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How to Put iPhone in and Out of DFU Mode

Updated on December 31, 2017
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Alfred is a long-time teacher and computer enthusiast who works with and troubleshoots a wide range of computing devices.

iPhone in DFU Mode will display a black screen
iPhone in DFU Mode will display a black screen

Device Firmware Mode (DFU) mode stands for the pre iBoot state which permits low-level modifications to the iPhone or iPad. It is usually used to upgrade or downgrade the iPhone firmware.

Since iPhone upgrades and downgrades involve modifying the IOS as a measure to install third-party apps and preserve baseband firmware, knowing how iPhone DFU mode works is very important.

Difference Between DFU and Recovery Mode

In order to understand DFU Mode better, it is important to understand how it defers from Recovery mode. The difference is actually all about the iBoot state of the iPhone.

Both modes are pre-boot states in Apple mobile devices and they either bypass or use the iBoot state.

DFU mode places the iPhone in pre iBoot state which permits the firmware to be upgraded or downgraded.

Recovery mode, on the other hand, is the state in the iPhone when software iBoot has loaded, and firmware can only be modified by an upgrade and not a downgrade.

iPhone in recovery mode
iPhone in recovery mode

From the above explanation, it is safe to assume that iBoot mode sits between DFU mode and Recovery mode.

What is iBoot?

iPhone iBoot (boot loader) is a nifty little bootrom software embedded in the iPhone that first boots, and then allows the general IOS to boot off the iPhone hardware. It is a little like the ROM BIOS which starts up, checks and assesses all hardware components in the personal computer before handing over authority to the main operating system.

The two modes states mentioned above are popular because they are very important pre-IOS installation states.

You have to enter iphone DFU mode in order to jailbreak it
You have to enter iphone DFU mode in order to jailbreak it

If ever you are to change your iPhone Operating System (IOS) by upgrading, ‘repairing’, or downgrading it, you will definitely have to choose the appropriate of the two states.

For example, ‘repairing’ or upgrading the normal IOS from Apple will necessitate that you have your iDevice in Recovery mode. The assumption here is that you care less about changing the device baseband.

If however, you intend to downgrade your iDevice to an earlier IOS version or even modifying its baseband, you definitely will have to go the DFU mode.

A device in DFU mode has a black screen and the state cannot be reversed even by connecting it to the computer. a charger connected to electrical charge will not start up the iPhone.

As mentioned above, a device in Recovery mode has already gone beyond the initial boot process (iBoot bootloader) and, therefore, hard to manipulate.

How to Enter iPhone DFU Mode

In order to bypass the iBoot restrictions and install effect desired modifications, it is best to put your iPod or iPhone in DFU mode.

This can be done using the iPhone independently, Redsnow or iREB.

To do it independent of any software,

  • Press and hold the power/sleep button for about five seconds till it shows Slide to power off.
  • Go ahead and slide to power off.
  • Press and hold on to the power button for three seconds. Around now, the Apple logo should appear on the screen.

The image shows the POWER and HOME buttons on the iPhone
The image shows the POWER and HOME buttons on the iPhone
  • While still holding on to the POWER button, press and hold on to the HOME button for ten more seconds.

At about the tenth second, the Apple logo should go off.

  • Release the POWER button and continue holding on to the HOME button for ten to fifteen more seconds.
  • After this, your iPod or iPhone should be in DFU mode, and to prove this connect it to your computer and see the response. Normally should not boot up. If it does, you probably did not accomplish the process very well.
  • You can start over and try to do it well this time around. Different people have done this a number of times before getting it right.

  • Select Pwned DFU mode in the next window.

DFU Mode Using Redsnow or iReb

You can also use Redsnow or iREB to put your iDevice in DFU mode. iReb, in particular, seems to get it right all the time.

To use Redsnow, download the latest version and fire it up.

  • Click Pwned DFU

  • Click Next and follow the instructions.
  • They are the same instructions as explained above, only now you are guided by timing.

You can also use iREB to achieve the same results.

Start by downloading iREB and firing it up.

The home screen of iREB
The home screen of iREB
  • Follow the instructions provided.

An iREB screen showing a successful DFU attempt
An iREB screen showing a successful DFU attempt

Have you struggled to enter iPhone DFU mode?

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Video Showing How to Put iPhone in DFU Mode

How to Put iPhone Out of DFU Mode

Of course, you may have been fiddling around with your iPod or iPhone and got your device stuck in DFU mode. Don’t worry. The return journey to normalcy is very simple.

In order to get out of this mode, simply press and hold POWER + HOME button for approximately fifteen seconds.

The Apple logo should appear on your iPhone screen and your device should now boot up normally.

© 2013 Alfred Amuno

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