iPhone Won’t Restore in Recovery Mode? Try These 9 Fixes

  1. Published on Dec 2, 2021
  2. Updated on Dec 2, 2021
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A recovery mode restore is one of the best ways to fix common iOS issues with any iPhone.

It is also the ideal way to restore your iPhone if the computer will not recognize the iPhone or if a normal restore doesn’t work.

As such, it is one of the last solutions any iOS device user may try and they would only put a device in recovery mode if other solutions don’t work.

Therefore, if an iPhone won’t restore in recovery mode, you may be at your wits end, thinking there is nothing else you can do.

But like other problems with iOS devices, this one is also easily solvable and the most effective solutions are detailed below.

What is Recovery Mode?

Before we figure out how to fix a device that won’t restore in recovery mode, it is important to understand exactly what recovery mode is.

In the simplest terms possible, recovery mode is a special state that you can put your iPhone in if something is not right with the iOS.

When a device is in recovery mode, you will not be able to use it and the only way to fix it is to reinstall the iOS.

Recovery mode is characterized by a black screen with a logo on the screen, prompting you to connect the device to the computer. This screen is often called the “Connect to iTunes” screen.

When to Use Recovery Mode?

Recovery mode can be useful in the following scenarios:

  • When a system or iOS update bug corrupts the firmware update, usually when using a beta version of iOS.
  • When restoring or updating the device in iTunes fails and the computer can no longer recognize the device.
  • When your device gets stuck in a boot loop after an iOS update.
  • When you connect the device to iTunes, but nothing happens.

Troubleshooting Steps When iPhone Won’t Restore in Recovery Mode

If your iPhone in recovery mode fails to restore, the following are the solutions you can try:

1. Update iTunes on Your Computer

It is very important to make sure that you are using the latest version of iTunes on PC or Mac or restoring the device will prove very difficult.

Here’s how to update iTunes on your computer:

On Mac:

  • Step 1: Open iTunes on your computer.
  • Step 2: Click on the iTunes button at the top-left side of the screen.
  • Step 3: Then select “Check for Updates” from the drop-down menu and if an update is available, it will be installed automatically.

On Windows:

  • Step 1: Open iTunes on your PC.
  • Step 2: Click on “Help” from the menu bar at the top.
  • Step 3: Then click on “Check for Updates” from the drop-down menu to update iTunes automatically.

Update iTunes on Your Computer

2. Reboot Your Computer

If iTunes is already up-to-date, then you may want to reboot the computer itself.

To reboot your Mac, click on the Apple button in the top-right corner and select “Restart” from the drop-down menu.

To restart your PC, click on the Start Menu > Power Options > Restart.

Reboot Your Computer

3. Try a Different Lightning/USB Cable

You may also find it hard to restore the device is the USB/Lightning cable that you are using to connect the device to the computer is faulty or broken.

This is a common problem if the cable is not MFi-certified by Apple. MFi-certified cables have been tested and proven to work well with iPhone models.

Try a Different Lightning/USB Cable

4. Use A Different USB Port or Computer

It is also important to male sure that the USB port you ate using is not the problem. To rule this out, try using a different USB port.

The iPhone will not restore if the USB port is damaged and therefore unable to provide adequate power to complete the process.

You may also want to try and use a different computer, particularly if you determine that the USB ports are the problem.

5. Force Restart to Get the iPhone Out of Recovery Mode

If you are still unable to restore the device in recovery mode, you may want to get the device out of recovery mode until you can resolve the problem.

One of the best ways to get the device out of recovery mode is to force restart the device.

Here’s how to force restart your iPhone:

iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X and above models: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button, press and quickly release the Volume Down button and then press and hold the Side button until the Apple Logo appears on the screen.

Force Restart iPhone 12

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus: Press and hold both the Power and the Volume Down button for at least 10 seconds. Let go of both buttons when the Apple Logo appears.

Force Restart iPhone 7

iPhone SE, 6s, and 6s Plus: Press and hold both the Power and the Home Buttons at the same time for about 10 seconds. When the Apple Logo appears on the screen, let go of both buttons.

Force Restart iPhone 6S

6. Fix Corrupt iOS Downloads

It is also possible that the iPhone won’t restore in recovery mode because the iOS update files that you are trying to use are corrupt.

The only way to fix this problem is to delete these corrupt iOS update files, thereby forcing the computer to download new ones that will hopefully not be corrupt.

To do that on Mac: open Finder and while holding down the “Option Key,” click on Go > Library from the menu. Then go to iTunes > iPhone Software Updates and delete all update files you find there.

On PC: open File Explorer and enable “Hidden Files.” Then go to Users > [Your Name] > AppData > Roaming > Apple Computer > iTunes and delete the files there.

Fix Corrupt iOS Downloads

After removing the damaged files, follow the right steps to restore your iPhone again.

7. Consider Using an iOS System Repair Tool

TinyFix is an iOS system recovery program that will allow you to fix an iPhone stuck in recovery mode without affecting any of the data on the device.

It is a highly functional solution that is also very easy to use, allowing you to fix the device in a few minutes.

To use TinyFix, install the program on to your computer and then follow these steps:

Step 1: Launch TinyFix on your PC or Mac and use a USB/Lightning cable to connect the iPhone to the computer.

Step 2: Select “iOS System Repair” > “Standard Repair” in the main window and confirm the action.

 main screen of TinyFix

Step 3: The next step is to download the firmware package you will need to fix the device. Just click “Download” to begin downloading the software.

get the appropriate firmware

Step 4: When the download is complete, click “Fix Now” to begin the repair process. Your iPhone will be fixed in a matter of minutes.

repairing the device

8. Put Your iPhone in DFU Mode to Restore it

If all the steps above don’t work, then there could be something wrong with the firmware.

In this case, putting the device in DFU mode and restoring it in iTunes mat fix the problem.

You will know that your iPhone is successfully in DFU mode if the screen is completely blank.

The procedure to put the iPhone in DFU mode will depend on the model. Here’s how to do it:

For iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone 11, or later:

  • Step 1: Connect the iPhone to the computer using the original USB/Lightning cable and open iTunes or Finder.
  • Step 2: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button. Do the same with the second volume button.
  • Step 3: Press and hold the Side button and when you get a blank screen, press and hold the Volume Down button (without releasing the Side Button).
  • Step 4: Hold both buttons for about 5 seconds and then release the Side button.
  • Step 5: Keep holding the Volume Down button until the device appears in Finder or iTunes. Then follow the prompts on your computer to restore the device in DFU mode.

For iPhone 7 and 7 Plus:

  • Step 1: Connect the iPhone 7 to the computer using its original USB/Lightning cable and then open iTunes of Finder.
  • Step 2: Hold the Side and the Volume Down button for about 8 seconds.
  • Step 3: Let go of the Side button, but continue to hold the Volume Down button until the iPhone appears in iTunes.
  • Step 4: Follow the instructions in iTunes or Finder to restore the iPhone in DFU mode.

iPhone 6s, iPhone SE (1st Generation) and earlier Models:

  • Step 1: Connect the iPhone to the computer and then open iTunes or Finder.
  • Step 2: Press and hold the Power and Home button at the same time for about 8 seconds.
  • Step 3: Release the Power button after 8 seconds, but continue to hold the Home Button until the device appears in iTunes or Finder.
  • Step 4: Follow the on-screen instructions to restore the device in DFU mode.

If you see anything on the screen such as the Apple Logo or Connect to iTunes screen, the process has failed and you need to start all over again.

 restore iPhone in DFU mode

9. Schedule a Physical Repair for your iPhone

If the iPhone remains stuck in recovery mode even after trying all the solutions above, then it has likely suffered some form of hardware damage.

In this case, you will need to schedule an appointment with Apple to get the device repaired.

Please note that even if the device was fully functional before you put it in recovery mode, the process of trying to update the device may have caused hardware damage.

Contact Apple Support to set up an appointment at your local Apple Store to get the device repaired.

Wrapping Up

Recovery Mode can be a life saver when you are having problems with your device’s operating system.

But when the iPhone get stuck in recovery mode and you’re unable to use it, it can be a problem in itself.

Now you have an arsenal of options that you can use to get out of recovery mode and restore the device to normal function.

Aaron Roussey

Aaron is tech-savvy and enjoys writing technical articles about phones, computers, games, and the internet!
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