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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Scott
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Scott

iPhone 7 camera is blurry

David Lynch
Admin

Here’s what to do when your iPhone Camera is blurry. A DFU restore should fix the problem if it’s software related.

Reita K Nipper
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Reita K Nipper

so I went through this process to the point that a message popped up that the phone could not be activated because the activation information could not be obtained. Then it instructs to check the sim card. So I did that. Disconnected the phone and still get the same message. Any suggestions?

Jo And
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Jo And

Nothing works! I’m still locked out of my phone! Upon trying to access iTunes its message states..”to allow access, please respond on your phone…” Therein lies the problem Apple.

Sue
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Sue

Thank you for this video!!!

sejahp
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sejahp

iPhone 8 plus follow steps and it goes to sos call.

Michelle Sorrentino
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Michelle Sorrentino

With the new Catalina update on my laptop, I noticed I can no longer sync my phone to iTunes anymore unless I am paying for itunes match or music. So would the dfu even work?

David Lynch
Admin

It’s exactly the same process, except now your iPhone shows up in Finder instead of iTunes, which is now Music. Putting your iPhone in DFU mode will still work!

Anonymous
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Anonymous

You spot it, you got it. 🙂

Anonymous
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Anonymous

my iphone keeps showing apple logo after recovery mode

Anonymous
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Anonymous

how long does it take????

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I followed these steps and now I have iTunes saying its downloading the software and will restore when the download is complete, but there is a ‘done’ button in the bottom right. Do I click this or wait…?

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Ive followed the directions, got the black screen on the phone, got the message on the computer saying it detected phone in recovery, clicked to restore. It went right through the restore process and again got the message Could not be restored. Unknown error 4005, again and the iPhone has gone back to a white screen with the Apple icon in the centre. Happens every time.

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