“It just works.”

A phrase that is often used to represent a near-perfect smartphone experience that Apple facilitates with its iPhones. An experience that can largely be attributed to the perfect amalgamation of hardware and software, which ultimately paves the way for a well-rounded user experience on these devices. Although having said that, it is not as if iPhones never run into problems. They do, occasionally, when the system succumbs to an interruption in the update, a sudden unresponsive screen, or a frozen app.

iphone in recovery mode

While the obvious fix for most users when they run into such issues is to reboot the device, for times when this doesn’t work in favor, the next apparent move is to put the iPhone into recovery mode to restore it and reinstate its functionality. Although restoring the iPhone might seem like a straightforward processor, it is anything but that. Since there have been several iPhone models over the years — with each upgrade introducing some changes to the hardware — the method of resetting an iPhone is different depending on its model.

So to simplify this equation to some degree, here’s a guide with steps on how to put your iPhone into recovery mode.

iPhone Recovery mode

Recovery mode is a state that lets you reinstall the software on your Apple’s iDevices (iPhones, iPads, iPods). It comes in handy when your iPhone refuses to boot up, gets stalled during a software update, gets stuck in a boot loop, or enters into some other unresponsive state. And you can put it to use to reinstall the operating system (iOS or iPadOS) on your device with the help of iTunes or Finder (macOS Catalina and above).

iphone recovery mode screen

A word of caution before you attempt a restore on your device: reinstalling the operating system removes everything and puts it back to its original (factory) state — with only system apps installed. So, as a precautionary measure, make sure you always back up all the data on your iPhone from time to time. Failing to do so puts you at the risk of losing your data, as once your iPhone becomes inaccessible, you can’t back up its data.

How to put iPhone into Recovery Mode?

The evolution of the iPhone’s hardware over the years has realized several changes. A few of these changes, in some form or another, have had an impact on the way the devices work today. Everything from the removal of a physical home button on the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8 models to its complete omission, starting with the iPhone X, the hardware of the iPhones has undergone noticeable changes. And it is this change in hardware that requires you to follow a different set of steps, depending on your model, to put your iPhone into recovery mode.

Having said that, except for the penultimate step, which involves pressing a combination of buttons, the rest of the initial steps remain the same for each iPhone model.

[Related Read: How to Force restart iPhone]

Common steps to put iPhone into recovery mode

1. If you are on an older version of macOS, you have to use iTunes to restore your iPhone. Similarly, if you are using a Windows computer, the only way to restore your device is with iTunes. So, in either case, make sure your iTunes is on the latest version. Alternatively, if you are on macOS Catalina and above, you can restore your iPhone using Finder.

2. Press and hold the power button until you see a slider. Drag the power-off slider that reads “slider to power off” to turn off your iPhone.

turn off iphone

3. Connect your iPhone using the lightning cable to your computer.

4. Now, depending on the operating system of your machine, open iTunes or Finder.

These steps apply to all iPhone models. However, since there are hardware differences between these models, the penultimate step in the process involves a slightly different set of steps.

Model-specific steps to put iPhone into recovery mode

1. iPhone 8 and newer: if you own any of the following iPhone models: iPhone 8, 8 Plus / iPhone X, XR, XS Max / iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max / iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, the step to put your iPhone into recovery mode is the same.

Press and quickly release the volume up button, and then subsequently press and quickly release the volume down button. Finally, press and hold power (side) button until you see the iPhone recovery mode screen.

putting iphone into recovery mode

2. iPhone 7, 7 Plus: although the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7 models both feature a static, force-sensitive home button, the set of steps involved in putting the two models into recovery mode is different.

Press and hold power (side) button and the volume down buttons at the same time and keep holding them until you see the recovery-mode screen.

3. iPhone 6 and older: iPhone models like the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus / iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, iPhone 5S, etc., feature a physical home button, unlike its subsequent updates, and therefore involve a different combination of button presses to enter recovery mode.

Press and hold the home button and the power button at the same time. Keep holding them. You will see the Apple logo in the process. Continue holding on to the two buttons until you see the recovery-mode screen.

Once connected in recovery mode, you are all set to restore your iPhone.

prompte to restore iphone

Note: When you put your device in recovery mode, you have 15 minutes to restore it. If the software download takes more than 15 minutes, the iPhone exits recovery mode automatically, and you need to put it back into recovery mode again.

With the help of the steps listed above, you should be able to put your iPhone into recovery mode and reset it to reinstate its functionality back to normal. As we already mentioned, since restoring your iPhone performs a clean install, one of the best practices you can follow to avoid loss of valuable data is to perform backups on a regular basis.

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