Difference Between DFU Mode and Recovery Mode

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Have you ever got word of Recovery Mode and DFU Mode? It’s special state of iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) that allow you to perform software restore through iTunes. The simple difference between Recovery and DFU Mode is whether the iBoot (iOS Bootloader) is loaded or not as soon as your iDevice is booting up.

Recovery Mode is used to upgrade your iOS firmware while DFU Mode is required to downgrade firmware or install custom iOS firmware.

What is iPhone Recovery Mode

Recovery Mode can be used whenever you need a regular iOS firmware restore / upgrade (iOS upgrade now can be done over-the-air on your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch). Recovery Mode for iPhone allows you to restore iOS firmware version, in case the installed firmware on device is crash. When you turn on your iDevice into Recovery Mode, the iBoot is loaded and prevents you to downgrade iOS firmware. Besides, you are unable to restore custom IPSW as your device in Recovery Mode.

When your iPhone or iPad or iPod touch entered Recovery Mode, you will see Connect to iTunes screen on your iDevice.

Recovery Mode screen

Recovery Mode screen

What is iPhone DFU Mode

DFU (Device Firmware Update) Mode is needed if you want to downgrade firmware of your iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad and also when you need to install custom IPSW. The DFU Mode on your iDevice doesn’t load the iBoot meaning that finito, no more verification whether you are downgrading firmware or not. Thus with no iBoot loaded while in the DFU Mode, you’ll be able to downgrade firmware (required SHSH Blobs tho) or restore custom IPSW (required PWNED DFU Mode).

DFU Mode is necessary for people who depend on jailbreaking and unlocking. If you intend to downgrade iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch firmware after an accidental upgrade, you can put the device into DFU mode (Pwned DFU mode, specifically) or if you create a custom firmware for your iPhone to preserve the baseband, you may use the DFU mode to install the custom firmware.

When your iPhone or iPad or iPod touch enters DFU Mode, you won’t see anything on your device’s screen, it would only be blank (black screen).

Difference Between Recovery Mode and DFU Mode

Difference DFU Mode and Recovery Mode

Difference DFU Mode and Recovery Mode

So, the main difference between DFU and Recovery Mode is that, during the Recovery Mode iBoot is loaded which means that you can only upgrade the firmware on your iDevice and during DFU Mode iBoot is not loaded which allows you to downgrade the firmware on your iDevice or install a custom firmware.

Both DFU and Recovery mode will result in iTunes displaying the same alert:

iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode. You must restore this iPhone before it can be used with iTunes.

iTunes alerting Recovery Mode popup

iTunes alerting Recovery Mode popup

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Febryan Paudi (940 Posts)

Febryan Paudi is Apple enthusiast. Falling in love with Apple-tech since 2008, loves Blogging since high-school. Google+


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