Apple innovation is often about taking more than adding. The company has released seven iPhones without a Home button, the latest being the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. If you’ve recently picked one of these devices for the first time, you might be a little confused as to how your iPhone goes into DFU mode when it’s running.
If not running, DFU stands for Device Firmware Update. DFU mode is not intended for easy use. Instead, it is usually the last resort to return your broken or faulty iPhone. Sometimes iPhone hiccups often require a simple reboot or restart. However, if you need something more powerful for your iOS device, DFU can be a powerful tool.
Recovery and DFU modes can come in handy if you’ve fiddled with your iPhone and stopped loading completely for some reason. The process of putting these phones in DFU mode and restarting them is also a bit different from older iPhones with a physical Home button.
Your iPhone may be new, but the hidden DFU code isn’t. Apple went into DFU mode, using the same button combination found in the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. However, if you are using an iPhone 7 or earlier, you will find that this new button combination is more complex than before.
Overview the difference of Recovery Mode and DFU Mode
Before we explain how to start iPhone 11, 11 Pro, or 11 Pro Max in Recovery Mode or DFU Mode, it is important to know the difference between the two of them.
DFU Mode: Indicates the device firmware update mode. This is a special mode that allows your iPhone to interact with your Mac or PC’s iTunes software, but it does not trigger the iBoot process. Because it bypasses the iBoot (bootloader for iOS devices) process, DFU mode can be used in a variety of situations, including iOS firmware updates, downgraded firmware, and rebooting the linked device to jailbreak. When the iPhone is in DFU mode, the display is completely black.
Recovery Mode: Unlike DFU mode, putting your iPhone into recovery mode triggers the iBoot process. Make sure the user is actually trying to install a signed firmware version that is greater than or equal to the version on the iPhone in recovery mode. When your iPhone is in recovery mode, the iPhone screen will ask you to connect to iTunes. This is the only way to know if your iPhone is in recovery mode or DFU mode.
- Mac or Windows computer
- Latest version of iTunes installed OR macOS Catalina
- Lightning to USB or Lightning to USB-C cable
Warning: you’re about to lose everything
You read that right. DFU mode will crack your iPhone data and wipe your hard drive completely. If you want to store photos, texts, documents, or other data, you must first back them up via iTunes or iCloud. Obviously, this is not possible if your iPhone is not currently turned on. However, if you’ve entered DFU mode on your working iPhone, you can exit before continuing with the restore and update using your preferred method.
Step 1: plug your iPhone into Mac or PC
Connect iPhone to Mac or PC using USB or USB type C cable.
Step 2: unlock iPhone (if needed)
If your device displays the “Unlock iPhone to Use Accessories” notification, you must first unlock your iPhone before proceeding.
Step 3: please connect to the trusted computer
Also, the first time you connect your iPhone to this computer, you may need to trust the iPhone computer. If you want, you can distrust your computer after following these steps.
Step 4: open iTunes or Finder on Catalina macOS
If you are using anything other than macOS Catalina, iTunes opens automatically. If not, open it yourself and check if your iPhone is connected. In iTunes, in addition to the sidebar under Devices, you’ll see an iPhone icon next to the media dropdown.
If you’re using macOS Catalina, open Finder, then select iPhone from Locations. If you don’t have a location menu in the Finder sidebar, click Finder in the menu bar at the top of your screen, choose Preferences, then click the Sidebar tab and CD, DVD & iOS Devices.
The Finder automatically opens the General tab when you click iPhone from the Location menu in the Catalina sidebar. If not, open that tab directly. If your iPhone doesn’t appear, restart your Mac and it forcefully appears.
Step 5: boot your iPhone into DFU Mode
With your iPhone connected to iTunes or Finder, click the next button:
- Press the Volume Up button quickly.
- Press the Volume Down button quickly.
- Press and hold the Side Button until the screen turns black.
- When the screen turns off, release the side button and then …
- Quickly press and hold the Side Button and Volume Down buttons for 5 seconds.
- After 5 seconds, release the Side Button without releasing the Volume Down button.
- Press and hold the Volume Down button for at least 5 seconds.
Don’t let go of it until you see the restore message in iTunes or Finder. Once you release the volume down button, check the iPhone display. If you have a black screen, congratulations! You are now in DFU mode. If you don’t see this message on macOS Catalina, click outside the iPhone tab and return. After a moment, the Finder will display a prompt.
If your iPhone restarts or if the “Connect to iTunes” message appears on the screen, go back to step 1 and try again. Follow each step to T. Even with slight deviations, your iPhone may not enter DFU mode.
If you want to back up your iPhone before restoring your device, or if you accidentally entered DFU mode, there is an easy way to cancel the process and restart your device. Of course, I assume the device was turned on before it went into DFU mode.
- Quick-press the Volume Up button.
- Quick-press the Volume Down button.
- Press and hold the Side button for at least 10 seconds — until you see the Apple boot screen.
If done correctly, your iPhone should reboot into iOS 12 or iOS 13. All you have to do is enter your password before going to the home screen.
Now that you have successfully booted your iPhone into DFU mode and don’t want to exit anymore, you can click “OK” to close the iTunes restore prompt and restore it to factory settings. Select “Restore iPhone” in iPhone Recovery Mode in iTunes or Finder. After successfully restoring, your iPhone 11, 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max will automatically exit DFU mode and boot onto the familiar new iPhone splash screen.
On my daily job, I am a software engineer, programmer & computer technician. My passion is assembling PC hardware, studying Operating System and all things related to computers technology. I also love to make short films for YouTube as a producer. More at about me…