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DFU Mode VS. Recovery Mode: What's the Difference?

June 14, 2016 3:34 pm / Posted by Jenefey Aaron to iPhone Tips
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DFU mode and recovery mode are the 2 commonly used modes for iPhone, iPad and iPod users. When an iOS device encounters software or app-related trouble, it can usually be resolved by recovery mode and DFU mode. Then what on earth is DFU mode and recovery mode used for? What's the difference between them and how to enter recovery mode/DFU mode separately? This post answers all the above questions. Read on to find more details.

recovery mode and dfu mode

What is DFU mode and recovery mode used for?

DFU mode is short for Device Firmware Update mode. It skips the iBoot bootloader for jailbreak fascinates. When your device is in DFU mode, the device screen will be totally black. DFU mode can be used in different situations including upgrading firmware, downgrading firmware, and even rebooting your tethered jailbroken device.

Losing data after iOS firmware update? Try to use iPhone Data Recovery or iPhone Data Recovery for Mac (for Mac users) to restore lost contacts, text messages, photos, etc. on iPhone.

Recovery mode allows iTunes to restores your iPhone to its original factory settings but with the latest iOS and firmware. (DFU mode allows you to change and choose the firmware you want to install onto your iPhone.) DFU mode could fix a lot of problems like iDevice stuck in the silver Apple logo, your device gets stuck in a continuous restart loop. When your device is in recovery mode, the iTunes logo and the icon of your USB cable will appear at the same time and iTunes will inform you that an iPhone/iPad/iPod touch in recovery mode has been detected:

What is the main difference between DFU mode and recovery mode?

The main difference between the Recovery mode and DFU mode rests in iBoot. Recovery mode uses iBoot during restoring or upgrading your iPhone while DFU mode bypasses the iBoot so you can downgrade the current firmware because there is no iBoot agent during the DFU mode.

What is iBoot: iBoot is the bootloader on iOS 10/9/8/7 devices. iBoot acts on restore while iPhone is in Recovery Mode. It makes sure that you are flashing a firmware version greater than or equal to a current one. If you are not, iBoot will not allow the restore to proceed.

Firmware downgrading must be done in DFU mode. This means if you need to restore your iPhone to current version simply put the iPhone in recovery mode and iTunes takes care of the rest but if you need to downgrade your current firmware to lower one you need to put your iPhone in DFU mode.

How to get into and out of DFU mode?

For your reference, we summarize the tutorials for you to put iPhone, iPad or iPod in or out of DFU mode. Let's start from steps to enter DFU mode:

Follow the steps below to get out of DFU mode:

How to enter and exit recovery mode?

The steps to enter and exit recovery mode will take iPod touch for an example. Steps for iPhone and iPad are the same.

Enter recovery mode:

Exit recovery mode:

Or you could choose another way to enter and exit recovery mode which requires only one click, rather than learning 4 steps as above. No kidding. The free utility ReiBoot or ReiBoot (Mac) is all that you need.

enter recovery mode with reiboot
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