Tried everything to get your iPhone, iPad, or iPod working again with no results? If your device is stuck on a blank screen, the Apple logo, malfunctioning, or even seems bricked, using DFU mode might be your last DYI option.
DFU (Device Firmware Upgrade) doesn’t load the operating system directly from your device but instead allows you to interact with the device using iTunes or Finder. For that reason, DFU Mode allows all devices to be restored even when iOS or iPadOS won’t boot on the device itself.
And that’s why DFU mode is a great last stop for non-functioning or malfunctioning iPhones, iPads, and iPods.
Using DFU mode completely erases your device and that means you will lose all your device’s data. So if you don’t have a backup made via iCloud, iTunes, or Finder you are out of luck. You cannot restore your data after initiating DFU mode.
So if you haven’t tried Recovery Mode, we recommend performing that first before trying DFU.
- iOS: Everything about DFU and Recovery Mode
- Stuck in a boot loop? iPhone or iPad keeps resetting after iOS or iPadOS update
- Use Recovery Mode to fix your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
- How-To Use DFU Mode on Your iPhone (models 8 and above)
- How to put your Apple TV into DFU mode
How to perform a DFU restore on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
- Check for any updates to iTunes or Finder (via macOS updates)
- Backup your phone and preserve data if possible
- If iTunes is already open on your computer, close it
- Power on your device
- Connect your device to your computer
- Once connected, open iTunes or Finder
- For iPhone 8+ and iPad with no home button: press the Volume Up button, then immediately press the Volume Down button and finally press and hold the Side/Top button until your iPhone or iPads display turns black
- Once the screen goes black, release the Side/Top button
- Immediately press the Side/Top button and Volume Down button for 5 seconds
- After 5 seconds, release just the Side/Top button and continue pressing the Volume Down button
- Wait for your computer to recognize your iPhone or iPad for iTunes/Finder to recognize your device is in DFU mode
- Check that your screen remains black–if not, repeat the steps again. Your device is not in DFU mode
- If you successfully entered the DFU Mode on your device, you see a message that “iTunes/Finder has detected an iPhone in recovery mode. You must restore this iPhone before it can be used with iTunes/Finder.”
- Press OK
- If you do not see this message, repeat these steps
- If your device shows anything other than a black screen, you are not in DFU Mode. Please run through these steps again
- Open iTunes/Finder on your computer
- Connect your computer and your iDevice
- Press and hold the Power Button for 3 seconds
- Continue holding the power button and now press and hold the home button
- For iPhone 7 models, hold the volume down button for 10 seconds
- The device’s screen should remain blank/black throughout this process. If you see the “Connect to iTunes/Finder” message, your iPhone is in recovery mode. Restart the process
- Release the power button but continue to hold the home button for 5 seconds
- For iPhone 7 models, continue to hold the volume down button for 5 seconds
- Again, if your phone displays the “Plug into iTunes/Finder” screen, you’ve held down too long and need to repeat these steps
- If your device’s screen remains blank/black, a dialog appears in iTunes/Finder saying it’s “detected an iPhone in recovery mode. You must restore this iPhone before it can be used with iTunes/Finder.”
- Press OK
- Follow the on-screen steps to Restore your device
- If your iDevice shows ANY OTHER messages, Apple logos, or is not showing a black or blank screen, it indicates that your iDevice is not in DFU mode. Repeat the steps
Reconnect your backup to your device
If DFU was successful, you can now link back to your iCloud or iTunes/Finder backup to restore your data. Or you can set it up as new. Your choice!
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the original editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.