How to put an iPhone in DFU mode [Basic Tutorial]

Still new to the iOS platform and wondering what a DFU mode is and how to put your iPhone in this state? If that is so, then this post is for you. Keep reading to learn how to put an iPhone in DFU mode, what DFU mode is, how it works, and when to use it.

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What is DFU mode and how it works?

Device Firmware Update or DFU Mode is an iOS state that allows a flawed device to communicate with iTunes but does not activate the boot loader or operating system. It is often deemed among the advanced solutions to major system issues that cause recurring symptoms that could not be remedied by the usual troubleshooting procedures. While in DFU mode, you can update iOS or modify the firmware on your device. Even a bricked or malfunctioning iPhone (damaged iOS from faulty or incomplete updating) has a chance of being repaired in a DFU state. Some people uses DFU mode to downgrade an iPhone firmware and operating system, especially if a new iOS update ruined the device operations. Another use of DFU mode is for jailbreaking or installing custom firmware for SIM unlock. All these comprised the benefits of performing a DFU mode restore.

The steps in performing a DFU mode restore vary depending on the device model and operating system it’s running on. To help you do the right thing, I’ve demonstrated the steps on how to enter DFU mode on new and old iPhones. Read on to learn more.

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Entering an iPhone’s DFU state

To get started, you will need to use a Windows or Mac computer and the original USB cable/Lightning cable to connect your iPhone to the computer. To avoid system conflicts, the computer must be running on a compatible operating system with your iPhone’s iOS and must also have the latest version of iTunes app installed. Once all these requirements are met, you can proceed with these subsequent steps to put your iPhone in DFU mode.

Steps to enter DFU mode in early iPhones

If you’re using an iPhone 6s or earlier models, follow these steps to put it in DFU mode:

  1. Connect your iPhone to the computer using the original USB cable or Lightning cable.
  2. Then launch iTunes on the computer.
  3. If your iPhone is turned on, turn it off as you normally do.
  4. While your iPhone is turned off, press and hold down the Power (Sleep/Wake) and Home buttons simultaneously for about 8 seconds.
  5. After the elapsed time, release the Power (Sleep/Wake) button but keep holding down the Home button until you see the iTunes message saying that it has detected an iPhone in recovery mode…
  6. If you see that message, release the Home button.  

A few moments then, you should see that your iPhone screen becomes completely black. That means you have successfully entered DFU mode. If the screen doesn’t turned completely black or it shows some texts or logos, then that means you haven’t entered DFU mode and so you need to try again from the start. Once your iPhone is in DFU mode, you can proceed with iOS restore using iTunes commands.

If you’re using an iPhone 7, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your iPhone to the computer using the original USB cable or Lightning cable.
  2. Then launch iTunes on the computer.
  3. If your iPhone is turned on, turn it off as you normally do.
  4. While your iPhone is turned off, press and hold down the Power (Sleep/Wake) and Volume Down buttons simultaneously for about 8 seconds.
  5. After the elapsed time, release the Power (Sleep/Wake) button but keep holding down the Volume Down button until iTunes prompts a message this message: “iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode.”
  6. If you see that message, release the Volume Down button.

You should then see that your iPhone screen becomes completely black. That means you have successfully entered DFU mode. If the screen doesn’t turn completely black or it shows some texts or logos, it means that you have to start from the very first step because you failed to enter DFU mode. Once your iPhone is in DFU mode, you can start restoring iOS using iTunes commands.

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Steps to enter DFU mode in new iPhones

If you’re using an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X and later models, entering DFU mode is carried out with these steps:

  1. Connect your iPhone to the computer using the original USB cable or Lightning cable.
  2. Then launch iTunes on the computer.
  3. If your iPhone is turned on, turn it off as you normally do.
  4. While your iPhone is turned off, quickly press and release the Volume Up button then quickly press and release the Volume Down button and finally, press and hold the Side/Power button until the screen turns black.
  5. As soon as your iPhone screen turns black, press and hold the Volume Down button while you keep pressing the Side/Power button.
  6. After 5 seconds, let go of the Side/Power button but keep pressing the Volume Down button until your iPhone appears in iTunes.
  7. When you see your iPhone in iTunes, let go of the Volume Down button. At this point, your iPhone is already running in DFU mode and is all set for updating, downgrading, or restoring through iTunes.

If you see the Apple logo on the screen after releasing the Volume Down button, it means that you’ve held down the Volume Down button for too long. In that case, you need to start over from the very beginning and try entering DFU mode again.

When to use the DFU mode?

A DFU mode restore is often carried out by Apple technicians when fixing major system issues or when your iPhone is troubled by recurring symptoms that are attributed to fatal system errors. However, performing a DFU mode restore is not recommended if your iPhone has liquid damage as it could halt or prevent the DFU restore process to complete. When restoring your iPhone in DFU mode, the computer will erase and reload every line of code that controls both the software and hardware system of your device. To avoid facing more serious issues, the DFU mode restore should be completed or must not be interrupted.

And if the DFU restore isn’t completed, you could end up having a totally malfunctioned or bricked iPhone. In short, there is a chance for your iPhone to become completely unusable.

If you suspect that water damage is present on your device, then better take it to the nearest Apple Genius bar and have a technician scrutinize your device and repair any damaged component found.

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