How to put your iPhone or iPad in DFU mode to fix it as a last resort

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How to put your iPhone or iPad in DFU mode to fix it as a last resort
If your iPhone or iPad's technical issues aren't solved from a reset or restore, you can try using DFU mode. MosayMay/Shutterstock
  • DFU mode is a way to recover your iPhone or iPad using a computer.
  • To put an iPhone or iPad into DFU mode, you'll need to use either iTunes or Finder.
  • DFU mode works differently on iPhones and iPads with Face ID, compared to older models.
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Your iPhone or iPad can sometimes run into technical issues, requiring the device to be reset or restored.

However, if it can't be recovered through its settings, this can complicate efforts and require the use of iTunes or Finder to restore the device's operating system and firmware.

Here's how you can use DFU mode and a computer to restore your iPhone or iPad when it cannot recover itself.

What is DFU mode?

Device Firmware Update mode - or DFU mode for short - is a state that an iPhone or iPad can be put in to get your device back into working order.

DFU mode is similar to the BIOS on Windows computers or Recovery Mode on a Mac. It exists "below" the operating system level - iOS - but can still communicate with iTunes or Finder on a Windows or Mac computer.

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In DFU mode, your iOS device is accessible to iTunes or Finder at a more privileged level. This allows for more to be changed than normal. However, going into DFU mode on its own does not change anything on the iPhone or iPad.

Quick tip: DFU mode can be useful for installing older versions of iOS if a beta release does not allow you to install an update.

Put an iPhone or iPad in DFU mode

To put an iPhone or iPad into DFU mode, follow the instructions based on which model you have.

iPhone or iPad with Face ID

How to put your iPhone or iPad in DFU mode to fix it as a last resort
iPhones X generation or later and iPads 11 Pro generation or later support Face ID. Apple

1. Turn off your iPhone or iPad and plug it into your Mac or Windows computer.

2. Make sure that iTunes or Finder are running.

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Important: Macs running macOS Catalina and later will use Finder. PCs and Macs running macOS Mojave or earlier will need iTunes.

3. Press and hold the side button on your device for three seconds.

4. While continuing to hold the side button, press and hold volume down. Hold both buttons for 10 seconds.

5. Release the side button but continue holding volume down for another five seconds.

6. Release volume down. If the screen is illuminated but blank, your iPhone has now entered DFU mode.

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To exit DFU mode, quickly press the Volume Up button, then quickly press the Volume Down button, then hold down the Side button until the device reboots.

Note: This process is also the same for putting an iPhone 8 into and out of DFU mode.

iPhone 7

How to put your iPhone or iPad in DFU mode to fix it as a last resort
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Pro have a different process for entering and exiting DFU mode than other iPhone models. Apple

1. Turn off your iPhone and plug it into your Mac or Windows computer.

2. Make sure that iTunes or Finder are running.

3. Press and hold the side button of your iPhone for three seconds.

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4. While continuing to hold the side button, press and hold down the Home button. Hold both buttons for 10 seconds.

5. Release both buttons. If the screen is illuminated but blank, your iPhone has now entered DFU mode.

To exit DFU mode, hold down the Side button and Volume Down button until the device reboots.

iPhone 6s or earlier

How to put your iPhone or iPad in DFU mode to fix it as a last resort
To enter DFU mode on iPhones generation 6S or earlier, you'll use the Home and side buttons. Apple

1. Turn off your iPhone and plug it into your Mac or Windows computer.

2. Make sure that iTunes or Finder are running.

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3. Press and hold the side button of your iPhone for three seconds.

4. While continuing to hold the side button, press and hold down the Home button. Hold both buttons for 10 seconds.

5. Release the side button but continue holding down the Home button for an additional five seconds.

6. Release the Home button. If the screen is illuminated but blank, your iPhone has now entered DFU mode.

To exit DFU mode, hold the Home button and the Lock button until the device reboots.

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