How To Put An iPhone In DFU Mode, The Apple Way

DFU stands for Device Firmware Update, and it’s the deepest type of restore you can do on an iPhone. An Apple lead genius taught me how to put iPhones into DFU mode, and as an Apple tech, I’ve done it hundreds of times.

Surprisingly, I’ve never seen another article explain how to enter DFU mode the way I was trained. A lot of the information out there is just plain wrong. In this article, I’ll explain what DFU mode is, how firmware works on your iPhone, and show you step-by-step how to DFU restore your iPhone.

If you’d rather watch than read (actually, both can be helpful), skip down to our new YouTube video about DFU mode and how to DFU restore an iPhone.

What You Need To Know Before We Begin

  • The Home Button is the circular button below your iPhone’s display.
  • The Sleep / Wake Button is Apple’s name for the power button.
  • You’ll need a timer to count to 8 seconds (or you can do it in your head).
  • If you can, back up your iPhone to iCloud, iTunes, or Finder before put your iPhone in DFU mode.
  • NEW: Macs running macOS Catalina 10.15 or newer use Finder to DFU restore iPhones.

How To Put An iPhone In DFU Mode

  1. Plug your iPhone into your computer and open iTunes if you have a Mac running macOS Mojave 10.14 or a PC. Open Finder if you have a Mac running macOS Catalina 10.15 or newer. It doesn’t matter if your iPhone is on or off.
  2. Press and hold the Sleep / Wake Button and Home Button (iPhone 6s and below) or the volume down button (iPhone 7) together for 8 seconds.
  3. After 8 seconds, release the Sleep / Wake Button but continue to hold the Home Button (iPhone 6s and below) or the volume down button (iPhone 7) until your iPhone appears in iTunes or Finder.iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode
  4. Let go of the Home Button or volume down button. Your iPhone’s display will be completely black if you’ve successfully entered DFU mode. If it’s not, try again from the beginning.
  5. Restore your iPhone using iTunes or Finder.

How To Put An iPhone 8, 8 Plus, Or X In DFU Mode

A lot of other websites give false, misleading, or overcomplicated steps when telling you how to DFU restore your iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or X. They’ll tell you to turn off your iPhone first, which is completely unnecessary. Your iPhone does not have to be off before you put it in DFU Mode.

If you like our videos, watch our new YouTube video about how to DFU restore your iPhone X, 8, or 8 Plus. If you prefer to read the steps, the process is actually a lot easier than they make it out to be! The process starts off just like a hard reset.

  1. To DFU restore your iPhone X, 8, or 8 Plus, quickly press and release the volume up button, then quickly press and release the volume down button, and then press and hold the side button until the screen goes black.
  2. As soon as the screen turns black, press and hold the volume down button while continuing to hold the side button.
  3. After 5 seconds, release the side button but continue to hold the volume down button until your iPhone shows up in iTunes or Finder.
  4. As soon as it appears in iTunes or Finder, release the volume button. Ta-da! Your iPhone is in DFU mode.

Note: If the Apple logo is appearing on the screen, you held down the volume down button for too long. Start the process over from the beginning and try again.

How To Put An iPhone XS, XS Max, Or XR In DFU Mode

The steps for putting an iPhone XS, XS Max, XR in DFU mode are exactly the same as the steps for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. Check out our YouTube video about putting an iPhone XS, XS Max, or XR in DFU mode if you’re more of a visual learner! We use my iPhone XS to walk you through every step of the process.

How To Put An iPhone 11, 11 Pro, Or 11 Pro Max In DFU Mode

You can put an iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max in DFU mode by following the same steps as you would for an iPhone 8 or newer. Check out our YouTube video if you need help working through the process.

If You’d Rather Watch Than Read…

Check out our new YouTube tutorial on how to put an iPhone into DFU mode and how to perform a DFU restore if you’d like to see it in action.

A Word Of Warning

When you DFU restore your iPhone, your computer erases and reloads every bit of code that controls the software and hardware on your iPhone. There’s the potential for something to go wrong.

If your iPhone is damaged in any way, and especially if it’s water-damaged, a DFU restore may break your iPhone. I’ve worked with customers who tried to restore their iPhones to fix a minor problem, but water had damaged another component that prevented the restore from completing. A useable iPhone with minor problems can become completely unusable if a DFU restore fails because of water-damage.

What’s Firmware? What Does It Do?

Firmware is the programming that controls the hardware of your device. Software changes all the time (you install apps and download new email), hardware never changes (hopefully, you don’t open your iPhone and rearrange its components), and firmware almost never changes — unless it has to.

What Other Electronic Devices Have Firmware?

All of them! Think about it: Your washing machine, dryer, TV remote, and microwave all use firmware to control buttons, timers, and other basic functions. You can’t change what the Popcorn setting does on your microwave, so it’s not software — it’s firmware.

DFU Restores: All Day, Every Day.

Apple employees restore a lot of iPhones. Given the option, I’d always choose a DFU restore over a regular or recovery mode restore. This isn’t official Apple policy and some techs would say it’s overkill, but if an iPhone has a problem that can be resolved with a restore, a DFU restore stands the best chance of fixing it.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article clarifies some of the misinformation on the internet about how to enter DFU mode and why you’d want to use it. I encourage you to embrace your inner geekiness. You should be proud! Now you can tell your friends (and kids), “Yeah, I know how to DFU restore my iPhone.”

Thanks for reading and all the best,
David P.

About Author

I'm a former Apple employee and the founder of Payette Forward, and I'm here to help you with your iPhone.

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Lynne Gamba
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Lynne Gamba

Tried restoring my second hand iphone 5s using DFU and now I can’t get passed the iPhone activation screen in setup that’s prompting for the original owners ID and password. I have no contact with the owner. Help. I just got the phone and don’t want it to have been a waste of so much money.

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[…] try a DFU restore. Back up your iPhone first, and then follow the instructions in my article about how to DFU restore an iPhone for a step-by-step walkthrough of the process. Just remember that if it doesn’t work, you […]

Shayla McMath
Guest

My phone has had water damage prior, but has recently got fixed. The people gave me a new screen and frame, so I’m pretty sure there’s no water left. Yet, my phone will still randomly turn off. If I put in DFU, what are my chances of messing up my phone completely?

ali seikh
Guest

my iPhone 6 is disabled. .
so i connect to the iTunes and start restoring .
and when its done 30% or 40% my phone gets automaticly switch on with apple logo

Declan Mccann
Guest

My phone wont even turn back on
HELP!!!!!

Ally Forbes
Guest

I tried this for my iPhone 5s that was turning off at 40% exactly.
I successfully completed all of the steps, but when I clicked “restore” on iTunes everything stopped working. The phone’s screen is black and nothing on iTunes on the “restore” section is clickable.
Not sure what to do from here – I’m worried that I’ve ruined the phone… Any tips?

Gabriel Nico Fernandez
Guest

My phone had battery issues for a while and lately it came to the point where I would charge it to 100%, disconnect it and then drop to 8% or so almost immediately. I really don’t know if it was from previously charging it and leaving it on it too much or heat damage to the battery but I put in on DFU mode yesterday afternoon and it hasn’t come back on. All it shows is the charging symbol when it’s connected to the outlet. It won’t turn on. Any estimate on how long it should last to turn on… Read more »

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[…] Network Settings on your iPhone and it won’t connect to any Wi-Fi networks at all, try to DFU restore your iPhone and restore it from a backup. If that doesn’t work, there’s a good chance you’ll […]

gdefrenza
Guest

Restoring in DFU mode will update the firmware to the latest ios version? I have an iPhone 4s with ios 7.1.2 but don’t want to update. Thanks.

Lance Daoust
Guest

I can follow these instructions easily enough, and they work, but the problem I have is that I DO NOT WANT TO UPDATE. I cannot express how angry it makes me that Apple forces me to update the iOS. My locked device iPhone 4 is running iOS 5 and the process you’ve described is FORCING me to update to iOS 7.1.2. I’d rather throw the phone out than update it to an iOS that will cripple the device. OMFG APPLE!

Athena Kouroukli
Guest

does this work for iphone4S?

Sky Esser
Guest

Hey, thanks for this, but I’ve tried the sequence five times and I can’t get the screen to go completely black at the end — I always end up with the screen showing the connector cable and and arrow pointing at an iTunes icon (the “connect your phone to iTunes” screen, in other words). My phone is already connected to iTunes (per your instructions); I… 1. held down the power/side button and the home button together for 8 seconds (the screen goes black and just shows the apple icon right around then); 2. released the power/side button, but held the… Read more »

arham jain
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arham jain

if we use DFU mode all our backup will erase or not

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[…] because most of time it’s overkill. I’ve written an article that describes exactly how to put your iPhone into DFU mode and do a DFU restore. If that doesn’t fix the problem, come back to this article to learn what your options […]

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[…] describes on their website. To learn how to DFU restore your iPhone, check out my article called How To Put An iPhone In DFU Mode, The Apple Way, and then come back here to finish […]

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