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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Restore your iPhone using iTunes or Finder.
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.
- 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.
- As soon as the screen turns black, press and hold the volume down button while continuing to hold the side button.
- After 5 seconds, release the side button while continuing to hold the volume down button until your iPhone shows up in iTunes or Finder.
- 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.”
Hi David. I have an iPhone 7 Plus. After updating to iOS 14.7.1, the microphone and camera stopped working. It only works after restarting the iPhone, and only for few minutes. I had to Factory Reset my device twice but it’s still the same. Please help.
Hi. My iPhone (XS) won’t charge even if it detects the cord being plugged in. It also isn’t detected by iTunes or the file explorer on my laptop. I’ve cleaned up the charging port as much as I could, but it still won’t charge so the device is unable to be turned on. Is there anything else I can do before getting it serviced aside from the DFU restore?
Hi David/Colin. My iPhone keeps on restarting (shows Apple logo on repeat and won’t take any commands). I tried updating and afterwards restoring it but to no avail. Neither can be done, and it looks like the device is not recognizable either on iTunes or on Device Manager (I am o Windows 10). Please help.
Hi Evja! You may want to try plugging your iPhone into a different USB port on your computer, or using a different Lightning cable to connect your devices. If your computer still doesn’t register your iPhone after trying both of those options, it might be time to contact Apple Support directly. I hope this helps, best of luck!
I’ve installed the most recent iOS update on my iPhone 7 and now it says there’s a cellular data error.
Hi David. I have an iPhone 8+ and am in Costa Rica right now with T-Mobile service. My husband and brother have iPhone 12 and Androids. I keep dropping the WiFi every few minutes and they have WiFi all the time. I tried to reset the settings several times and it does not work. I never got the phone wet but it is very hot here at times. It looks like a DFU is the next step? I did try to check the Antenna using a code but I still didn’t know how to test the strength after putting the… Read more »
When ever I try to download an app my phone says “Waiting” and won’t download it and I’m getting frustrated. I’ve tried a lot of things to fix it and nothing is working. Do you have any idea how to fix it??
Hi Olivia! I can see why you’d get frustrated by that! The first thing I would suggest doing is to check your iPhone’s storage capacity. Visit Settings -> General -> iPhone Storage to see how much free space you have on your iPhone.
Hi. I recently got my iPhone 7 fixed for a No Service error by a third party. It’s been working fine till we got the problem came back yesterday where mobile data needs an update to make/receive phone calls. There’s an update but it is unable to verify to install and I’m scared to put it in recovery mode to update it.
Hi Mwawi, that sounds very stressful! The safest thing to do in this situation is to go straight to Apple and see if they’ll still service it. It’s possible that they won’t be willing to work on it if they detect that a third-party company has already repaired it. However, if anyone can resolve this error for you now, it’s an Apple tech. I’m sorry we couldn’t be of more help, best of luck getting this resolved!
When I do the DFU, towards the end of the update it always stops and doesn’t go through. Is DFU possible without a pc ?
Hi Gotham! You can perform a DFU Restore on any Windows computer with iTunes, or any Mac with iTunes or Finder depending on which MacOS it’s running.
During a FaceTime call yesterday my screen became unresponsive, and after call ended screen covered in vertical lines – lights still on, just can’t see anything for lines. Tried the reset, still the same. Phone rings, but can’t answer as screen unresponsive. Tried to connect to iTunes – not detecting phone. Is there anything I can do?
Hi Lil, since it sounds like you’ve already tried a lot of the home repairs we’d recommend, I’d suggest going directly to Apple Support to find out about your repair options. I’m sorry we couldn’t be of more help, best of luck!
I have a brand new iPhone SE and the phone cannot charge after just a month of having it. I tried resetting to revive it but that didn’t work either. I am in a foreign country and there is no apple support here. I note this happened right after I used the headphone adapter in a car; it’s like the port cannot recognize to charge the phone and thinks I am plugging a headphone… I tried charging it with my iPad Air but then a weird notification on the iPad kept blinking to activate USB mode but that didn’t work… Read more »
Hi Lawrence. I’m sorry to hear you’re having so much trouble charging your iPhone, but it’s awesome that you’ve already done so much troubleshooting! The first thing I’d recommend doing is save a backup of your iPhone to iCloud or Finder. Here’s a link to a Troubleshooting Step we published all about how to back up your iPhone: https://www.upphone.com/learn/how-to/iphone-lh/settings-lh/back-iphone-iphone-5-7-ios-10/ I would recommend against performing a DFU Restore until you have a backup saved. If you already have a backup all set, here’s a link to a tutorial we made about how to DFU Restore your iPhone using Finder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhtUrid71yA Hope… Read more »
I am attempting this because my iphone 6s is stuck at 1%, howver I cannot put the device in DFU mode, because it dies before I have the chance.
Hi Dakota, I’m sorry to hear that! If you’ve already tried all our tips aside from the DFU Restore, I’d recommend reaching out to Apple’s support team directly. It’s possible that you’re experiencing a hardware issue, or a software issue that’s beyond home repair. I’m sorry we couldn’t be of more help, thanks for reading!
my iphone 7 plain camera has issues, when i want to take a photo through the regular camera app there seems to be a dark strike on the left down corner of the camera but such strike isn’t visible when i switch to the video mode, slow motion mode, panoram mode or even when i want to take a photo through instagram. could you guys help me with this
Hi Ibrahim, that sounds like a very confusing issue. Have you updated iOS recently? This problem may be a weird software bug in the Camera app. Since Camera is a native iOS app, you need to update your entire iPhone’s operating system to access any updates to the Camera app specifically. Open Settings -> General -> Software Update to check if there is an update available. If you see one, tap Download and Install to update iOS. I hope this helps!
If my phone keeps rebooting, doesn’t charge when on, and doesn’t charge past 10%, how will I get it in DFU mode? I’ve tried multiple cables, tried a wireless charger with no success and I’ve gotten a 100% new battery but my phone still won’t charge… I’m convinced this is a software issue but it’s almost impossible to charge my phone! The phone reacts when cables are put into the port but it simply doesn’t not charge… However, when the phone dies, my phone will power on at 4% and then the battery will drain then the cycle continues… Any… Read more »
Hi Steven-Jon, if you’ve already erased your data and settings from your iPhone and it’s still malfunctioning, it’s pretty unlikely that the reason behind this issue is a software malfunction. At this point, your best bet might be to contact Apple and have your phone looked at by a technician. Here’s a link to Apple’s Support Page, where you can get in touch with their support team: https://support.apple.com/
Hi, i tried your restore but it didn’t seen to work and now my iphone xs seems to be dead. Can you help?
Hi Alex, have you tried charging your iPhone already?
How would you know if there were water damage on an iPhone 8plus?
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 »
Hi my iPhone XS Max shows a pink line on the screen, only the top quarter of the screen works and i cannot type in my passcode or anything. There is no damage to the screen, there is no cracks on the front or the back of the phone but the pink like is very clear and the screen does not work anywhere on the pink line. Some have said I should change the lcd but i would like advice on it first
Hi Anthia, we actually have a video on our YouTube channel all about what to do if there are lines on your iPhone’s screen. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDEgZtsHh8U
Thank you so much it worked like you said
Your advice was a great help. Thanks
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. ?
mine did the exact same thing! Did you figure out how to turn it back on?
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
my phone11 pro max just flashes the apple logo wont let me even re start it.
I’m presently facing same challenge with my iphone X. I have tried restoring using itune but it doesn’t go through the entire process.
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
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.
what if you don’t have itunes or you cant connet it to a computer then what?
The safest thing to do would be to go to Apple directly. A DFU Restore can definitely be tricky to perform, and it’s usually the first repair an Apple technician would attempt anyway.
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!
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?
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.
Hi I have recently been fixing an iPod 4 touch screen.
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.
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?
Worked like a champ on my iPhone 6!
I’m glad we were able to help! ?
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?
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
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.
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?
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.
My iPhone 6splus went black and now will not come back on?
Same to mine am wondering what’s wrong
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 ?
Your problem goes the same with my iphone 6. Have you fixed it yet? Thank you!
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
My phone 8plus goes off constantly and i have updated the software but it still the same.. what can i do to rectify it???
The screen of my iphone X keeps changing even if I do not touch it,besides the swipe un function does not work sometimes
Hello, after I replaced iphone 8 back housing the power and volume up buttons stoped working? Where is the reason?
My iphone11 suddenly the speaker sound crackling so annoyinng how can i fix
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?
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.
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
thank you 🙂
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 »
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 »
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: https://support.apple.com/iphone-7-no-service I hope this helps!
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 »
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…
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?
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
what causes that?
Check out our article about what to do if your iPhone battery dies fast. I hope this helps!
My Mac is old and running Sierra 10.12.6. Can I still do a dfu restore using my Mac?
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.
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.
My iphone 6 camera is not so clear taking a picture, do dfu rsetore can make it
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! ?
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!
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! ?
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?
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 »
Thanks David, worked great on an iphone 7 pro. Good info.