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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6 hours ago

Hello there. I have my iPhone SE (2020). It turns out that my back camera is blurry. I already refreshed it many times and close the camera as well, but nothing happens. I don’t know what happened because it was okay before. Any suggestion?

2 days ago

What do you do when this doesn’t work? The phone isn’t showing up in iTunes or Finder and as soon as I let go of the volume button, after I’ve lost feeling in my finger, the phone returns to the reboot cycle.

3 days ago

My phone has been stuck turning on. My home button stopped working, and I tried the restore 3 times and it just shows the logo and then turns black and keeps doing it over and over again. I tried putting it in DFU mode but it doesn’t let me because it keeps trying to turn on. I have an iPhone 7 Plus help please.

5 days ago

Hi my iPhone 11 microphone suddenly stopped working. The microphone works when recording video with both cameras but not during calls or while using other apps. I have tried everything I could think of to try and fix the problem and I’m considering trying the DFU as my last resort due to the possible risks. Any recommendations or advice for my problem.

11 days ago

I just used Wondershare to unlock an iPhone 6S. So I had to put it in DFU mode to start the process, and now the processes are all done, and now I can’t exit DFU mode.

12 days ago

Hello, I just recovered my iPhone 8+ from the Recovery Mode screen using iTunes but it is not turning on?
Can you help me?

16 days ago

Hi there! My iPhone 11 Pro’s Face ID has been disabled. I’ve tried all of the things and I’ve noticed that the front camera has a ring of condensation bubbles in it! It doesn’t effect the camera or the Memojis, but I’m thinking it must be effecting the Face ID. What can I do? I’ve tried rice and kitty litter and a wee bit of silica and the sun.

Colin Boyd
21 hours ago
Reply to  Kelsey

Hi Kelsey! That sounds like it could be a hardware issue. I’d recommend reaching out to Apple’s Support team directly to try to get the issue diagnosed by a licensed Apple Tech.

For future reference, we recommend using rice or kitty litter to dry out an iPhone. Small things like that can get caught in the Lightning port and cause even more damage to an iPhone. I’m sorry we couldn’t be of more help, best of luck!

17 days ago

Hi, I have I phone 8 and it’s back camera is not working after a recent update. I don’t know what happened. Whenever I open my Camera app it’s just all back. Could you please help me?

17 days ago

Hi, I’ve been trying to recover my iPhone but the past 3 hours. I tried the DFU restore but it keeps failing. It’s an iPhone 7 Plus

To ho
18 days ago

Hi will a DFU restore work for a phone that I believe has XcodeGhost malware on it?

21 days ago

Hello, I just bought a new-in-the-box iPhone 6. I currently have an iPhone 6 and it has the newest update. However I tried the DFU and I still didn’t get the newest update. How do I update the new iPhone if it won’t go past iOS 12. I know it can because my old one is up to date on the newest iOS.

Colin Boyd
21 days ago
Reply to  ashley

Hi Ashley, as far as I’m aware the iPhone 6 is only compatible with iOS 12 and earlier. If you would like to make sure of this, you can open Settings -> General -> Software Update. If you see an update is available for your iPhone 6 there, you can install it. However, if it says that your iPhone is already up to date, that means that there aren’t any further updates available for your device. A DFU Restore will automatically update your iPhone to the most recent compatible iOS, so unfortunately iOS 12 might be the latest software available… Read more »

21 days ago

I DFU restored my iPhone when it had been at 1% and not charging with a new battery. It was shutting off and on before I attempted the DFU — in the instructions it said that I can DFU restore even if my iPhone is turned off. That’s what I did and my phone won’t come back on after 24hrs of charging.

24 days ago

Hi. My daughter’s iPhone 8 has sound, e.g. when I change the volume in Settings, I can hear the ring. However, when making or receiving calls, she cannot hear the other person, they cannot hear her and she is also unable to press the loud speaker function as it is greyed out. The phone does not think it has headphones connected and I have turned the Bluetooth off. I have also cleaned the receiver. Any suggestions gratefully received.

Colin Boyd
20 days ago
Reply to  AJ456

Hi AJ! First off, awesome job trying to figure out this problem! It sounds like you’ve already attempted pretty much every go-to fix I’d suggest for this problem.

Unfortunately, that means that the issue is most likely related to a hardware or software problem beyond the scope of home repair. I’d suggest reaching out to Apple Support directly to try to get this issue diagnosed. I’m sorry we couldn’t be of more help, best of luck getting this problem resolved!

26 days ago

My SE 1st Gen has quit twice during a DFU restore. It ends at “Waiting for iPhone”. I hear the disconnect sound at the beginning of the wait phase which takes a couple minutes. Can i use the alt-select method to get to the iOS download on iTunes?

26 days ago

Can this fix a phone that says it’s charging but not charging?

David Lynch
21 days ago
Reply to  Eve

Yes, a DFU restore could fix that problem, but there are several other steps we recommend trying first. Check out our article on what to do when an iPhone won’t charge but says it’s charging.

Jodie Avion
1 month ago

Hi Colin / David. My son dropped his SE 2020 a while ago, the screen is shattered back and front. All of the sudden it has begun to turn off and restart itself roughly every 5 minutes. The microphone also appears to not be working properly. He has done a hard reset with no change. We tried updating the iOS, but the phone keeps shutting down. I’ve also tried a backup but can’t complete that for the same reason. Would a DFU Restore be of any benefit, or is it more likely damage to the internal board? Thanks in advance.

1 month ago

Hi David and Colin.
Thank you for all the great information you’re sharing with us.
My iPhone suddenly started glitching. I don’t know what to do.

1 month ago

Hello there! My iPhone XR has 99% battery health. It’s been a few months and my phone started dying at 20%. Gradually it has increased and is dying at 44%. I tried almost everything from force restarting, a factory reset, and resetting Network Settings. I tried turning Background App Refresh off as well. Also, sometimes after dying, it wont turn on. I cannot troubleshoot the problem, please help me with it.

Anand Nair
1 month ago

My XR display brightness turns off after locking once after I changed my display.

1 month ago

My iPhone doesntt charge. It charges a bit then shuts off, but then it does this over and over again.

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