How to fix an Apple iPhone XR that is stuck on Recovery Mode, cannot restore through iTunes [Troubleshooting Guide]

When your iPhone gets stuck on recovery mode, it could be that something is halting it from connecting to iTunes. The problem could be on your iOS device, with iTunes, or the computer in use. Generally, the underlying causes are attributed to major system errors and data corruption. Such problems can occur to early and new iPhones and the iPhone XR is no exception. To give you some inputs on how to deal with this issue, I’ve mapped out some helpful procedures and generic solutions for you to try on. Read further and learn what to do if ever your iPhone XR gets stuck on recovery mode and can’t restore it through iTunes.

Before you troubleshoot your iOS device, check and ensure that your USB cable and USB ports are working. Otherwise, you need to fix that first. If nothing’s wrong with the USB cable and ports in use, then you can proceed and try performing these workarounds.

But before anything else, if you have another issue with your phone, drop by our troubleshooting page as we have already addressed hundreds of issues reported by the owners. Odds are that there are already existing solutions on our website or at least, there are similar problems we already fixed. So, try to find ones that are similar or related to your problem. If you need further assistance, however, feel free to contact us by filling up our iPhone issues questionnaire.

First solution: Disconnect iPhone from the computer then force restart.

For first instances, it could be just a random glitch on your iOS device. To clear this out, disconnect your iPhone XR from the computer then force restart it with these steps:

  1. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  2. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  3. Then, press and hold the Power button on the side of the phone and then release when the phone restarts.

If your phone managed to reboot, install pending updates and reset all settings. Updating apps can be the key to fixing the problem if rogue apps are to blame. To manually check for and install pending app updates on your iPhone XR, simply refer to these steps:

  1. Tap to open the App Store then scroll down to Updates section.
  2. Navigate through the list of apps with pending updates.
  3. Tap the Update button next to the name of the app.
  4. Or tap the Update All button to install all app updates at once.

Installing the latest iOS update for your iPhone is also recommended. System flaws are usually cleared out by an update thus it is highly recommended to keep your device software up-to-date.

  • To check for new iOS update, go to Settings-> General-> Software Update menu on your iPhone.

If you see an update notification, it means that a new iOS version is up for grabs. Simply follow the onscreen instructions to download and install the new update on your phone.

Aside from installing updates, wiping all customized settings and restoring the default settings and original options on the phone is also recommended. This will fix the problem if invalid settings on the iPhone are to blame. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From your Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and then tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset all settings.
  5. If prompted, enter your passcode to proceed.
  6. Then confirm settings reset.

The phone reboots by itself when the reset is complete and then loads the default options and original configuration.

As soon as your iPhone boots up, connect it to the computer then retry restoring through iTunes.

Second solution: Put your iPhone in recovery mode again.

Failing to restore your iPhone at first doesn’t mean that the next attempt should fail. Thus, it wouldn’t hurt to give it another try. But before you do, remove any other external USB devices from your computer’s USB port except for the keyboard and mouse. Then re-attempt to put your iPhone in recovery mode with these steps:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer using the Apple-supplied USB/Lightning cable.
  2. While it’s connected, press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  3. Then quick press and release the Volume Down button.
  4. Next, press and hold the Side/Power button and continue to hold as it restarts. Don’t release the Side/Power button when the Apple logo appears as you need to put the device in a recovery state.
  5. Release the Side/Power button when you see the Connect to iTunes logo on the screen.
  6. On your computer, navigate to iTunes then you should see a message saying that your connected iOS device is in recovery mode and prompts options to update or restore.
  7. Select the Restore option to wipe everything from the phone system and then restore iOS through iTunes.

Do not disconnect your iPhone from the computer unless the restore process is complete. You will know when it’s done if iTunes prompts a message saying that the restore is finished.

Third solution: DFU Mode restore.

If the prior methods still failed to fix the problem and your still could not restore your iPhone XR through iTunes, then try to put it in DFU mode instead. DFU stands for Device Firmware Update mode, a state in which your iOS device is still able to communicate with iTunes even if the bootloader or iOS is not activated. This method can help if your iPhone software is corrupted. For starters, here’s how to put your iPhone XR in DFU mode and then restore it through iTunes:

  1. Connect your iPhone XR to your computer using the supplied USB cable or Lightning cable that came with it. Once connected, open iTunes on your computer and then continue to the next steps.
  2. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button, then quickly press and release the Volume Down button. Finally, press and hold the Side/Power button until the screen goes black.
  3. As soon as the screen turns black, press and hold the Volume Down button while keep holding down the Side/Power button.
  4. After 5 seconds, release the Side/Power button but keep holding down the Volume Down button until your iPhone XR shows up in iTunes.
  5. Release the Volume Down button as soon as your iPhone appears in iTunes.

Follow the onscreen instructions to restore your iPhone XR in DFU mode using the given commands in iTunes.

Fourth solution: Reboot your computer.

The problem is likely on the computer system if none of the previous methods is able to fix it. You could be dealing with a minor computer glitch, if not, a fatal system error. To rule out minor glitches, rebooting the computer would usually suffice. So if you haven’t already, restart your computer as you normally do and then reconnect your iPhone.

Fifth solution: Restart, update or reinstall iTunes on your computer.

In some cases, a corrupted iTunes program on the computer is the underlying cause of the problem. When this happens, iTunes could no longer be able to work as it should unless it’s restarted, updated, or reinstalled.

With that said, try to restart iTunes on your computer first. If that doesn’t help, then try updating the software. If that doesn’t work either, then delete iTunes then reinstall it on your computer. Doing so should give iTunes a clean fresh start.

Seek more help

If none of these helps, then you can escalate the problem to Apple support for further assistance in performing more advanced solutions. If you suspect that the problem is with iTunes, then you can try using other iOS management system that is compatible with your iPhone XR. You can download any of the highly credible software, install it on your computer, and then use it to restore or manage your iOS device. The setup and restoring commands may vary from software to software but generally they’re all designed to serve the same purpose and that is to repair or restore your iPhone software in a click.

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If you need more help with the use of certain functions and features of the Apple iPhone XR smartphone, feel free to visit our Tutorial Page. There you can find a list of how-to contents, step-by-step tutorials, as well as answers to FAQs regarding iPhone XR. If you have other concerns or encountered some troubles while using the phone, you can reach us through this form. Just be sure to tell us more details of the problem or device issue(s) you may have and we will be more than happy to assist you further.