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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2 days ago

How would you know if there were water damage on an iPhone 8plus?

Colin Boyd
2 days ago
Reply to  Debz

There are a couple indicators. If your iPhone registers that it has come in contact with water, it might display a pop-up notification informing you of this. Alternatively, most iPhones have a Liquid Contact Indicator (LCI) tab built in. If your iPhone 8 Plus has gotten wet, check your phone’s SIM card slot for a small red tab. If you see that red tab, this means that your iPhone has come in contact with water recently. If your iPhone has been working strangely and you can think of a situation where it may have gotten wet recently, there’s a strong… Read more »

14 days ago

Your advice was a great help. Thanks

Erin Camarillo
22 days ago

I have tried doing it, but I didn’t see a notification from iTunes. And now, my iPhone 6+ is dead. I cannot open it. Help me, please. 😭

5 days ago
Reply to  Erin Camarillo

mine did the exact same thing! Did you figure out how to turn it back on?

28 days ago

My Bluetooth on my IPhone 10 has not opened in weeks. It has been troublesome for months. When I access it in settings, it just spins. I have tried all I can think of. Before I perform the DFU, I am wondering if you can help me resolve this. Thank you

29 days ago

my phone11 pro max just flashes the apple logo wont let me even re start it.

1 month ago

My iphone 7 keeps searching for the internet even though wifi works… how can i fix this? i am unable to update the latest 14.5.1 software because of this. H….E…L…P

30 days ago
Reply to  Lynelle

My iphone 7 also did this. I connected it to itunes and did the update through it and it still didn’t work but it might work for you. I took it to the apple store and they told me some iphone 7 models have that problem and that they fix that for free because a lot of them had that problem but it takes 3-5 days to get it repaired. Hope that helps.

1 month ago

Hi! Thanks for your you tube video to help speed up my iPhone. Now that I e done these I don’t have consistent. Pics on Google maps. Did I turn something off I shouldn’t have. Thanks so much!

1 month ago

Hi, thank you for the clear article. My SE 1st gen still has this problem after the DFU restore (see pic, it crashes with pretty horizontal lines). I wonder: if the DFU did not fix that, can a repairman or Apple person even fix it?

Liam Shotwell
1 month ago
Reply to  Tinkerball

They may be able to fix it by replacing your screen. It can cost between $100-$150 for repair and labor. However, there could also be other hardware problems with your device. Another option you may want to consider is upgrading to the latest iPhone SE or to something like the iPhone 12. It may cost you less in the long run to upgrade to the latest software and hardware so that you don’t have to keep paying for repair after repair.

1 month ago

Hi I have recently been fixing an iPod 4 touch screen.
screen replacement.
successfully done apart from touch screen Lower part won’t work as in changing to numbers or the @and join when I have entered the WiFi.
I have tried rebooting and factory reset still same problem.
many hints please.

1 month ago

I recently got an iPhone 11 max pro and it keeps turning on and off I tried the DFU mode but it doesn’t work I don’t know what to do😭

1 month ago

Worked like a champ on my iPhone 6!

Liam Shotwell
1 month ago
Reply to  David

I’m glad we were able to help! 😊

1 month ago

Hi, I just found an old iPhone 6s which I want to bring back to life. I am able to get into dfu recovery mode, and it connects fine to iTunes, then it”extracts” the files or something like that, then it goes to say preparing iphone I think and the iPhone will shut off and restart but then iTunes won’t recognize the phone or idk what happens, iTunes even can’t read the serial number once the phone does that restart. Any idea what’s going on?

2 months ago

Since the update to 14.4.2 my iPhone 8 Plus randomly resets itself, it never had this issue before the latest update, will a DFU restore solve this issue, tried everything else

Liam Shotwell
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen

If the problem is due to a software problem, a DFU restore should fix it. If it doesn’t oesnt work, then there is a deeper hardware problem that will require you to ge the phone repaired or replaced.

1 month ago
Reply to  Stephen

same problem, after update to 14.4.2 some of my application on my iphone 11 still crashing and can’t open properly, have you fix it now?

2 months ago

I Bought an iPhone XS Max, which seems perfectly normal. I can factory reset the device, but on iTunes i can’t restore it. When i try to restore it shows the message : “There was a problem downloading the software for the iPhone. The requested resource was not found”.
Can it be Jailbroken? Should i enter DFU mode or try other steps? It seems the iPhone can’t connect to the servers for some reason.
BTW, It has the latest 14.5 iOS version. My Mac is on Mojave and iTunes has the last version too.
Thank you!

2 months ago

My iPhone 6splus went black and now will not come back on?

Phanta Manela
2 months ago
Reply to  Delilah

Same to mine am wondering what’s wrong

2 months ago

I tried to restore my iPhone 5s by DFU mode. My mac can detect the iPhone but the iPhone cannot start to install the software when it is downloaded from network. The iPhone stop at the screen with apple logo and progress bar for whole night. What should I do to now ?

2 months ago
Reply to  Joe

Your problem goes the same with my iphone 6. Have you fixed it yet? Thank you!

2 months ago

In I phone 6 if adjust the white point reduction the vertical lines disappear, if brightness is increased white line appear only at top portion of the mobile phone
1 should I replace screen as suggested by local technicians?
2 is there any other solution?
please advise me

2 months ago

My phone 8plus goes off constantly and i have updated the software but it still the same.. what can i do to rectify it???

Norbert Louison
2 months ago

The screen of my iphone X keeps changing even if I do not touch it,besides the swipe un function does not work sometimes

2 months ago

Hello, after I replaced iphone 8 back housing the power and volume up buttons stoped working? Where is the reason?

2 months ago

My iphone11 suddenly the speaker sound crackling so annoyinng how can i fix

2 months ago

My iPhone 11 is stuck in a restart loop and I want to try a DFU. I don’t have any genuine Apple USB cords on hand, only non-genuine ones. Can I use one of these or should I try to get my hands on a genuine Apple USB cord?

Liam Shotwell
2 months ago
Reply to  Belinda

As long as the cords are certified by Apple they should be fine. There are plenty of 3rd party manufacturers that Apple certifies to make chargers and charging cables.

Ian Lench
2 months ago

Hi I have an iPhone 8 Plus and it keeps powering on and off if you make a call it rings the other phone even if my phone powers down plus when anyone phones me they can’t hear me
any help please

2 months ago

thank you 🙂

3 months ago

Hi Dave’s! have an iPhone 8 Plus that has a complete coloration swap glitch/problem which is constant in that the colors will change to invert and make the phone appear as if the images are old school negatives. Occasionally an app image will invert or move itself to a different place also. I have done the following to attempt to fix; -switched display setting around deleted all non factory apps to check if it was a bad app interaction but problem remains -factory reset and restored and -Went a bought a new iPhone 12pro which did not have the issue… Read more »

3 months ago

I think I am doing DFU right, but in Finder (I have Big Sur) I end up with an error message: “Activation Failed – The iPhone “iPhone” cannot be synced. The operation timed out.” On the iPhone 7 (9,1 model) I get the Hello setup screen, but after choosing language and country I get an “Unable to Activate. An update is required to activate your iPhone” and the only option is to Shutdown with a blue Botton ant the bottom of the screen. Seems a catch-22, how can I update my phone if I am forced to shutdown every time… Read more »

Liam Shotwell
2 months ago
Reply to  Freddy

Hi, Freddy! It looks like there is a recall because this is a known issue for some iPhone 7 models. You can find more information and instructions about how to reach out to Apple here with this link: I hope this helps!

2 months ago
Reply to  Freddy

I am having the exact same issue as Freddy. My iPhone 7 is not reading my SIM Card and keeps ‘searching’ practically forever. I used Erase All Settings under Reset in Settings. The iPhone started up like any other reset phone, it didn’t give me the option to use iCloud ID or anything. Only said that the phone needs updating and the servers for activation are temporarily unavailable. BUT iPhone seems to need to read a SIM Card for it to activate; the option to bluetooth over data from another device was there and I used it but likewise it… Read more »

1 month ago
Reply to  Turquoise

Same. Trying the DFU restore now but my iPhone 7 had been working GREAT until the newest versions of IOS. I find it interesting that suddenly, with a new version of IOS, I get “Searching …” and Cellular>Error and “Cellular Update Failed”. Something stinks and it smells like rotten apples. Props to the authors though, the DFU reset instructions worked flawlessly. Now, if my phone would just work properly…

Syeda Shah
3 months ago

Thanks for this informative article. My iPhone is charging on only one side and it’s battery jumps quickly even when I am not using it. It had a few times water splash but it’s indicator is not red till now. Should I go for DFU mode?

3 months ago

Hi, I have a battery-draining issue, even though my battery health says it’s 100% in settings, still my battery loses power VERY fast. it’s like 1% every 1 min.

my device is : iPhone 8
iOS 14.4

what causes that?

Liam Shotwell
3 months ago
Reply to  SALAH

Check out our article about what to do if your iPhone battery dies fast. I hope this helps!

3 months ago

My Mac is old and running Sierra 10.12.6. Can I still do a dfu restore using my Mac?

3 months ago

Hello how are you my iphone 11 promax its face id not working so should i do DFU and it had water but since along time and the indicator has shown red what do you suggest me to do.
thank you

3 months ago

Hi David,

I have issue with front camera. it is black when i open it. DFU didnt help it.

Can you suggest any other things I can check?

This happened after i updated the software to 14.4 before which i was getting unable to activate the iphone error.


3 months ago

My iphone 6 camera is not so clear taking a picture, do dfu rsetore can make it

Liam Shotwell
3 months ago
Reply to  Magtangol

A DFU restore will rule out any software problems that may be causing problems with your camera. I encourage you to check out this article we wrote about what to do when your iPhone camera is blurry before you try to DFU restore your iPhone. There may be a simpler solution there. I hope this helps! 😊

3 months ago

Hi Friends. Thanks for your website. Your instructions were spot on with regards to putting my iPhone 8 into DFU mode. But now when I am trying to use finder to restore my phone, I keep getting the error, “This iPhone cannot be restored because the firmware file is corrupt.” I have tried rebooting my computer and re-attempting to restore my phone, but I keep getting the same error.

Do you have any suggestions on how to work past this? Thanks a million!

Liam Shotwell
3 months ago
Reply to  Miguel

Hello, Miguel 🙂 We believe that the best thing to do in this situation is to redownload the firmware file. Check out these instructions from Apple for more information on how that works. I hope this helps! 😊

3 months ago

Hey so I have an old iphone 4s I want to use as DAP but everytime I charge it it just stuck on apple logo and the battery is always red, do you think I should give up or try something?

Liam Shotwell
3 months ago
Reply to  Gangan

The iPhone 4s came out 10 years ago, so that’s probably about how old the battery is in there. You can try and replace it, but since it’s so old it’s difficult to find the parts. Also, older devices just tend to show their age and it winds up being more costly to maintain them than to buy a new device. Most modern smartphones have plenty of storage that can be used as a DAP. Most phones these days can handle at least 128 GB of internal storage with options available for 512 GB or more. The storage capacity filter… Read more »

Mark Grundel
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam Shotwell

Thanks David, worked great on an iphone 7 pro. Good info.

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