How to Put Your iPhone into Recovery Mode

No matter which iPhone you have, Recovery Mode is a last-resort solution that can be a quick fix for many software issues. Whether your screen is frozen or your system update failed, regular troubleshooting and restarting methods aren’t always effective. This is where Recovery Mode comes in.

How to Put Your iPhone into Recovery Mode

In this guide, we’ll go through the process of restarting iPhone 13, 12, 11, X, 8, 7, and 6 in Recovery Mode. We’ll also give you some advice on what to do if Recovery Mode fails.

How to Restart an iPhone X, 11, 12, and 13 in Recovery Mode

In many situations, you have to restart your iPhone in Recovery Mode as a final solution. You should consider using Recovery Mode when:

  • Your iPhone won’t turn on or turn off
  • The screen is frozen or completely unresponsive
  • Your computer doesn’t recognize your iPhone
  • You install an iOS update, and your iPhone keeps restarting
  • The Apple logo is stuck on the display

The basic difference between Force Restart and Recovery Mode is that you need to use a computer to restart your iPhone when it’s in Recovery Mode. That’s why you will need to connect your iPhone to a computer using a USB cable before getting started. We also highly recommend backing up your iPhone on your iCloud, since there is a possibility of losing all your data.

Since iPhone X, 11, 12, and 13 don’t come with a home button at the bottom of the screen, you will only be using the side volume buttons to enable recovery mode. This is what you need to do:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer via a USB cable.
  2. Launch Finder or iTunes on your computer.
    Note: If you’re using a newer version of macOS, like macOS Catalina, you need to open Finder. If you’re using an older macOS version, like macOS Mojave or earlier versions, you can go straight to iTunes. Windows users also only need to launch iTunes.
  3. Press the Volume Up key on the left side of your phone.
  4. Release the Volume Up button.
  5. Press the Volume Down key on the left side of your phone.
  6. Release the Volume Down button.
  7. Press and hold the Side key on the right side.
  8. Wait for a laptop icon to show up on the display. This indicates that your iPhone is now in Recovery Mode.
  9. Locate your iPhone on your computer.
  10. On Windows, choose Check for Update or Restore iPhone on the pop-up window, Update or Restore on Mac.
    • If you click on the Check for Update or Update button, this will update your software, and all your settings, content, and data will be preserved. If all goes well, you’ll need to give your computer some time to download the software and make all the necessary changes.
    • On the other hand, if you click on Restore iPhone or Restore, all your data will be erased. This is why it’s important to back up your device to your iCloud account. If you tried to update your iPhone’s software, but it didn’t work, you will be prompted to restore your iPhone. You’ll know that the update failed if your iPhone exits the Recovery Mode display after more than 15 minutes of updating.
  11. When finished, remove the USB cable.
  12. Hold the side button until the phone is turned off.
  13. Restart your iPhone.
  14. Set up your device.

The process of restarting your iPhone in Recovery Mode is the same for iPhone X, 11, 12, and 13. It’s very important to open iTunes after you connect your iPhone to your computer. If iTunes was already opened, make sure to close it, and then open it again when the two devices are linked.

No matter which option you have chosen, the final step is to set up your device. This is how it’s done:

  1. Press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo pops up.
  2. Choose your language.
  3. Connect your device to a Wi-Fi network, cellular network, or iTunes.
  4. Think of a password.
  5. Set up Face ID or Touch ID.
  6. Restore your apps and data from the iCloud backup or from your Mac or PC.
  7. Sign in with Apple ID.
  8. Enter the verification code.

You’ll also be asked if you want to enable automatic system updates, set up Siri and screen time, and other features. Any issues you had with your iPhone should be fixed at this point. However, if you’re still experiencing any problems, like an error, try doing the following:

  • Update your Mac or PC
  • Install the latest version of iTunes
  • Connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC via USB cable
  • Force restart your iPhone
  • Try to update or restore your iPhone again

How to Restart an iPhone 6, 7, 8 in Recovery Mode

For iPhone 6, iPhone 7, and iPhone 8, Recovery Mode is activated by pressing different combinations of buttons. Before you enable Recovery Mode, make sure that you’re using the newest version of iTunes and that your Mac is up to date. If you’re using Windows, you need to have the latest Microsoft version.

To restart an iPhone 6 (or earlier versions) in Recovery Mode, follow the steps below:

  1. Press and hold the Side button and the Home button at the same time.
  2. Wait a couple of seconds until the Recovery Mode screen appears.

This is what you need to do to enable Recovery Mode on iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPod touch:

  1. Press and hold the Side button and the Volume Down button at the same time.
  2. Wait for the Recovery Mode display to appear.

Finally, this is how you can enable Recovery Mode for iPhone 8 or later:

  1. Press and release the Volume Up button.
  2. Do the same for the Volume Down button.
  3. Press and hold the Side button.
  4. Wait for the Recovery Mode display to appear.

While the button combination is different for these iPhone models, everything else is the same. This means that you should connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC with a USB cable before you put your iPhone in Recovery Mode. Moreover, you need to open Finder or iTunes (depending on which macOS version you have). If you’re a Windows user, go straight to iTunes.

Once you enabled Recovery Mode on your iPhone 6, iPhone 7, or iPhone 8, this is what you need to do:

  1. Find your device on your Mac or PC.
  2. On Windows click on the Check for Update or Restore iPhone button on the pop-up window. For Mac the options are Update or Restore.
  3. Wait for your computer to update/restore your iPhone.
  4. Unplug the USB cable.
  5. Hold the Side button until your phone turns off.
  6. Turn on your iPhone.
  7. Set up your device.

Although this process might take a few minutes of your time, it will fix any software issues your iPhone has. If you’re still experiencing issues with your iPhone, even after resorting to Recovery Mode, your only other option is to contact Apple Support.

Start Fresh

Even though restarting your iPhone in Recovery Mode is seen as a last-resort option, it’s the right thing to do if you’re experiencing software issues. If you follow all the steps from this guide, you shouldn’t come across any obstacles. Once you restart your device and set it up, you can continue using it like nothing has happened.

Have you ever restarted your iPhone in Recovery Mode before? Did you use the same methods from this guide? Let us know in the comments section below.

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