iPhone DFU mode explained, and how to enter DFU mode on your iPhone

Jun 24, 2010 - 111 Comments

What is iPhone DFU mode?

DFU mode is a state that you can put your iPhone into where it can interface with iTunes but does not load the iPhone operating system or boot loader (this is what really differs DFU mode from recovery mode). DFU stands for Device Firmware Update.

What is DFU mode used for?

The primary reason people need to access DFU mode on their iPhone is to change the firmware on the device. This can serve to downgrade to a prior iPhone firmware and operating system, or to use a custom firmware that is required for a jailbreak or SIM unlock. For instance, if you got the iPhone OS 4 download installed and decided you would rather have a prior version of the firmware on your iPhone, you would need to do this through DFU mode.

How to enter iPhone DFU mode

  • Connect the iPhone to your computer and launch iTunes
  • Turn the iPhone off (hold down the power button at the top of the iPhone)
  • Hold down the sleep/power button and home button together for exactly 10 seconds, then release the power button
  • Continue to hold down the Home button until a message appears in iTunes telling you an iPhone in recover mode has been detected
  • iphone itunes dfu mode

  • When you are in DFU mode your iPhone screen will be completely black

iphone dfu mode Even though the screen is black, that doesn’t mean the device can’t be interfaced with either iTunes or a custom firmware client (for jailbreaking, etc).

Remember that if you see the restore logo, iTunes logo, or any message on the iPhone screen, you are not in DFU mode but standard Recovery Mode. Again, DFU mode is signified by having a completely black screen on the device. If anything else is the case, repeat the steps above until you enter into DFU mode successfully.

Exit DFU mode on iPhone

The simplest way to exit out of DFU mode is to hold down the Home and sleep/power buttons on the iPhone while connected to iTunes. Then just hit the power button as and this should reboot the device as usual.

And if you’re curious, yes this works all the same on an iPod touch.

The most common use for DFU mode is to jailbreak. It’s not unusual for people to buy an existing iPhone and jailbreak the device to use the phone on another network or overseas, this is often a cheaper way to get an iPhone than to sign into a contract with AT&T, pay roaming charges, or pay the full iPhone 4 price. This is assuming you can find someone with the new iPhone that will sell it, considering how tight iPhone 4 availability and demand is at the moment, that might be difficult!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks

111 Comments

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  1. Corey says:

    so when itunes pops up with that message your in dfu mode ? if so when ever i try to downgrade firmware it wont let me not compatible

  2. Stevep says:

    This worked great for my 3G, thanks. Lost all my contacts, email and music – need to figure something out. Can you downgrade iTunes?

  3. […] F’d Up" Here’s a link about how to get into DFU Mode if you need it. http://osxdaily.com/2010/06/24/iphon…n-your-iphone/ I’m going to wait a bit before trying […]

  4. iphone breaker says:

    I cant choose my downloaded firmware files in latest iTUNes!?

    I am in DFU mode but when clicking on “shift” + “restore” it just tries to download the firmware files… where’s my problem?

    • Linden says:

      i gues ur not doing it right lol make sure u have downloaded the latest version of itunes, and go to download a choice of firmware http://osxdaily.com/2010/10/25/download-iphone-firmware-ipsw/ and make sure tht u knw what folder uve downloaded it into, then hold shift as u press restore, and then click on the file u have downloaded and click open, should work, did for me

    • Helper says:

      You need to hold Shift+Alt+click restore.

      • Vrock says:

        Helper,
        I need REAL help. If you can help me, great. If you can’t please tell me the truth. My iphone 4 is stuck in recovery mode. I cannot lose the photos and videos I have, because some pics are of people who are passed away now. Some photos are of my children on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Precious media that I can’t just restore through iTunes and lose. I tried tinyumbrella, exit recovery mode and fix recovery. I’m doing something wrong. I am a novice, no tech expert at all. Please help, if you can :)

        • Phonefixer says:

          If your phone is in recovery mode, you have already lost everything on the phone. You must rely on your latest backup created when you last sync’d your phone…you did sync your phone didn’t you?

          • luke says:

            haa ayour so stupid, and your called phonefixer.

            just hold the home and power button for 10 seconds and it loads up like normal without losing anything.

            phonefixer is just an idiot.

        • Jake says:

          Just hold home and power button down for a minute and it will turn on!

        • alberto says:

          when u restore it after restoring it, it will give u an option if u want to sync the things that were on ur phone again or leave it as a new phone

        • dave says:

          I symphasize as my wife accidentally put her phobe intoi nthe same state and 2 people at the local Apple store and 1 consultant they called say there is no way to save what is on the phone in that state put if you have done a backup you can use that to get your stuff back. Fortunately, my wife has a backup a year ago so she only looses all the granddaughter pics and vido form the last year etc., but that is a lot.

          Luke’s idea does not work at all at in this state, as the screen will just revert back to the icon showing a wire connection for restore. The store personnel think that the only possible way to avoid major data loss is to seek a 3rd party solution from someone outside of Apple mwho may have found a solution. I’ll be checking online and at locale multi-brand repair shops.

          Anyone found a solution yet/

          • edward says:

            Not true. home and power button down for 10 seconds has been always working for me. There is NO data loss after coming back from DFU mode, as long as you don’t proceed to restore firmware from itunes.

    • Jeff says:

      If Apple ain’t signing the FW anymore. you cannot downgrade without TINY UMBRELLA and your saved SHSH’s. Period

    • hugo says:

      given error 3194 when start restoring
      what can i do???????

      • Veerapathiran says:

        Hi frnd,
        1)U can use Tinyumberella –> start ssl server, then go to itune restore it will work.
        2) Turn off firewall
        3) press & hold home button then connect to itunes it will work.

  5. […] iPhone DFU mode has been explained for those who are looking to carrier unlock and jailbreak […]

  6. […] the directions, put your iPhone into DFU mode by holding the Home and Power buttons together for 10 seconds, then release the power button and […]

  7. […] iPad or other iOS device. Getting into DFU mode on an iPad is the same process as entering into iPhone DFU mode (or iPod touch for that matter). It’s pretty easy, just follow the instructions […]

  8. […] the iPhone/iPad/iPod into DFU mode by turning the phone off and then holding down the sleep and power button for 10 seconds, then […]

  9. natasha says:

    that didn’t work

  10. […] an iPod Nano jailbreak, this time they’ve managed to get the iPod Nano into what may be DFU mode (visible in the screenshot above). Once in this mode, Steven Troughton-Smith discovered that by […]

  11. […] Recovery Mode is different than DFU mode because DFU mode bypasses the bootloader which allows for things like downgrading firmware. You can […]

  12. Sahara says:

    Been tryn for 4 days to unlock phn 3G after I upgraded it. Cant seem to get anything to work. Any suggestions? Anyone?

  13. […] stands for Device Firmware Update, and Apple TV 2 has DFU mode like the iPhone does. This allows you to tweak and install firmware and is necessary for some of the hacks […]

  14. louise says:

    i have an iphone 3gs 16gb i replaced my screen and now my hone wont load up, all i get is the apple logo with the little spinning thing. i have put it into DFU mode and tried to restore it but all i get is ‘the iphone could not restore due to an error’
    i have put it into recovery mode when you get the little message up on your phone saying plug into itunes, i do that but still get a error message

    could someone help me please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • zeesha says:

      I have this exact same problem after fixing my screen !! looked everywhere and tried everything but nothing seems to work! Did you ever find a way to fix it?

  15. […] iOS device should now be in DFU mode and it is ready for the […]

  16. Just me says:

    Have a 2.10.04 baseband Iphone! Need unlock. Got tired of waiting. Could I downgrade it to an unlockable version???

    How?

  17. dustin says:

    Hi, my iphone is on the ” connect to itunes” screen when i tired to restore it. it gave me an error 1015. I can’t seem to put it in dfu mode. any suggestions?

    • Erik says:

      I had the same problem and i have an Iphone 3G on 4.2.1
      Download the latest version of Redsn0w 0.6.9bc16. and Type in on youtube how to get out of 1015 error. Click Ianburnz or something like that. Watch The video and that helped get through this, (BTW. Two versions. Mac and Windows Version Are Available.

  18. rensim_3112 says:

    while i was playing a game my iphone 4 screen went blue then went black then there’s no apple logo even if i click the home and sleep button. What do i need to do? please help.

  19. […] OS X Daily explained, DFU (Device Firmware Update) mode is a means to getting your iPhone to interface with iTunes […]

  20. […] OS X Daily explained, DFU (Device Firmware Update mode is a means to getting your iPhone to interface with iTunes […]

  21. LustyTgKimmy says:

    Thx to Dev and the team. 1st you help Jailbreak my 3GS now it’s turn to jailbreak my iPhone4:)

  22. K says:

    So I have tried to jailbreak my iPhone with the iOS 4.3.3, and while trying to go into DFU mode, that itunes message popped up, so I decided to restore it because I was simply unsure of what had happened.

    Any tips?
    Is that supposed to happen while in DFU mode?

  23. […] the iPhone/iPad/iPod into DFU mode by turning the phone off and then holding down the sleep and power button for 10 seconds, then […]

  24. […] has even been plugged in. Any ideas? Put it on DFU mode. Follow the steps in the link below: iPhone DFU mode explained, and how to enter DFU mode on your iPhone Reply With […]

  25. Dax says:

    Hi

    I am using

    iPhone4
    Carrier: Globe 10.0
    Modern Firmware: 04.10.01
    Version: 4.3.3(8J2)
    Bootloader: ICE_2_13

    According to f0recast:
    Jailbreakable?: YES(with redsn0w)
    Unlockable: NO

    I already tried [redsn0w 0.9rc16] but Cydia always gets stuck. I tried rebooting the iPhone but to no avail. I also tried going thru the steps of jailbreaking the phone but the results are the same.

    PLEASE HELP! Thanks!

    • M says:

      What are you trying to do? Jailbreak or enter DFU mode? If you want to jailbreak iOS 4.3.3, use jailbreakme.com

      • Dax says:

        I already jailbreak it, the problem is, cydia would get stuck (preparing filesystem) then after 5 secs, the pineapple logo would appear and nothing happened.

  26. Leechip says:

    HELP!!!
    I jailbroke my 3GS but now it’s stuck in recovery mode and telling me to plug into iTunes to restore…. Which I do so but it goes so far and tells me the firmware is no compatible (apples) and f… me off?? Argggh
    Can it be sorted if so what do I do??

  27. Anh D says:

    Thanks so much, It worked for my iPhone 4 .
    I lost e days to fixed my new iPhone which my friend use his developer account to set it up. but I could not connect to my iTunes 10.4. Your advice helps me a lot to downgrade and get out of recovery mode.
    Regards,
    Anh D

  28. […] DFU” option to quickly enter into DFU mode without the button […]

  29. surinder says:

    hey when i put my iphone 4 to dfu mode and try to downgrade it an error occurs and after that it automatically comes out of the dfu mode not allowing me to downgrade it …. pls help.. it happens while even jail breaking it… my firmware is 4.3.5

  30. surinder says:

    hey when i put my iphone 4 to dfu mode and try to downgrade it an error occurs and after that it automatically comes out of the dfu mode means the recovery mode, not allowing me to downgrade it …. pls help.. it happens while even jail breaking it… my firmware is 4.3.5

  31. Bob says:

    I have the oldest iPhone, and installed Dreamboard, but it didn’t work, so I decided to un-install it. But when I pressed restart springboard, it didn’t ever re-spring, it just sat there with the little twirly circle. It showed up in iTunes but I didn’t know I could turn it off. So I unplugged it and tried turning it off. It worked. So I plugged it back in, and it turned on, but it got frozen with the little wheel again, and won’t show up in iTunes, so I can’t restore it. Any help?

  32. Bob says:

    Nevermind, fixed the problem.

  33. southeasterngirl says:

    THANK YOU!! this worked for me!

  34. […] As OS X Daily explained, DFU (Device Firmware Update) mode is a means to getting your iPhone to interface with iTunes without iTunes automatically loading the latest version of iOS onto it (it skips the iBoot bootloader, for jailbreak aficionados). Differing from recovery mode — where iTunes restores your iPhone to its original factory settings but with the latest iOS and firmware – DFU mode allows you to change and choose the firmware you want to install onto your iPhone. For instance, you would use DFU mode if you want to install a previous version of iOS, jailbreak your iPhone or unlock your SIM. If (for whatever reason) standard recovery isn’t working for you to get your device back to working condition, DFU may help you out. […]

  35. […] iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch?” and worked my way through the instructions, including the DFU mode stuff. I kept trying updates…and […]

  36. […] many instances of this besides Siri. Has she tried putting the phone into recovery or DFU mode? iPhone DFU mode explained, and how to enter DFU mode on your iPhone I think recovery mode is iPhone and iPod touch: Unable to update or restore. I don't know all […]

  37. ravish says:

    hi, i want to jailbreak my ipod touch 3g, and have already read most of the forums,tips and tricks online. my current ios is 4.3.5,it seems i have to downgrade to 4.3.3 in order to use a untethered jailbreak. my main question is: do i have to make a backup of my shsh blobs files? if so, which version of tinyumbrella do you guys prefer?

  38. […] DFU mode by holding down the Sleep/Power button and home button together for exactly 10 seconds, then […]

  39. amir says:

    guys
    i cannot get my ipod 3g into dfu mode whatever man times i tried
    i tied to turn off and press home and power for 10 sec then home only for another 20 sec and also i tried press on home and powr while the ipod is on and it always give the same result
    it dont get in dfu mode, just the screen turn off for 3 sec then boot again so normal with this apple logo
    its all happened after i update the ios 5 before it was working find now i am stuck with this ios5 i cannot jailbreak or downgrade
    may be apple disabled dfu mode for some devices???
    because during my searc on google i found dozen of people complain of the same thing
    any help??!!!

  40. […] Follow the onscreen instructions to put the iPad into DFU mode […]

  41. vikas says:

    i have iphone 3gs.. firstly i updated ios 5 nd den it shows iphone image nd slide to configure nd den after sliding steps at last it shows “connect to itunes”… help plsss… wana got out of dis problem

  42. Kriti says:

    Thank you so much!! :)

  43. […] open up your jailbreak application of choice (e.g. redsn0w or limera1n), put your device into DFU mode, and tell the jailbreak app to boot tethered. This process takes about half the time it takes to […]

  44. Sceptic says:

    This aint DFU this is recovery mode!!! :(

  45. […] Information on DFU mode: iPhone DFU mode explained, and how to enter DFU mode on your iPhone […]

  46. […] the iOS device into DFU mode by holding down the power button for 3 seconds, then start holding the Home button as well for an […]

  47. […] your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch into DFU mode: Hold the power button for 3 seconds, continue holding Power button and additionally hold the Home […]

  48. david says:

    THANKS A LOT MAN !! it worked

  49. […] Put the iPhone/iPad/iPod into DFU mode by turning the phone off and then holding down the sleep and power button for 10 seconds, then […]

  50. hugo says:

    i HAVE PROBLEM WHEN START RESTORING GIVEN “ERROR 3194″

    HOW CAN I RESTORE IT???????

  51. […] reset or something to try The DFU method should work. Follow this for getting into DFU mode: iPhone DFU mode explained, and how to enter DFU mode on your iPhone You should then be able to hook it up to your computer and reset/repair with iTunes. […]

  52. […] mode” that lets you boot the iPhone without booting the OS.  You can read more about it here.  I put the battery back in and could NOT boot to DFU […]

  53. shalev says:

    thanks!!!!

  54. Justin says:

    ok i jailbroke my iphone 3gs now cydia wont load its just a whitebox on my menu screen what do i do now….

  55. hanna says:

    my sleep button has not been working!! is there anyway to get around this and enter DFU mode?

  56. felixx says:

    works perfectly in my ip4 ios5 4.11.08,now im trying to unlock my ip4.:)) tnx!

  57. felixx says:

    works perfectly in my ip4 ios5 4.11.08,now im trying to unlock my ip4.:)) tnx!

  58. Keke says:

    My iphone won’t turn on or charge.
    when i plug it in the charger the screen is black
    when i plug it into the computer it doesent recongnize it at all or telll me its in recovery mode.
    what to do ?

  59. […] your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch into DFU mode (aka little apple on-screen): Hold the power button for 3 seconds, continue holding Power button […]

  60. Will says:

    Will jailbreaking solve a problem with the “slide to power on” switch refusing to slide on? Mine goes halfway and then back to the left. I’ve tried holding down the two buttons for 10 seconds while connected to iTunes but to no avail. Any clues, or is this a logic board fault?

  61. […] iPhone 4 & 3GS, iPod touch 3rd and 4th gen, and iPad 1, put the device into DFU mode: hold Power button for 3 seconds, continue holding Power and now hold the Home button for 5 […]

  62. gheeps says:

    hi my iphone 3gs was jailbroke b4 i bought it , but i was unaware of this. i updated software to 5.1.1 then when i try to activate it says insert a sim to activte phone…. i have a sim in tho. i cant seem to get past this & tried bout everything, im now trying to jailbreake again & its now telling me to activate mh phone. can any1 help pls .

  63. […] the iOS device into DFU mode: with the device off, hold down the Power and Home buttons together for 10 seconds then release the […]

  64. Nick says:

    YO PEEPS! If your like me and you dont want iOS 6.1 beta anymore, all you have to do is hook your iPhone into your computer, download the 5.1.1 FW version, then make your iPhone go into DFU mode, then go into Itunes, click on your iphone icon in itunes, hold shift and alt and then click restore then a window will come up, from there select the 5.1.1 FW and then click open. Your iPhone will now be restoring to the 5.1.1 FW and once your iPhone boots up, your all good! Hope this helped. :)

  65. zahra says:

    hi i restor my iphon and appear in my iphon cabl and ituns what can i do?

  66. Srini R says:

    This worked great for me. My 3G iphone was stuck on Apple Logo and I couldn’t get into recovery mode at all until I read this page. Holding the power and home buttons for 10 seconds and then releasing the power button did the trick for me finally.

  67. Andrew says:

    Ive tried to follow these steps, but they do not work. The phone is connected to the computer, iTunes is up, the phone is turned off. I press both buttons as described and immediately the phone powers on.

    I need to revert to iOS5 because iOS6 does not allow me to make or receive phone calls. I am on iPhone 4S, non-jail broken thru Sprint. I have full signal and all messages and internet abilities work on the phone, calls are immediately dropped for no reason since this update.

  68. […] “Jailbreak” , check the box to install Cydia, and enter into DFU mode when requested by holding Power for 3 seconds, continue holding Power while simultaneously holding […]

  69. Hoyt Gangemi says:

    there’s no way to downgrade your baseband in any way
    you can update to 6.15.00 if yours is made before week 28 of 2011

  70. sam says:

    just press home button + corner button then u wll get out of DFU mode

  71. bayo says:

    can i downgrade my phone without entering into dfu mode, wud appreciate a reply, thanks

  72. […] firmware. iTunes should take over. If you have any problems you might need to put your device in DFU or PWN DFU mode […]

  73. Taylor says:

    THANK YOU! After multiple error messages and about 20 attempts to go into DFU my iPhone finally got out of recovery mode and restored. I was convinced it wasn’t going to work after many failed attempts but persistence did the trick!

  74. Kai says:

    Thank you :) got my iphone work again!

  75. Cory says:

    I entered dfu mode on redsnow but it keeps saying no device recognized and I tried using evasion and when I plug in my iPhone nothing happens. I’m beginning to think my phone is messed up

  76. Livi says:

    My iphone is in recovery mode when i connect it to itunes it says “iphone in recovery mode detected”and then after it says “extracting software” when it gets to the end of that it says “iphone can not be restored because it cant be found” HELPPPPPPPP???

  77. Amber says:

    What if I already restore it ? does DFU mode still working ?

  78. FayeFury says:

    !!!!!!!!!BIG TIP!!!!!!! If anyone was having my problem where the USB port says undectable and of course it won’t work with your jailbreaking program just unplug and replug the USB and run the program like usual and it will detect it. I put mine in DFU mode like the instructions say above and then unplugged and replugged it and then ran my greenposion program it recogonized it and past right threw. you do not have to do the instruction part of the program if it is already in DFU mode the counter instruction part thingy will just skip right away and will recogonize that it is in DFU mode btw :3

    i was using an IPOD 2g 8gb running on IOS 4.2.1 :D

  79. As of today, I just followed the instructions and got my locked IPhone 4s working again!

    This guide is working 100%! :)

  80. RichG says:

    Worked Perfectly. Thanks!!!

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