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.”
Did this and it restored everything yada yada… via itunes… but the screen still wont come on… HELP!
My touch screen still isn’t working
My phone fell in water since ending April but since from then it keeps restarting itself that I cannot even use it for 1 min. Can I still try the DFU reset?
Thank you so much!!! This was GREAT! I took my phone to my service provider because the touch screen was not working at all, they said they couldn’t do anything with it. I found your page and TA-DAH my phone is working just fine now!
Not working for me, have tried several times but the phone just does a hard reset. It just logs out and back into iTunes and I get the you need to enter your passcode message.
First update to latest version and then downgrade it using iTunes..Don’t forget to backup your iphone…Good Luck !
perfect thanks i thought my iphone was broken but thanks its working now
I cannot get the I phone five to connect to I tunes.I changed the battery and it charged twice and then would not charge again.
I assumed it was a bad battery so I installed a new one, still will not charge.
First update to latest version and then downgrade it using iTunes..Don’t forget to backup your iphone…Good Luck…
David, I just wanted to thank you so much for the step-by-step procedure. I thought my phone was gone, but thanks to your instructions I got everything back without spending a dime. Thanks again!
this is so not working! i did as you said step by step & it keeps giving me an error that it cant restore????????? error 1394 i think?????????? What now????????/
This fixed my iphone 6. I was having issues with battery life and the phone being unresponsive and it was getting worse. Thanks so much.
I did this with iPhone 5s 4 or 5 times. It lasts not quite a day and goes back into restore mode. Any suggestions? Also, if doing this in iTunes, how do you restore from the cloud?
it dosent work this is annoying i have tried really hard and long
I’ve attempted to do this but my phone is now flashing the apple logo and a black screen when plugged into the computer and goes black when I disconnect it….HELP! Please!
My battery on my iphone 6s suddenly stopped charging & phone is completely dead . I brought it to get fixed & was told that it was a faulty component which controls input/output of battery ( i can’t remember what it’s called). Will a DFU restore work for this? Charging port is fine & battery is also fine. TIA
You are the greatest! I worked just as you suggested. God Bless
I connected by iphone to iTunes, held power down for 8 seconds, and was able to update my iphone through iTunes. Then it finally booted up.
Thank you!! Save me from a likely wipe and restore. You rock.
Will it re-lock an unlocked phone?
i followed the steps it is completetly blank what do i do after that?
When my iphone 7 was restoring the firmware, an temporary internal error massage popped up. Any ideas what I can do? BTW, my phone can’t charge while it’s on. But it dose charge when it’s power off. And there is a “accessory is not compatable” massage when connecto to a laptop. This happened to my old iphone 4 as well. Any ideas? Thanks for your help!
Said it needed to install the device and it did. Twice now and now it wants me to connect my lightning to my computer on itunes and it is. But nothing
I have followed the steps at least 15 times and it always goes back to iPhone is disabled try again in 1 hour. Any suggestions? I am using newly downloaded iTunes to restore due to passcode issue.
DFU worked with only 3 apps missing!
I have tried this and it will not restore due to error code 4013. Any idea how to resolve this
My phone was shutting down with battery left I followed the directions & it came back on fine. My phone was in perfect condition NEVER wet or damaged. So far seems to be recoverered I will have to wait until it hits below 50% to see if it still shuts down but using low battery mode before & it would turn off right away. It seems that feature is fixed!
thanks but the restore isn’t working, after about an hour or so, i get an error m3essage saying there was a problem, please what else can i try
I had an iphone 5 c laying around that my son way using as a play ohone because it couldnt chrage, After I removed a TON of lint from the phone it would finally recogize that it was plugged in but still wouldnt charge. I did the DFU mode and like magic now my son has an iphone 5 to use as an ipod touch! Thanks a million!!
Hi, thanks for this information. It works for me!!
Is there anyway to do. DFU restore if you don’t have a computer to hook it to?
thanks gonna try
I did this because my screen was black with full battery again – I figured it would get rid of watever was causing this reoccuring problem. It seemed to go well, but now my screen is strobing, especiall near the edges… Anyone else get this?
I couldn’t get past the white start up apple screen before the screen would black out. I was dreading having to go to my carrier to get my phone fixed. I followed your instructions exactly and my phone started right up and is working perfectly! Thank you!
I have an iPhone 4s that wouldn’t start up after a new battery was inserted. And on my iPhone 5S I have forgotten the passcode and cannot get it going doing a restore. I keep on getting an error 17. I have gone through all the steps, making sure itunes is the latest version, turning off firewall and antivirus software, make sure I had a connection to the store, tried a different cable, tried a different usb port on pc. Not sure what else I have tried, but really everything I have read up on. Nothing works. Would this work… Read more »
Thank you for teaching me a little more about the iphone 5s. I did this lengthy process (DFU restore) and it still did not work. I have replaced the screen in the past, so I may do it again or may take it in somewhere if the price is about the same. Are there any specific name brands of screens that I should use, nothing listed online is technically for iphone, just tells me they are compatible and fit. We replaced this screen about 6-9 months ago. This phone has been in the hands of a teenager so that is… Read more »
Thanks for your question. If you DFU restore your iPhone, all of the data on that iPhone will be erased, but none of the backups stored in iTunes or iCloud will be affected. For instance, if your last backup to iTunes or iCloud was October 29, you will be able to restore from that backup after you restore your iPhone. Everything you’ve done since then would be lost.
Best of luck,
David Payette you are AWESOME! Thank you many times over for saving my iphone – from getting a new battery installed via iResQ (you were right the apple store will NOT replace a battery) to today’s fabulous repair/fix for my speaker. I followed your instructions to a T and viola` it works again! And yes, I had turned bluetooth on just prior to the so called broken speaker. So that’s at least TWICE that you’ve saved my ipatootie. You are AWESOME to say the least!
I cannot do what you suggest because my phone doesn’t appear in iTunes, there’s no reaction to connecting it with the lightning cable to the laptop, and in a wall plug it charges on and off and very slowly.
My iPhone 5 had stopped charging (the mysterious kind, charging lightning showing and so on). I tried all the tricks there is and as a last resort did the DFU restore. At that point iTunes appeared to keeping the phone alive at %1 as long as it was connected. The restore appeared to go fine but when completed and the phone tries to restart it shows the empty battery ( with a little red at the bottom) and now appears to be stuck waiting for the charge that never happens. I don’t understand how there could be a problem with… Read more »
Mine keeps saying error 9 ? I have my laptop fully updated but the cable isnt an apple cable could that be the issue
I had my coat on to get a new IPhone and saw this article. It worked for me! So pleased.
This totally worked. I got my phone back, all my apps, pictures, messages and everything that important. Thanks to this idea.
i need your help my iphone is disable connect to itunes
Does a DFU restore wipe out any new data on the phone?
The battery on my 5s has been horrible and inconsistent lately and this fixed the issue and saved me from having to buy a new phone. Thank you!!
UPDATE: SUCCESS!! Phone back to perfect working condition. This guy is my new best friend.. Btw, I’m paying it forward by teaching others this method…..
Thanks very much all ideas really works
How long does the first step normally take? It says downloading the software for the phone and it has been saying this for 1 hour
For about 3 weeks now my iphone is completely dead. I have tried all possible means, but to now avail. I am completely down.
My iphone 7 started doing the annoying static noise (suddenly). It is about 4 months old and no previous damage whatsoever. I am working on this reset and so far it is working. This is what my orocess did: 1. The iphone screen went black for several minutes and the computer screen said “iphone is being reset” (or something like that) 2. After about 10 minutes the apple came on the screen and computer screen sais “iphone is being restored” 3. Asked to download carrier update 4. Asked for icloud password associated to the iphone 5. Computer screen says “Started… Read more »
Hope you can answer this What do you do if there is NO power left in the phone? All I get when I press the on off button is a battery symbol with a thin red line and a charge cord coming up from the bottom. My old iPhone 5 won’t charge, I’ve followed your tips- cord and charger are good, there was a little gunk in the charging port that I cleaned out with a toothbrush. All to no avail. And I think this phone was jailbreaked… I’d try the DFU restore but the only thing backed up is… Read more »
Thank you so much for the info, worked like a charm!