Recovery Mode VS. DFU Mode: Everything You Should Know

recovery mode vs dfu mode

Chances are that if you own a smartphone there will be a point in time when it will be nonresponsive due to software problems. For iOS powered devices there are two key terms commonly used when rebooting such devices. You might have heard people throwing the terms DFU mode and recovery mode around and have had trouble differentiating them. You might even have used one or both of such modes for data recovery. This article outlines all the key aspects you should know about DFU mode vs. recovery mode and their application in restoring your iPhone.

Part 1. Recovery Mode - What You Need to Know

In this part, you're going to learn some basic knowledage about iOS recovery mode, including the definition of this term, when will you use it and how to put your iPhone into recovery mode, etc. Here we go.

  • 1.1 What Is Recovery Mode?

    It is commonly referred to as the "second stage loader". This is because the iPhone recovery mode helps you recover your device when it refuses to respond. It starts the phone and puts it in the bootloader mode which is normally called iBoot. During flashing of iPhones with new Operating Systems they are first put into iBoot mode. It responds to USB connections with a computer even when you had initially blocked such connections as numerous iOS restrictions are bypassed in this mode. There are only a few commands that your iPhone will respond to when on this mode.

    iphone recovery mode
  • 1.2 When to Use Recovery Mode?

    The following scenarios are advisable causes for you to use recovery mode:

    • The iPhone screen displays the Apple logo without the inclusion of a progress bar and becomes unresponsive for several minutes. • iTunes recognition is hampered on the device or it signals that it is in recovery mode. • Your phone displays the connect to iTunes screen.

    There are other rare occurrences that call for you to initiate the recovery mode such as:

    • iPhone resetting when you have completely forgotten your passcodes. The device will erase all data and start afresh as a new device. • You do not have the passcode to remove the device from the USB restricted mode. • A previous jailbreak prevents you from installing an upgrade. • You want to clean up the OS after a jailbreak.
  • 1.3 How to Enter/Exit iPhone Recovery Mode

    Follow the steps below to enter the recovery mode in your iPhone device:

    • For iPhone 6s and earlier versions the process involves use of the Home button on your device's screen. You should follow these steps:

    Step 1: Connect your iPhone to a computer that has the iTunes application and launch the app.

    Step 2: Firmly press without releasing the Home button as well as the Lock button on the side or top of the device.

    Step 3: Keep the buttons pressed even after the screen displays the Apple logo and only release them when the recovery mode is displayed.

    recovery mode iPhone 6s and earlier
    • For iPhone 7 and 7 Plus their process as they were the first iPhone versions without mechanical Home buttons. You should enter the recovery mode using the following procedure:

    Step 1: Connect your device to a computer and launch the iTunes app on the computer.

    Step 2: Simultaneously press the Volume Down and Side buttons without releasing.

    Step 3: Press the buttons on after the Apple logo is displayed and release after display recovery mode on the screen.

    recovery mode iPhone 7
    • For iPhone 8, X and newer versions, the process of pressing the buttons should be swift in the following manner:

    Step 1: Launch iTunes on your computer after connecting the phone.

    Step 2: Press and release the button for Volume Up.

    Step 3: Repeat the pressing for the Volume Down button.

    Step 4: Press without releasing the Side button even after the iPhone displays the Apple logo.

    Step 5: Release the Side button when the screen display says recovery mode.

    recovery mode iphone 8 and later

    Software update and restore options are available which you can use to fix your iPhone. To exit the recovery mode press the same buttons you pressed to put it into recovery mode until it starts rebooting.

    Note: If you think this process is a little bit complicated, you can use Joyoshare UltFix to enter recovery mode in one click for free. All you need to do is to connect your phone to the computer and then launch the Joyoshare UltFix app.

    See also: iPhone Won't Go into Recovery Mode? How to Fix

Part 2. DFU Mode - All You Should Know

Similarly, now it's time for us to learn what is DFU mode, when should we use DFU mode and how should we boot our iOS device into DFU mode when needed. Read on to know more.

  • 2.1 What Is DFU Mode?

    It basically refers to the Device Firmware Upgrade (DFU) mode where the iBoot bootloader is bypassed and your iOS device connects to iTunes when you need to solve critical software problems. Under iPhone DFU mode your device will display a screen that is entirely black. The mode is normally used to fix issues with your device after jailbreaking.

    iphone dfu mode
  • 2.2 When to Use DFU Mode?

    Reasons necessitating your iPhone to be put into DFU mode:

    • Firmware upgrade or downgrade. • Performing your device when it is tethered after jailbreaking.
  • 2.3 How to Enter/Exit iPhone DFU Mode

    The process for putting your iPhone into DFU mode is different depending on the device's version.

    • For the earlier versions (up to iPhone 6S) follow this procedure:

    Step 1: Use a cable to connect the device to a computer that has the iTunes app and start the app.

    Step 2: With the device turned off hold both the Home and Lock buttons simultaneously for 10 seconds.

    Step 3: Release the Lock button but continue pressing the Home button until the iTunes app detects a phone under recovery. The device's screen will however remain totally black.

    enter iPhone dfu mode
    • For iPhone versions 7 and 7 Plus:

    Step 1: Connect the device to a computer by way of a USB cable.

    Step 2: Simultaneously press both the Side and Volume Down buttons.

    Step 3: With the Volume Down button still pressed stop pressing the Side button.

    Step 4: The iTunes app you launched on your computer should have recognized a device in recovery mode and the iPhone screen should be dark.

    exit iphone dfu mode
    • For iPhone versions 8 and later on:

    Step 1: Launch the iTunes app after connecting the device by way of a USB cable.

    Step 2: Swiftly press both Volume buttons starting with the upper one.

    Step 3: Press down the Side button until the screen is darkened and press down both the Volume Down and Side buttons.

    Step 4: Release the Side button after 5 seconds but keep the Volume Down button pressed.

    Step 5: iTunes app will signal you that a device under recovery has been detected.

    The iTunes app will always indicate when the iPhone enters recovery mode. You should note that if your device displays anything on the screen such as the Apple logo or a signal for you to connect to iTunes the process has failed and you should try again. The Apple logo normally indicates that the device is restarting and you pressed the buttons for a long time.

Part 3. Key differences of the DFU Mode vs. Recovery Mode

After reading the basic information about iPhone recovery mode and DFU mode, you must have a brief understanding about these two iOS modes. Generally, the main differences are as follows:

Part 4. How to Fix iPhone Stuck in Recovery Mode or DFU Mode

Software or hardware issues can make your iPhone to get stuck in the recovery mode or DFU mode. You can solve the problem by using any of the following methods:

joyoshare ultfix interface
    • Visit an apple store for your device to be serviced.


The above 'recovery mode vs. DFU mode' key differences all indicate that both mechanisms are used to repair your device when it experiences software problems. The process is rather easy under the iPhone recovery mode as compared to the iPhone DFU mode. However, when you follow the instructions properly, you can restore or fix your device seamlessly. When you face any problems such as getting the device stuck in any of the modes solutions like a hard reset or use of the Joyoshare UltFix app are applicable. However it is always safer to back up your data from time to time and sync the device well before you initiate the repair procedure.


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