iPhone Recovery Mode, How To

There is an updated version of these instructions which can be found here.

Since so many people have been having trouble with their iPhones I figured I would do a quick how to on putting your iPhone into recovery mode. Now this is your last line of defense so don’t jump to this step immediately, turning off the phone or trying to force quit the application (hold down home button) or even force restart (hold down lock and home button for 8 seconds) are a lot better because you won’t lose any backed up data but if you can’t get the darn phone to boot here’s what you do.

  1. Hold down the lock button and home button to force turn off the iPhone.
  2. Hold the home button down as you plug in the USB cable between your iPhone and your computer.
  3. Let go of the home button when a “Connect to iTunes” screen appears.
  4. iTunes will recognize that your iPhone is in recovery mode and allow you to restore from the latest firmware version.
  5. If you have a good backup of your iPhone it iTunes will offer to let you set up the iPhone as a new device or restore from the backup.

I don’t suggest restoring from a backup just because I haven’t had any good luck doing that but the couple of times that I restored the phone and set it up as a new phone it was a heck of a lot more stable than the time I restored from a backup.

I hope this helps you all and if you want tips on how to keep your iPhone stable you can read my post about it here or the follow up to it here.


  1. im only 14 so i dont know everything about iphones. im pretty good with electronics, but i just couldnt figure this one out! haha, but anyway, thank you so much for posting this, it helped a lot


  2. My iPhone seemed to be be until today when I plugged the headphones, it sort of switched off itself. I tried to get it back using iTunes but nothing worked. Then I decided to restore to the default settings, the process started but iTunes keeps telling me “unknown error (2006)”. Any ideas?

  3. @U-london

    I would navigate to ~/Library/iTunes/iPhone Software Updates and delete the 2.2 firmware file, called something like iPhone1,1_2.2_5G77_Restore.ipsw. Then try to restore the phone again. If you are getting any errors at all don’t restore from a backup, just do a clean install and have iTunes look at it as if it was a brand new device.

    It’s also possible that your iPhone is connected to a hub instead of directly to your computer’s USB port, if so connect it directly to your computer, the iPhone sometimes has trouble when it isn’t directly connected.

  4. Thanks Michael. I was getting the same error message 2006. I trashed the .ipsw as you instructed and did a clean install after connecting the Iphone directly to the USB port on the computer and it resored the phone perfectly.

    Thanks a lot.

  5. hi,
    i am using iphone 8 gb in india my phone is in recovery mode automatically.followed thr procdure of recovery after some time i tunes appears with maeeasge unknown error 13 and 14 sim.

  6. @gaya prasad try deleting the ipsw file as I mentioned in the comments above and retry the restore process. When restoring be sure not to restore a backup, you might lose some data (such as your Notes) but in the end the iPhone will be much more stable.

  7. I have a 2g iphone.I’m havin trouble with da phone , whenever I lock da screen da phone powers off . I have 2 connect it 2 my charger and then it will start up again. Can u help?

  8. hey michael i got the same problem as gaya but u said i need to delete ipsw. how do i do that and where do i find that? thx

  9. everytime i turn on my iphone it always say connect to itunes, how can i put it back to normal where i can do my own stuff again like before?

  10. @Eric1234321 The .ipsw firmware files are located in:
    Windows: Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates
    Mac: ~/Library/iTunes/iPhone Software Updates

    Look for the most recent firmware file, it will be called something like “iPhone1,1_2.2.1_5H11_Restore.ipsw”
    Delete the most recent file and then try to restore from iTunes.

  11. hey michael,
    im just beginning to have problems with my iphone. yesterday, i went to check my messages and it came up and said that i should connect it to itunes so i just tried that. nothing is responding and it says- itunes has detected an iphone in recovery mode.you must restore this iphone before it can be used with itunes.

    I wasnt sure how this happened and what my next step was.

  12. hi, so my phone went into recovery mode and the computer i used to jailbreak it crashed and my new computer will not recognize the phone at all.. wat should i do..
    p.s. my computer wont let me download ziphone or pwnage or ibrickr

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