If something goes really wrong with your iPhone and resetting the device does not work, you need to use Recovery Mode. Recovery Mode for iPhone (and iPad and iPod) essentially lets you put your iPhone in a stable environment, so you can reinstall a newer version of iOS on it.
If you’re having a lot of issues with the software on your iPhone or the performance is lagging noticeably, there could be problems with its software. If there are problems with iOS, a simple reset will not fix it – you need to take more drastic measures. This is where Recovery Mode comes in…
Of course, it goes without saying that you will need to back up your iPhone before using Recovery Mode. Failure to do this will result in you losing everything stored on your phone, so make sure you back-up before you use Recovery Mode.
Got it? Good! Here’s how you use Recovery Mode on the iPhone…
How To Access Recovery Mode on iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XS & iPhone XR
- Recovery Mode on the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X is a little different from earlier models because Apple ditched the physical Home key.
- If you’ve left iTunes running on a computer, close it.
- Plug your Lightning cable’s USB plug into your computer.
- Plug your Lightning cable’s Lightning plug into your iPhone.
- On your phone, open iTunes.
- Press and release the phone’s Volume Up button, then do the same with the Volume Down button, and finally press and hold the side button until the Connect To iTunes screen appears.
How To Access Recovery Mode on iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus
The iPhone 7 series still has a Home button, but it’s a Force Touch key rather than a physical clicker. As such, similar to the iPhone 8 and onwards, the iPhone 7 series uses the volume keys for controlling Recovery Mode.
However, it operates a little differently from the iPhone 8 series and up.
- Open iTunes on the computer.
- Switch your iPhone 7 off by holding down the Power Key for three seconds, then swipe the Power Off slider to the right.
- Press and hold the Volume Down key.
- Plug the iPhone into your computer.
- Release the Volume Down key when you see the Connect To iTunes screen.
iPhone 6s Series & Earlier Recovery Mode (Also iPad & iPod Recovery Mode)
- Open iTunes on the computer.
- Turn off your iPhone, iPad, or iPod device.
- Press and hold the Home button.
- Plug your iPhone, iPad, or iPod into the computer.
- Release the Home button when you see the Connect To iTunes screen.
How To Get An iPhone Out Of Recovery Mode
Once you’re done using Recovery Mode, it is important that you exit the tool in the correct manner. Just as with most things in the world of tech, simply pulling out the cable can – and has been known – to cause issues, so it’s always advisable to follow the current procedure when existing Recovery Mode.
The following steps show you exactly how to exit Recovery Mode in a correct and safe manner:
- If you need to get out of Recovery Mode, ensure that your Apple device is connected via the cable to your computer running iTunes.
- Hold the Home button and Power keys down at the same time.
- The Apple logo should appear, though it may take a few moments. Once it does, you can release the buttons.
- Leave the device plugged in until it reboots and shows the lock screen. When you see the lock screen on your device, you are out of Recovery Mode.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.