Bricking an iOS device, be it the latest iPhone, iPad or one of the first iPod Touch generations, is not as severe as it sounds. In most cases, the Apple device isn’t actually bricked and restoration can be done without much fuss. Of course, sometimes bad things happen and there is not much that you can do, but we’ve gathered  the most helpful answers on the subject and we are going to present the best tactics that one can apply on a bricked iOS device.

While most of these methods will run the Apple device through somewhat standard tactics for a person more than familiarized with iOS gadgets, some of them will seem quite simple and even stupid to do when you are holding an apparently useless, but quite expensive brick. Remember, at all times, that panic is the worst enemy here.

Bricked iPhone


How can bricked iOS devices be fixed ?

Unlike Google’s Android, where users have the ability of tweaking the operating system in manners more complicated and most of all, much accessible to someone reading a hacking blog, Apple has developed iOS as a robust and steady platform. Thus, regular users can only affect the stability of the system by jailbreaking through an unorthodox method or, and this is the most encountered case of them all, by interrupting a firmware update.

Here are the most encountered symptoms of a bad functioning Apple gadget:

  • The system is stuck on a black screen
  • The screen is showing a battery logo with a red line, but the phone is completely charged
  • Apple’s logo is present on the panel for a brief moment and the device goes blank intermittently
  • You have a spinning wheel stuck on the display
  • The device cannot start at all

In other words, if the phone has not stopped while installing a newer version of iOS because of insufficient battery juice or God knows what other factors, chances are that the device is not actually bricked. For that and even more, you will have to follow the guidelines below, after making sure that the handheld has not run out of battery (plug it and let it charge for ten minutes).

A simple Reset can cure it

iPhone reset

Location of the Power and Home buttons

This simple procedure can get most headaches out of the way, especially for those that are currently experiencing a spinning wheel on the display that doesn’t seem to stop this century, those that have an Apple logo stuck on the screen and in some cases, for devices that cannot power ON any more.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Press and hold the Home button (bottom-center) and the Power button (on top) until the Apple logo appears – or at least twelve seconds.
  2. Release both buttons at the same time.
  3. Wait until the menu screen loads and that’s it.

If the iOS device is still unresponsive after these steps, try repeating them while the iPhone, iPad or the iPod Touch is plugged into a charger.

Restoring: brutal, but effective

The most common way of curing bricked devices is sadly, brutal. By restoring an Apple device you will have to use a previously saved back-up of your files or, in case you have no such thing, start from a new, untouched iOS version – meaning precious data like settings, background, etc. will be wiped clean off.

Another catch of this process may sadden jailbreakers, as Apple has the habit of restoring to the latest edition of iOS, one that cannot be yet jailbroken. Luckily, there are several sources on which you can find direct links towards every iOS version pushed by Apple, links which can be then used for restoration.

A way out for jailbreakers would be to cook a Custom Firmware for the iDevice using tools such as Sn0wBreeze (for Windows) and PwnageTool (for Mac OS X), which is an iOS version already jailbroken that can be used successfully.

Now here’s how to restore an Apple gadget:

  1. Make sure you have iTunes installed and updated.
  2. Using the USB cord, connect the device to a computer.
  3. Open iTunes and select the product from the left column.
  4. Go to the Summary section and click on the Restore button.
  5. Wait for iTunes to download the latest iOS and then choose a back-up to restore from or, a new version if you have none.
  6. Wait for the device to sync ( from case to case, it can take a while).

Getting into Recovery Mode

iPhone Recovery

A simple restoration may not do the trick, while the Apple product is connected straight to a computer, like above. For those who followed our steps and nothing happened, a trick is to get the iPhone into recovery mode and then restore. Here’s what needs to be done:

  1. Make sure the device is OFF.
  2. Hold down the Home and Power buttons.
  3. Release the Power button and connect the product to a computer, while keeping the Home button pressed.
  4. When a screen of the iTunes icon and of a USB cable appear, like above, release the Home button.
  5. Restore using the steps mentioned above.

When Recovery fails, DFU may not

DFU_ModeDFU mode is a sort of advanced instance of the device loader, used by Apple to initially load up firmware and other sorts of sensible files. This mode has no secure protection and unlike Recovery, inexperienced users may flash the wrong firmware or actually screw the bootloader, especially if you are jailbreaking. So, make sure you are careful while this mode is activated.

  1. Power ON the device.
  2. Start iTunes and connect the gadget using the USB cord.
  3. Hold the Home and Power buttons pressed for exactly 10 seconds (measure it with a watch) and then release Power.
  4. Continue holding the Home button until iTunes detects a device in recovery mode.
  5. Restore.

Note: While in DFU mode, the screen of the Apple device will remain black, unlike in Recovery – that’s why, if those ten seconds have passed, the Apple logo will appear and you have to repeat the steps once again. When all of these fail, you can try to restore using another computer or, play dumb at the Apple store.

PHOTO CREDITS: Revision3
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Author

Alex holds an engineering degree in Telecommunications and has been covering technology as a writer since 2009. Customization is his middle name and he doesn’t like to own stock model gadgets. When he’s away from the keyboard, simpler things like hiking, mountain climbing and having a cold drink make his day.