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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Robinson Liu
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Robinson Liu

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!!

timakoi
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timakoi

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

Nean
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Nean

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!

Dave
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Dave

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?

Linda
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Linda

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
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Jamie Zanic

What if my home button does not work?

JFrappuccino
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JFrappuccino

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

grace
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grace

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
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Megan W

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
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Marlon Diaz

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!

vsuren
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vsuren

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
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Shelly price

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
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Francia Montejo

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
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Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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[…] and if this is a problem that can be solved, a DFU restore will solve it. My article about how to DFU restore an iPhone explains how. Come back here after you try […]