iPhone or iPad - How to activate Recovery Mode

How To Put Your iPhone or iPad in Recovery Mode

iPhone or iPad - How to activate Recovery Mode

Modern electronic devices are certainly complicated, and can get into a confused state from time to time. Resetting can clear out random problems that cause the device to get stuck in a loop, appear sluggish or otherwise impair their performance. You can easily reset your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to factory default settings. If you are experiencing problems - even if the device fails to boot - you can reinstall the entire iOS operating system.

For a less drastic solution to your iPad / iPhone problem, you should first try restarting or force-restarting your iDevice.

iPad in Recovery Mode

There are several recovery / reset options, and this page will go through them from the simplest to the complicated. You will need a PC or Mac with latest iTunes installed to restore your device's operating system. It really helps if you have a previous iCloud backup available. If you are concerned that your iPhone or iPad is not backed up, do not despair: there's a usually good chance that the unit has made automatic backups to iCloud that you are unaware of (this is the default for modern iPhone and iPad devices). Example: when you bought the unit new, it would have prompted you for a Apple ID, this usually established a free iCloud account and some automatic backups are likely to be in that free account.

Perform a Factory Reset

The Apple standard factory reset is a fast and easy option. It will reset your device to a "as new" condition, erasing all your personal settings, apps, and other local data.

When this process is completed, you will be prompted to complete the first-time setup process again.

Any data that is synced to your iCloud account or another online service will be restored after you log into your device with your personal user information. If you have set up iCloud, this will automatically back up local app data and restore it after you reset the device and reinstalled your apps.

This type of reset is ideal if you want to get your device in a 'like new' state, helpful if you are selling the device or just passing it along to someone else.

To perform a standard factory reset, tap the Settings app icon on your device's home screen. Tap the General category in Settings, then scroll down and tap Reset. Tap Erase All Content and Settings  and enter your PIN when prompted. On a modern iPhone or iPad, your device will remove the encryption key that protects access to your data, ensuring it cannot be recovered and marking the memory sectors as available for use. This process will only take a few minutes.

iPhone / iPad - Perform a Standard Factory Reset

Update or Restore your device through iTunes


  1. Install the latest version of iTunes on your computer.
  2. Connect your device to your computer.
  3. Open iTunes and select your device.
  4. Click Summary, then click Check for Update.
    iTunes : Select Device and click Check for Update
  5. Click Download and Update.
  6. If asked, enter your passcode.


Note: All data is erased from the device, including songs, videos, contacts, photos, and calendar information; all original settings are restored.

iTunes can download the device's operating system from Apple and reinstall a fresh copy of it on the device, replacing the device's operating system and really starting over from scratch.

First, open iTunes on your computer (you should make sure it is the latest version - apple.com/itunes/download). You should ensure you are using the latest version of iTunes for this.

Next, connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to your PC or Mac computer with the included USB cable. The USB cable is normally attached to the wall charger - it's the same cable you use to charge. Unlock your device with your PIN and tap the Trust button to trust your computer.

Tap / Click the Trust button to allow the connection

Select your device when it appears in iTunes and click the Restore button. iTunes will restore your device with a clean copy of the iOS operating system, removing all your personal files and other data and replacing the entire operating system.

iTunes performing a Restore to a iPad

Restore From Recovery Mode

If your device will not boot or the standard restore process will not work properly when you try it from iTunes, you will need to use recovery mode to fix your device. Ensure iTunes is open on your computer before beginning this process.

To enter recovery mode, you will first need to turn off your device completely. Press and hold the power button and slide to turn it off. If the device is not responding, press and hold the power and home buttons at the same time for a few seconds to turn it off. (In the case of the iPhone 7, press and hole the power button and the volume down button.)

Next, connect your device's USB cable to your computer. Press and hold the home button until the "Connect to iTunes" screen appears - you will see a connector pointing at an iTunes icon. You can now release the button. If you don not see this screen and the device just boots normally, try the process again. Ensure you hold down the home button until the screen appears.

iPhone in Recovery Mode

iTunes will inform you that it has detected a device in recovery mode.

iTunes detecting an iPad in Recovery Mode

Congratulations, you are now in Recovery Mode! If your iOS device's condition was severe enough, you might even see a message like this one from iTunes, saying that your device needed to be restored because it suffered from a problem:

iTunes showing the iPhone required an Restore or Update

You should always try the Update feature first, because this option will preserve your device's settings and keep all your files and app data as they are on the device.

If the above options fail to fix the problems you are having, then your device may have a hardware problem.

In some cases, your device may be too damaged to use Recovery Mode for a restore.

Another thing to consider is that if is locked down with a Activation Lock you will not be able to restore the device with Recovery Mode without knowing the device's passcode.

iPhone indicating the device was lost and erased

About iPhone Recovery Mode

Recovery mode can be defined as an in-built safety mechanism designed to prevent an iOS device from suffering further damage, whenever it is experiencing problems.

Once your iPhone or iPad goes into recovery mode, it automatically loads up a boot loader program known as iBoot. This program checks the firmware on your device and performs tests to confirm that things are working as they should be.

Your iPhone should automatically go into recovery mode, whenever there is something wrong with it รข€“ like a faulty iOS installation or an upgrade gone wrong.

Unknown to you, your iPhone also goes into recovery mode while installing iOS updates. However, users do not notice this as everything happens in the background.

What Problems Can Recovery Mode Help With

Putting an iPhone or iPad into recovery mode and restoring it using a stable iTunes backup or as a new phone can help your phone to recover from following problems.

1. iPhone is not functioning normally after a software update, especially in case you tried a beta version and it is not working for you.

2. Your iPhone or iPad has become unresponsive or frozen for some unknown reason.

3. You are seeing the dreaded black screen with Apple logo on your device.

Black screen with Apple Logo showing - stuck

4. iTunes Errors like device not recognized or device stuck on "Connect to iTunes".

5. You have forgotten your passcode and there is no option but to get your device into recovery mode and restore it to factory default settings.

Note: Before following the steps below, make sure that you have a backup of your iPhone available at iTunes.

Steps to Put iPhone in Recovery Mode

Follow the steps below to manually enter recovery mode on your iPhone or iPad. It is advisable to have a backup of your iPhone on iTunes or iCloud.

1. Make sure that your iPhone or iPad is sufficiently charged (over 50~60% should be good enough).

2. Make sure that you have the latest version of iTunes on your Laptop, PC or MAC and you are logged into iTunes on your computer.

3. Plug the USB Side of your iPhone's "Lightning to USB cable" into the USB port of your computer.

Note: Only the cable needs to be plugged into the computer and not your iPhone.

4. Turn Off Your iPhone

Press and hold the Power button for a few seconds, until you see the "Slide to Power off" message on your screen. Power off your iPhone by moving the slider to the right. (See image below).

Slide to power off prompt

Note: Power button, also known as Sleep/Wake button is located at the right edge in iPhone 6 and at top right side in iPhone 5s and previous models.

5. With your iPhone completely turned off, press and hold the Home button and connect the other end of the "Lighting cable" to your iPhone. (Connect lightning end to iPhone). Do not release the home button yet.

iPhone Home button

6. At first you will see the Apple logo appearing on your screen, do not release the home button yet. Keep holding the home button till you see the recovery mode screen (iTunes logo and cable) - See image below.

iPhone in recovery mode

7. Your iPhone is now in recovery Mode and you can release the Home Button.

8. You will get a message on your screen saying "The software on iPhone needs to be restored to factory settings or updated" - You will be provided with options to Cancel, Update, and Restore.

iTunes Restore or Update prompt

When you choose Update, iTunes will try to reinstall iOS without erasing your data. Normally, the iOS update will  be completed within 20 minutes.

In case you are unable to complete the update and your device exits from recovery mode, you will need to repeat the above steps and choose Restore this time.

Note: Selecting "Restore" while in recovery mode will erase all documents, data, apps and games from your device.

Note that you can get back all your data using an iTunes backup (assuming you have made one).

How to Get Out of Recovery Mode Without Restoring

If you need to cancel the process, you can quickly get out of recovery mode without going through the process of updating or restoring your device.

1. Just press and hold both the Home and Power buttons, keep them pressed for about 10 seconds until you see the white Apple Logo appearing on your iPhone screen.

Exit from Recovery mode with a restore

Note: It does take some time for the White Apple Logo to appear;  1) first the recovery mode screen will disappear 2) next, you may see a black screen for a few seconds or more (do not release the buttons yet)

2. Keep holding the Home and the Power buttons till you see the White Apple Logo (See image in step#1 above).

3. Your iPhone will be completely out of Recovery Mode when you can see the lock screen of your device.

Tip: You can also Power off your iPhone by Pressing and Holding the Power and Home buttons, all at the same time. Try this in case "Slide to Power off" option is not working.