How to Enter DFU Mode on iPad Air (2020 Model)

Jan 22, 2021 - Leave a Comment

How to Enter DFU Mode on iPad Air (2020 Model)

If you have a new iPad Air model (2020 or later), you might be wondering how you can enter and exit DFU mode on the device, typically for troubleshooting purposes. This has changed as the new iPad Air no longer has a Home button, making it more closely match the Pro series. So whether new to Apple’s iPadOS ecosystem, or simply upgrading from an older iPad with the home button, you may find this to be useful.

In most cases, putting iPad Air into recovery mode and restoring or updating it using Finder or iTunes should resolve most issues a user faces, whether it’s something like being stuck on the Apple logo at boot or a failed software update. However, if the problem persists after using Recovery Mode, or the device is still unresponsive, you can take a more advanced route with DFU mode. DFU stands for Device Firmware Update which is a lower level restore capability than Recovery mode. DFU is primarily used by advanced users to get the device to communicate with Finder or iTunes without the software automatically loading the latest version of software on to the device.

Unlike the traditional recovery mode, you can choose the iPadOS firmware you want to install on your iPad with DFU mode. In this article, we’ll be helping you to enter DFU mode on your new iPad Air (2020 and newer) model.

How to Enter DFU Mode on iPad Air (2020 Model)

Before you get started, back up your data to either iCloud, Finder, or iTunes on the computer. This is to make sure you don’t permanently lose any data in the process. Next, you’ll need to connect your iPad Air to a computer with the latest version of iTunes using the USB-C cable that came in the box.

  1. First, press and release the Volume Up button on your iPad. Immediately after, press and release the Volume Down button. Now, press and hold the power button for about 10 seconds until the screen turns black.

    How to Enter DFU Mode on iPad Air (2020 Model)
  2. Continue to hold the power button, but now, hold the Volume Down button too for 5 seconds. Now, take your finger off the side button and keep holding the Volume Down button for another 10 seconds. The screen will remain black.

    How to Enter DFU Mode on iPad Air (2020 Model)

Once you launch iTunes (or Finder on Mac) on your computer, you’ll get a pop-up with a message stating “iTunes has detected an iPad in recovery mode. You must restore this iPad before it can be used with iTunes”. At this point, you can choose to restore your iPad Air’s software.

If you’re looking to downgrade the software on your iPad Air, you will be able to manually select the firmware you want to use for the restoration, though you’ll need compatible IPSW firmware file downloaded and stored on your computer, and that IPSW must be signed by Apple to be usable.

Exiting DFU Mode on iPad Air (2020 Model)

If you have no intention of updating, restoring, or downgrading the software on your iPad Air and you did it just to check out DFU mode, you can safely exit by following the steps below.

  1. Press and release the Volume Up button on your iPad.
  2. Immediately after, press and release the Volume Down button.
  3. Now, press and hold the power button until you see the Apple logo on the iPad’s screen.

Keep in mind that these button presses should be done in quick succession to properly exit DFU mode on your iPad. Doing this will also effectively force restart your iPad Air, but that doesn’t mean exiting DFU mode will magically solve anything if your iPad was bricked and requires a hard restore.

Are you interested in learning more about entering DFU mode on other Apple devices? Perhaps, you own an iPhone or still use an older iPad model with the home button. In that case, feel free to check out our other DFU mode tutorials:

We hope you were able to familiarize yourself with the way Apple’s newer iPad models like the latest iPad Air handle software recovery. Did the DFU mode help you fix your bricked iPad? Or did you just use DFU mode to downgrade the firmware? Do share your personal experiences and valuable opinions in the comments section down below.


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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in iPad, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

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