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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Anonymous
3 years ago

Very thankful.
Its completely working.
If its not working that means you did wrong.

Anonymous
3 years ago

This resolved a sim lock for an iPhone 6s (with fresh install of itunes)

Anonymous
3 years ago

It appears that you don’t know how to fix it ,in such this situation, maybe you can read this tutorial about how to fix when iphone-stuck-in-recovery-mode,

Anonymous
3 years ago

It worked, I don’t have to get my daughter a new phone. Thanks so much for your post!

Anonymous
3 years ago

Ok. I have an iphone 6s plus that’s been continually not going past the “death screen” aka the apple logo screen. Didn’t know DFU existed until this article. Got past the 8 seconds, home button, black screen…. Itunes is now doing it’s thing… Phone has a brand new battery installed… Will give update after it’s all done and over with… Wish me luck!!!!

Anonymous
3 years ago

so did verything it suggested until I kept getting message : Software for this phone is currently not availble, check you have the latest version of itunes ( which I DO ffs) and still wont update. Any ideas?

Anonymous
3 years ago

After trying everything else I tried this and got farther but how long does it normally take? The phone just shows the apple

Anonymous
3 years ago

It might not work for u, but try the same process 3, 4, 6 times. I once worked on my old iPhone; it went dead. The hard reset worked on 7th or 8th time. I’d give up on 10th try!

Anonymous
3 years ago

Thank you. You saved my phone.

Anonymous
3 years ago

:/
i’ve done this and my phone still keeps restarting. won’t even stay on long enough to restore a back up

Anonymous
3 years ago

Just did this with my iPhone 6, it was not working (touch screen constantly freezing) even with restore (from backup and without). So I did this. It’s still working, thank goodness! Just uploading backup and will see if the screen works… if not, it’s an app that I’ve downloaded or a software update issue. f***, apple. Why do you keep screwing up your old products with these f***ing updates? they really should allow people to use older versions of the software rather than f***ing poor people out of 1000$ a year on a damn phone.

Anonymous
3 years ago

have tried to do this but it keeps saying it has received an error 4014 and wont reset. any ideas what this might mean?

Anonymous
3 years ago

I am in shock- this appears to have worked for me…so far. My phone has been sitting in a drawer for 2 years and I thought I would try one last time to bring it back to life before sending it to iPhone heaven. My phone is now restoring from an old back up, the screen shows the date, time and it is charging!! It is a miracle. So, my problem was that it completely drained of battery and wouldn’t charge. I did the standards reboot (hold home/start button for 20 sec), and it would only occasionally show the apple… Read more »

Anonymous
3 years ago

It is saying my phone will take 58 minutes to restore. Is that normal? If I can’t get restored I have to make a 2.5 hour trip to the Apple store since its under warranty. 🙁

Anonymous
3 years ago

I have used this method to sort out a continuos searching issue. This worked 100%, thank you so much. I have a fully restored and working iPhone.

Anonymous
3 years ago

Thank you for this. It worked for me. I’m a little worried about restoring from iCloud, in case the problem is with anything I had on this phone before, but I guess I can DFU again if need be.

Anonymous
3 years ago

I HAD THIS MESSAGE TOO . DONE THE DFU MODE MADE A SOUND WHEN I LET GO OF 1ST BUTTON THEN WAITED ANOTHER SOUND AND I LET GO PHONE IS BLACK NOTHNG ELSE IS HAPPENING … WHAT TO DO NOW?

Anonymous
3 years ago

thank u so much. no words to say. its working.

Anonymous
3 years ago

Thanks ! Speaker was making a really bad hissing noise, followed the steps and now it is working !

Anonymous
3 years ago

Same happened to me so after several attempts to restore without success I decided to hold both buttons again for 8-10 seconds and released the top sleep/wake button again and it came back to life. Not sure if the battery is any better but just glad to get my phone back.

Anonymous
3 years ago

i just did a dfu restore, my phone’s screen turned black and i got a prompt on my computer saying Installing device… its quite several minutes already. should i continue waiting or try to redo the restore? pls. help.. thanks.

Anonymous
3 years ago

so this blog wont help to resolve our issue??

Anonymous
3 years ago

Oh god I’ve done this and waiting for the restore and maybe regretting

Anonymous
3 years ago

I have just followed the steps on this page and after it had come onto the apple page with the loading bar it now has a black screen and says exactly what it said before which was ‘iPhone disabled – please connect to itunes’ ???????????

Anonymous
3 years ago

Speaker was not working…….. Followed all the guidelines, had to do the restore and IT WORKED…..thank you for a saving me from loosing my mind. If I can’t here my music I’m a mess.

Anonymous
3 years ago

okay….not completely dead I can still get back to “iphone is disabled screen”.

Anonymous
3 years ago

I did what you suggested and now I have a completely dead iphone…..I got a message in the itunes restore screen saying the version was not supported so now i can’t even turn the phone on…..great.

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B Nelson
4 years ago

My iphone screen was replaced and every since then the screen has been stuck on iphone disabled connect itunes. What to do

BlakeShelton
4 years ago

I have fixed my iOS system problem by Fix Recovery on here.