iPhone DFU Mode: What It Is and How To Use It

Make small changes to iOS with this special mode

iPhone DFU Mode

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You can solve many problems with the iPhone with something relatively simple such as a restart. More challenging issues may need a more comprehensive approach, called DFU Mode.

Instructions in this article apply to any iOS device, which includes the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

What Is DFU Mode?

The iPhone Device Firmware Update (DFU) Mode makes low-level changes to the software running the device. While it is related to ​Recovery Mode, it's more comprehensive, and you can use it to solve more difficult problems.​​​​

When an iOS device is in DFU mode, the device is powered on but hasn't booted up the operating system. As a result, you can make changes to the operating system because it's not running yet.

When to Use DFU Mode on iPhone

For most ordinary uses of the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, you won't need DFU Mode. Recovery Mode is usually the only thing you'll need. If the device is stuck in a loop after updating the operating system or has data so corrupted that it won't run properly, Recovery Mode is your first step. Under most circumstances, use iPhone DFU Mode to:

Putting the device into DFU Mode may be necessary to fix some situations, but it's important to remember that it's potentially dangerous. Using DFU Mode to downgrade the OS or jailbreak the device can damage it and violate the warranty.

If you plan to use DFU Mode, do it at your own risk — you assume responsibility for any adverse results.

How to Enter DFU Mode on iPhone

Putting a device into DFU mode is similar to Recovery Mode. Here's what to do:

  1. Connect the iPhone or another iOS device to a computer, then open iTunes.

  2. Hold the Sleep/Power button (located on top of the device) to display a slider, then drag the slider to the right to turn off the device.

    If the device won't turn off, continue to hold the Power button and Home button after the slider appears. Eventually, the device will turn off. Release the buttons when the device powers down.

  3. With the device off, hold the Sleep/Power button and Home button at the same time.

    If you have an iPhone 7 or newer, hold the Sleep/Power button and the Volume down button, not the Home button.

  4. Hold these buttons for 10 seconds.

    If you hold too long, the device goes into Recovery Mode instead of DFU mode. The Apple logo appears when the device goes into Recovery Mode.

  5. Release the Sleep/Power button, but continue to hold the Home Button (or Volume down button on an iPhone 7 or newer) for 5 seconds.

    If the iTunes logo and message appear, you held the button for too long and need to start again.

  6. If the device screen is black, it's in DFU Mode. If iTunes recognizes that the iPhone is connected, you're ready to proceed.

  7. If you see any icons or text on the device screen, it's not in DFU Mode and you'll need to start again.

How to Exit DFU Mode on iPhone

To exit iPhone DFU Mode, turn off the device. Hold the Sleep/Power button until the slider appears, then move the slider. Or, if you hold the Sleep/Power and Home (or Volume down) buttons longer, the device turns off, and the screen goes dark.