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.
  • Macs running macOS Catalina 10.15 or newer use Finder to DFU restore an iPhone.

How To Put An iPhone 7 Or Older 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.
  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.iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode

How To Put An iPhone 8 Or Newer In DFU Mode

A lot of other websites give false, misleading, or overcomplicated steps when telling you how to DFU restore an iPhone 8 or newer. 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 or newer, including the iPhone 13. If you prefer to read the steps, the process is actually a lot easier than they make it out to be! Putting your iPhone in DFU mode starts off just like a hard hard reset.

  1. 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 while continuing 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.

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. In this video, we also show you how to get your iPhone out of DFU mode and debunk some misinformation about DFU restores.

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.”

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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Warren Sauvage
7 years ago

Should U restore as new phone ? or from a previous back up, and if its from a back up wont that take the bugged software with it , hence doing nothing in long run

The Villa On Pine Tree Avenue
7 years ago

its extracting the software o.k. but than it comes up after firmware bit “iPhone could not be restored an unknown error occurred (50)

Tanina Marie
7 years ago

This is the only article that helped to explain things clearly. I have a jailbreak on my phone, and until now, I was not able to update it, or restart it after the erase failed! Thank you for the time and effort spent!

John Weedon
7 years ago

This actually worked for me .. l got an error 4013 a couple of times, after the firm ware downloaded and was “checked / processed) and the process started, so under advice , l used a different USB APPLE CABLE and connection worked The “apple completion” bar on the iphone completed and VOILA thanks. The stick point occurred …. ” waiting for the iphone to respond”

Metodija Ilievski
7 years ago

Thank you for helped me recover my iPhone after my son disable it 🙂
Very helpful site 🙂
Thank you again !

7 years ago

iPhoneTransferRecovery is my favorite program to fix the issues on iPhone, such as DFU, data recovery and file extraction.

7 years ago

I dropped my iPhone 5 this morning and it landed on its face. now the home button doesn’t work. I’ve tried several things, but nothing works. Help!!

Igbinosa Elisha Aiyidu
7 years ago

Searched and searched and searched the internet. Till I found this. Worked like charm. Thanks.

Nishanth Rao
7 years ago

my iphone is shutingdown the battery comes to 40% can u help me to fix it

Bruno Borghi
7 years ago

I did this, and succeeded, with a disabled ipad air 2 that was not connected to wifi. Because when not connected to wifi, none of the recovery procedures documented by Apple work. Thanks to DFU restore, I could get a working wifi connection, and then the restore procedure was possible. The DFU restore included downloading the most recent iOS version for the software, that meant for me around 2Gb to download. It takes some time. Then a first restore that was immediately wiped out by “Find my phone” and a second restore from iCloud that worked like a charm, but… Read more »

7 years ago

I did this with my ipod 6th generation, I did not get the notification that a device in recovery had been detected however my screen did turn black and it is now not turning on

7 years ago
Reply to  Emily

UPDATE: it has now turned on but still says connect to iTunes

Philip Joubert
7 years ago

Seems like it worked for me 🙂

7 years ago

“A useable iPhone with minor problems can become completely unusable if a DFU restore fails because of water-damage.”

What would the user do in this case? Does “completely unusable” mean the phone has to be thrown away, or would someone at Apple be able to bring it back to life?

Michael Moevao
7 years ago

hi itried this my screen was still black but the thing on my itunes didnt pop up i could only hear the sounds

Michael Moevao
7 years ago
Reply to  Michael Moevao

please help

Iva Daneva
7 years ago

Error 3194. What to do?

Regh Oh
7 years ago

what if, if my home button doesnt work? please answer me thank you.

yammy “For” life
7 years ago

Can DFU mode
damage my iphone 5?

Jared Miller
7 years ago

it’s not working, it says that it couldn’t enter because my Iphone has a passcode

David Payette
7 years ago
Reply to  Jared Miller

Hey Jared,

If you’re seeing that message, your iPhone isn’t in DFU mode. Make sure the screen is totally black when it’s connected to iTunes.

Thanks for reading and best of luck,

Belle Prudenciado
8 years ago

i have done all the instructions but when it loads for like 15 minutes (itunes) then it shows up the apple logo then turns to the disabled lockscreen. What should i do , please reply. thanks.

Robinson Liu
8 years ago

I have done exactly as u instructed using the DFU mode while connected to itunes after my phone was disabled. Thank you so much now I can use my Iphone6 again without having to spend a huge some of money to buy a new one! Thank you Thank you very much! Much appreciated!!

8 years ago

it says “Iphone cannot be restored error code (3914)” any help on this situation?

8 years ago

So, I embraced my innner geek and restored my iphone (DFU) following your fantastic advice, and now it doesn’t die at 40% charge as it had been doing for ages! Thank you so much – as I had been thinking I’d need to buy a new phone, so you’ve saved me £££’s!

8 years ago

Following your instruction for DFU restore and iTune showed a error message as: unknown error code: 3194, any idea what’s this for? any help to move forward?

8 years ago

I have put my 5s iPhone in DFU and now each time I try to restore it with iTunes I keep getting the message that there is a problem with restoring phone. It never stops trying to download the restore information. Any suggestions?

Jamie Zanic
8 years ago

What if my home button does not work?

8 years ago

And this DFU process won’t completely delete my pictures on my iPhone 6 16GB?

8 years ago

hello david my iphone 6 battery trips off at 53%. and i tried using the DFU mode but my phone wont come up again. please help.

Megan W
8 years ago

Thank you so much, this was very helpful! It was indeed my kids that made too many different attempts to get into my phone and disabled it. This worked perfectly. Thanks again!!

Marlon Diaz
8 years ago

Hi, I tried replacing the battery of my iphone 5s but still it turns off even though it’s plugged in and charging. Any idea what is wrong with my iphone? Thanks!

8 years ago

You are excellent and thanks a lot for your article. Went to Apple store twice and said hardware issue but no help.
After almost 6 months, I tried this option and things are back.

Shelly price
8 years ago

I’ve tried restoring my daughters iphone 5s through DFU mode, followed the instructions and it did everything it should on iTunes. After about half an hour the phone changed from black screen to apple logo with bar underneath that looked like it was loading. Once the bar got almost to the end the screen went black again and nothing happens. Any help? It is a year old but out of guarantee, my daughter bought it second hand and it is in excellent condition, was working fine until the screen started to freeze on lock screen a couple of times. She… Read more »

Francia Montejo
8 years ago

Tried restoring my iphone through DFU but it’s been almost two hours and it still says “iTunes is currently downloading software for the iPhone”… How long does restoring usually take?

Az Időmilliomos Apuka
8 years ago

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Lynne Gamba
8 years ago

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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Shayla McMath
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

My phone wont even turn back on

Ally Forbes
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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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8 years ago

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8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

does this work for iphone4S?

4 years ago
Reply to  David Payette

all my screen says is “contacting the iPhone software update server”, won’t go passed that….

Sky Esser
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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

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