness.

    iphone settings appiphone display and brightness settings
     
  3. Select Auto-Lock.
  4. Set the sleep timer to the time that works best for you.

    sleep mode settingsauto lock settings

If you attempted to change your Auto Lock time and suddenly panicked because it’s grayed out—take a deep breath and proceed to the tip after next. Don’t worry; it’s an easy fix.

How to Fix "iPhone Keeps Going to Lock Screen" Bug

This issue happens while using an app; users' screens go black, show a spinning wheel at the center, and then revert to Lock screen. So why do these iPhones keep locking? Many users on the reddit forum, where this solution originated, have noted that deleting the app Headspace and restarting the phone has solved their issue immediately. However if you don't have the Headspace app and are still having the issue, or you'd rather not delete that app, we have a solution for you as well. Here's how to fix the "iPhone Keeps Going to Lock Screen" bug. 

First, we need to turn off all Notifications. In order to do this:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Notifications.

    iphone settings appiphone notifications
     
  3. Tap the arrow by each app.
  4. Toggle off Allow Notifications for every single app. 


     

Next, we need to update to the latest iOS or iPadOS. Once your device has fully installed and downloaded the iPad or iPhone software update, you can go through and turn on notifications for the apps you would like to receive notifications from; although, if Headspace is one of those apps, I recommend leaving it off for now. 

Youtuber tipswithpunch has noted that after going through this process, your iPhone may go to Lock screen by itself once more but, after that, it should be okay. 

If the problem persists, contact Apple Support. You may also try reading through the epic reddit forum to see if there's a solution someone else mentioned that might work for you. 

3. How to Fix a Grayed-Out Auto-Lock on Your iPhone

Auto-Lock on your iPhone will be grayed out when Low Power Mode is on. Low Power Mode in the iPhone and iPad forces Auto-Lock to remain at thirty seconds to conserve battery life. To stop Auto-Lock from being grayed out, all you need to do is turn Low Power Mode off. If you follow our tip for how to turn on Hey Siri, you can activate Siri and say, “Turn off Low Power Mode.” Or, you can use the tip below to manually turn Low Power Mode off. Once you’ve turned Low Power Mode off, navigate back to the Auto Lock setting, and you’ll be able to change it to whatever time you prefer. To fix grayed out Auto-Lock setting and stop your iPhone or iPad from sleeping when you don't want it to:

  1. You can say, "Hey, Siri, turn off Low Power Mode”.

    hey siri turn off low power mode
     
  2. Alternately, Open the Settings app.
  3. Tap Battery.

    iphone settings appbattery settings
     
  4. Toggle off Low Power Mode.
    turn off low power mode
     

Now you can navigate back to Auto Lock in Display & Brightness and change the Auto-Lock time.

Top image credit:  nenetus / shutterstock.com

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Author Details

Sarah Kingsbury's picture

Author Details

Sarah Kingsbury

Sarah Kingsbury is the Senior Web Editor and SEO Content Manager at iPhone Life. She manages the web editorial team and oversees all web and newsletter content. A long-time Apple enthusiast, Sarah can't live without her iPhone, Macbook Air, HomePod, Apple TV, or Apple Watch. As the original contributor to the iPhone Life Tip of the Day Newsletter, she wrote hundreds of iPhone how-tos to help users master their iPhones. It's safe to say that she has written or edited every tip published on iPhoneLife.com! In her 20 years of editing and writing, Sarah has done everything from working as the associate editor of the Iowa Source magazine to developing recipes and reviewing cookbooks for a vegetarian cooking website. But teaching people how to use their Apple devices is her favorite job so far.