How To Fix iPad Air 3 stuck On Recovery Mode

One of the most dreaded issues transpiring on various Apple devices is on being stuck on recovery mode. This problem typically occurs when attempting to restore the device in iTunes. When the device is stuck on recovery mode, it will still stuck or couldn’t get past the Connect to iTunes screen. Such problems are oftentimes attributed to major system error but can also denote a hardware issue. Tackled in this post is a relevant problem on the 2019 iPad Air 3 tablet. Read on if you need dealing with the same issue on your iPad Air 3.

To help you rule out software-related factors that might have caused your iPad Air 3 to get stuck on recovery mode, I’ve mapped out some applicable procedures below. You can refer to these solutions should you decide to attempt fixing your iPad Air 3 before setting up a service appointment at the Apple genius bar.

Troubleshooting an iPad Air 3 stuck on recovery mode

These solutions only work if the problem is not attributed to hardware damage since only software-related factors are ruled out in these procedures.

First solution: Force restart your iPad Air 3 that’s stuck on recovery mode

Software errors that stop your device from working are usually dealt with by a soft reset or restart. But since your iPad Air is stuck, performing the usual restart routine won’t be applicable as your device isn’t responding to touches. In this case, performing the simulated battery removal procedure known as forced restart on the iPad Air 3 is needed. It is an alternative way to restart/reboot a frozen iOS device. And here’s how it’s done:

  1. Simultaneously press and hold the Power button and Home button on your iPad Air 3 for a few seconds.
  2. And then release both buttons the Apple logo appears. 

If your iPad managed to get past the recovery mode screen after performing a forced restart, perform the second and third solutions to eliminate the possible triggers and likewise to prevent your iPad from being stuck on the recovery mode screen again. Otherwise, skip to the fourth solution onward.

Second solution: Install pending updates on your iPad Air 3

Again this solution is only applicable if your iPad is able to get past the recovery mode screen after a forced restart. 

One of the possible reasons as to why your iPad Air 3 gets stuck on recovery mode is due to outdated applications and system functions. A device’s performance usually becomes unstable if it isn’t up-to-date. To rule this out, try to check for any pending updates for your apps and iOS then install them. Just refer to these steps:

  1. From the Home screen, tap App Store. Doing so launches the Apple Store app.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the App Store screen then tap on Updates. A list of apps with pending updates will appear.
  3. Navigate to the list of apps and then tap the Update button next to the name of the app to install individual update.
  4. If multiple app updates are available, tap the Update All button on the top-right corner of the screen.

If your iPad can access the Internet and has sufficient power, then you can right away check for updates via OTA (wirelessly). Just follow these steps when ready:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Software update.

A notification containing the update details and system requirements will show up if a new iOS version is up for grabs. Just follow the given instructions to download and install the latest software for your iPad Air.

Alternatively, you can manually check for and download the latest iOS update available for your iPad Air 3 through iTunes. Just follow these steps:

  1. Connect your iPad to the computer using the original USB cable or Lightning cable that came with it.
  2. Open iTunes on your computer and wait for it to detect your iPad.
  3. When your iPad appears in iTunes, click on its icon to select it.
  4. Then click the Summary pane.
  5. Click the button to Check for Update.
  6. If a new update is available, click Download and Update.
  7. Enter your passcode when asked to proceed.

After updating your iPad software, reboot or soft reset your device to implement the recent system changes as well as the entrenched bug fixes. 

ALSO READ: How To Fix iPad Air 3 Wont Pair Or Connect To A Bluetooth Accessory

Third solution: Reset all settings on your iPad Air 3

If your iPad Air 3 gets stuck on recovery mode as you attempted to restore it in recovery mode from a faulty firmware update, and that it was able to boot up normally after performing a forced restart, then you can prevent it from being stuck on recovery mode again by resetting all settings. Doing so will erase all erroneous customization and automatic settings overrides from the recent iOS update that caused system conflicts. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll down and tap on Reset.
  4. Choose Reset all settings from the given options.
  5. Enter your passcode when asked to proceed.
  6. Finally, tap the option to confirm all settings reset.

This reset does not affect any saved data on the internal memory, so there’s no need to back up files beforehand. After the reset, all customized settings including iOS update overrides are deleted while the original values and options are restored. To use necessary features, particularly those that are disabled by default, you will need to re-enable them individually through your iPad settings.

Fourth solution: Connect your iPad to iTunes and follow these steps

Being stuck on recovery mode on the first attempt doesn’t always mean you would end up the same on your next attempt. Having said that, try to put your iPad Air 3 in recovery mode again using the following steps:

  1. If your iPad is turned on, turn it off first.
  2. On your computer, launch or open iTunes. Be sure to use the latest version of iTunes app to avoid system conflicts.
  3. Then connect your iPad to the computer while pressing and holding down the Home button.
  4. Release the Home button when the Connect to iTunes screen appears.
  5. At this point, iTunes should prompt a message saying that it has detected your iPad in recovery mode and will ask you to restore your device. Just click the Restore iPad button to instigate recovery mode restore through iTunes.

The rest of the instructions will follow. Just read and review the onscreen prompts to finish the entire system repair and recovery process. 

Fifth solution: Put your iPad Air 3 in DFU mode and restore iOS

The last possible solution you can try if all the previous methods failed is the so-called DFU or Device Firmware Update mode restore. This puts your iPad Air in a state that’s still able to communicate with iTunes even when the operating system is corrupted. If you are certain that your iPad Air 3 is free from any sort of physical or liquid damage, then you can proceed and resort to this method. But please note that this would erase all your saved data on the iPad storage. If you’re still willing to proceed, then get your computer ready and continue with these steps:

  1. Turn off your iPad if it’s still turned on.
  2. Connect your iPad to the computer using the Apple-supplied USB cable.
  3. While the device is connected, simultaneously press and hold the Home button and Power/Top button for about 8 seconds.
  4. After the elapsed time, release the Power/Top button but continue to hold down the Home button until the screen turns completely black.


  • If the Apple logo appears after releasing the Power/Top button, it means that you’ve held the button for too long. In that case, you’ll have to start all over from the very beginning.
  • If nothing is showing on your iPad screen, then it denotes that the device has successfully entered DFU mode. 

By then you can start restoring and repairing damaged iOS through iTunes. Just follow the onscreen prompts and commands to finish the entire process. Once you’re done restoring the iPad, you can exit DFU mode by performing a forced restart. Afterwards, your iPad should boot up back to its normal state.

Last resort: Use iTunes alternatives to repair  your iPad Air 3 that’s stuck on recovery mode

Third-party apps are primarily aimed at providing alternative solutions to certain issues that could not be handled by built-in applications. If iTunes couldn’t get to resolve the issue and that you still end up with your iPad Air 3 being stuck on recovery mode, then this is when you should consider opting for alternative solutions. You can now choose from a wide variety of third-party iOS repair tools to fix fatal system errors including those depicted by stuck on Apple logo and recovery mode symptoms. Surfacing among the leading brands when it comes to the most power iOS system repair and recovery software for new iOS devices are ReiBoot-iOS system recovery software, FoneDog iOS System Recovery, Joyoshare UltFix iOS System Recovery, Dr. Fone Repair, FonePaw iOS System Recovery and PhoneRescue for iOS, to name a few.

Just choose the tool that’s compatible with your computer and iOS device. Once you found your choice, download and install it on your computer. Once you have the software ready, connect your iPad Air 3 to the computer via USB cable/Lightning cable just like what you do when using iTunes. Wait for the software to recognize and sync with your iPad and once they synced, you can start repairing and restoring iOS using the given commands or controls. Please note that some of these tools may erase internal data and information stored on your iPad storage. Hence, if possible, create a backup of all important files from your iPad to a dedicated folder or directory on your computer. Doing so will let you recover the files and use them again after your iPad is fixed and restored.

ALSO READ: How To Fix Apple iPad Air 3 iMessage Not Working

Is your iPad Air 3 still stuck on recovery mode

Perhaps the problem is too complex that it couldn’t be dealt with by any of the aforementioned procedures. Having said that, it needs more advanced solutions. For further assistance, you may escalate the problem to Apple Support so that they can walk you through a more advanced troubleshooting. Otherwise, visit the nearest Apple genius bar in your area and ask an authorized technician to check and repair your iPad for you instead.

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