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How to Put iPhone in Recovery Mode (Step-By-Step Guide)

If your iPhone starts acting strange, putting it in Recovery Mode can help.

how to put iPhone in recovery mode

Most of the time when your iPhone is acting strangely like it’s unresponsive or running slow, which is very rare, a simple restart may fix those problems. But sometimes it just won’t do the job, that’s when putting your iPhone into Recovery Mode comes into play.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn what iPhone Recovery Mode is, when to use it and how to put your iPhone in Recovery Mode steps by steps.

Here’s what you’ll learn about in this guide:

  1. What Is iPhone Recovery Mode?
  2. When to Use iPhone Recovery Mode
  3. How to Put iPhone in Recovery Mode?
  4. How to get iPhone Out of Recovery Mode?

What Is iPhone Recovery Mode?

We’ll put it nice and simple. iPhone Recovery Mode is a safe method that allows you to restore a damaged iOS.

In more technical terms, iPhone Recovery Mode is a failsafe method in iBoot, which is Apple’s stage 2 bootloader for all iOS devices. It allows your iPhone to interface with iTunes on your Mac or PC, while iOS is not totally booted.

Since Recovery Mode does not completely load iOS, which comes with lots of restrictions, it lets you update or restore the OS onto the device.

You should note that you cannot downgrade iOS when in Recovery Mode. In that case, you’d need to put your iPhone in DFU Mode, which is one of the three iOS device modes.

When to Use Recovery Mode

At this point, you should have a clear idea about iPhone Recovery Mode. Here’s when you should use Recovery Mode to the benefits of your iPhone:

  1. Your iPhone keeps restarting after you’ve installed an iOS update.
  2. When iTunes doesn’t recognize your iPhone when connecting to a Mac or Windows PC.
  3. Your iPhone got stuck on the Apple logo for a while without the progress bar.
  4. If you have installed a bad beta and you’re trying to get off of it.
  5. Your iPhone is locked and you don’t remember the password.
  6. You’ve been locked out of your iPhone for exceeding the maximum number of attempts to enter the passcode, and the “Connect to iTunes” message is displayed.

When your iPhone enters Recovery mode, you’ll have two options: update or restore your iPhone with a new (or current) version of iOS. If you restore your iPhone you will lose all data on your device.

That’s why it’s critical to have a recent backup of your phone. To play it safe, we strongly recommend you back up your iPhone with iCloud or Finder/iTunes. But if you go for an update, it will upgrade iOS to the latest version while keeping all your device contents and settings.

How to Put iPhone in Recovery Mode

iPhone requires to be updated or restored
Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

You’ll need a few things to put your iPhone in recovery mode.

  1. A computer, it could be a Mac or Windows PC
  2. Finder or iTunes
  3. Internet connection
  4. A Lightning to USB cable
  5. Obviously your iPhone

First, make sure your Mac or Windows PC is connected to the internet and has the latest version of iTunes installed. This process will differ at some steps depending on what iPhone model you’re using. But don’t worry, we’ll cover every model.

For iPhone 8, 8 Plus, iPhone X and later

Steps to put an iPhone X in recovery mode
Image: Courtesy of Apple

You’ll need to force restart your iPhone. Press and release the Volume Up button and then the Volume Down button. Then, press and hold the Side button until you see the connect to iTunes screen. Your iPhone is now in Recovery Mode.

For iPhone 7, 7 Plus

Steps to put an iPhone 7 in recovery mode
Image: Courtesy of Apple

Turn off your iPhone, and connect it to your Mac or PC, press and hold the Volume Down button, and the Sleep/Wake button at the same time. Your iPhone will force restart but continue to hold on to the buttons.

After a couple of seconds, the Apple logo will show on the screen. Don’t let go of yet the buttons, keep holding them until you see the iTunes connect message. And voilà, you just put your iPhone into Recovery Mode.

For iPhone SE, 6s and earlier

If you happen to use an iPhone SE (like I do) or earlier, here how to put it in Recovery Mode. While your iPhone is off, press and hold the Home button and the Sleep/Wake button at the same time.

You can find the Sleep/Wake button on the top right for iPhone 5s and earlier, and on the side for iPhone 6 or later.

The Apple logo will flash, then reappear but stay a little bit longer. Continue to hold on to the buttons until the Recovery Mode screen appears.

How to Get iPhone Out of Recovery Mode

Getting out of recovery mode

Now that your iPhone is in Recovery Mode, you’ll have about 15 mins before it exits Recovery Mode automatically. If you’ve successfully restored your iPhone, it will exit Recovery Mode when your iPhone reboots.

If for some reason you didn’t restore or update your iPhone, here’s how to get out of Recovery Mode.

Step 1 – Unplug your iPhone from your Mac or PC.

Step 2 – Hold down your iPhone’s Lock and Home (Volume Down for iPhone 7) buttons.

Step 3 – Let go of the Home (or Volume Down) button, while you keep holding down the Lock button.

Step 4 – Release the Lock button when the Apple icon appears to let your finish restarting.

Wrap Up

This was our complete guide to put an iPhone into Recovery Mode. Please do let us know if you find any issues along the way.

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