Placing an iPhone XS, iPhone XR, or iPhone XS Max into DFU mode may be necessary as a troubleshooting step in some situations in order to restore an iPhone. DFU mode is a low-level device restore state that allows for an iPhone to be restored directly from firmware, it requires a Mac or Windows PC with iTunes to use properly.
If you need to enter DFU mode on an iPhone XS, XR, or XS Max, we’ll show you how to do so in this walkthrough. Likewise, this tutorial will show you how to exit DFU mode on iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and iPhone XS Max.
Note: DFU mode is for advanced users and specific troubleshooting scenarios where an iPhone XS, XR, or XS Max is otherwise unresponsive or stuck in an unusual state. This is rarely necessary, the vast majority of users can simply restore an iPhone with iTunes as usual, or from a backup, without using DFU mode or recovery mode.
How to Enter DFU Mode on iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone XS Max
Using DFU mode with iPhone XS, XR, XS Max requires a computer with a new version of iTunes, whether that is a Mac or PC does not matter, as long as it has a USB port to connect the iPhone XS / XR / XS Max to. Restoring a device may cause permanent data loss, particularly if you do not have a backup available.
- Launch iTunes on the Mac or Windows PC
- Connect the iPhone XS, XR, or XS Max to the computer with iTunes by using a USB cable
- Press Volume Up button and release
- Press Volume Down button and release
- Now press and hold the Power button until the iPhone screen turns black, this usually takes about 10 seconds
- While still holding the Power button, now press and hold both Power and the Volume Down button for 5 seconds
- Release the Power button but continue to hold Volume Down button for another 10 seconds or so
- iTunes should pop-up an alert message saying “iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode. You must restore this iPhone before it can be used with iTunes” indicating the iPhone XS/XR is in DFU mode
The iPhone XS, XR, or XS Max is now in DFU mode with iTunes, ready to be restored or updated as necessary.
If you fail to see the “iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode. You must restore this iPhone before it can be used with iTunes” message, start the process over again and follow the directions closely. The steps are obviously sort of unusual, and following them exactly is necessary in order to properly enter DFU mode.
If the iPhone screen turns on, or you see an Apple logo or iTunes logo on the display of iPhone, then the iPhone XS, XR, or XS Max is not in DFU mode and you need to start over.
If you need IPSW firmware files to restore from, you can find iOS IPSW firmware file links here. You must use an iOS firmware file that is compatible with the iPhone model, and the iOS IPSW file must be signed by Apple in order to use and restore from. You can check IPSW signing status of iOS versions if need be, and you can use IPSW files by holding either the OPTION key (Mac) or SHIFT key (PC) when choosing to restore in iTunes.
How to Exit DFU Mode on iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone XS Max
If you have entered into DFU mode and no longer need to be, you can exit DFU mode without restoring the iPhone by following these steps:
- Press and release Volume Up button
- Press and release Volume Down button
- Press and hold the Power button until the Apple logo appears on screen
This is essentially a forced restart of iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone XS Max, and it works to escape out of DFU mode.
All iOS devices can enter into DFU mode for restoring, though the process of entering DFU mode differs per device model.
Again, using DFU mode is rarely necessary, and it’s usually only needed is extreme troubleshooting scenarios, like when an iPhone appears to be ‘bricked’, stuck on the Apple logo, stuck on the restore screen, or in some other similar low-level state. Those are rare scenarios, usually only occurring during a failed iOS update, a failed restore, a failed attempt at modding an iOS device, or something similar.