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DFU Mode for Dummies

Discussion in 'iPad Hacking' started by f4780y, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. f4780y
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    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well OK, not just for dummies, for all of us who ever want to upgrade, downgrade, or jailbreak our iPads!
    From time to time we will need to use DFU Mode. This little thread explains what it is, why you need it, and how to activate it. Once you've done it a few times you'll be a DFU expert and be able to activate it in your sleep.

    What is DFU mode?
    Device Firmware Update (DFU) mode is a special failsafe mode which Apple has built into all of their devices so that they can restored to a stock iOS firmware regardless of the state they may be in. It is implemented at a lower level than the normal recovery mode, which shows the "connect to iTunes cable" graphic on the screen of the iPad.
    DFU mode by contrast has a completely blank screen so there is no way to tell you are in DFU mode by looking at the device.

    What's the difference between DFU and normal recovery mode?
    When your iPad is in normal recovery mode you will see a graphic like this...

    [​IMG]
    (remember, if you see this picture you are NOT in DFU mode)

    DFU mode by contrast is working at a lower level in the bootloader environment, which happens without any interaction with iOS. This is the very reason DFU mode saves us from a corrupted firmware, because it is not a part of the iOS firmware at all. As already stated, when you are in DFU mode the screen stays blank.

    When iTunes communicates with the a device in normal recovery mode it it may not find things quite as it expects if you are jailbroken. It is for this reason (and probably quite a few others) that using recovery mode will invariably fail if you are trying to update or restore a jailbroken iPad resulting in a rather cryptic iTunes error.
    In DFU mode the firmware is irrelevant and the restore will always succeed (assuming there is not a hardware fault). It basically wipes the storage and installs a fresh iOS regardless of what is there already.

    DFU Mode is the reason it is it is impossible to brick your iPad through software.

    When do I use DFU mode?
    There are several scenarios when you will need to use DFU mode, some of which may be:

    1. If you have to upgrade or restore a jailbroken iPad
    2. If you have to downgrade iOS using SHSH Blobs
    3. If iOS becomes corrupt or stuck in a loop for whatever reason
    4. During the jailbreak process to enable a pwnd DFU state and then apply the payload / custom firmware

    So I can use DFU mode to downgrade to any firmware I like?
    Yes, BUT have you heard the news about SHSH Blobs? Using DFU mode does not and cannot bypass Apple's firmware signing security model. If you want to install an old version of iOS you MUST have saved SHSH Blobs for the version and device you want to install it on. See the hacking section sticky for more info - http://www.ipadforums.net/ipad-hacking/59291-shsh-blobs-faq-new-improved-2012-a.html

    How do you activate DFU mode?
    In order to put your device into DFU mode, with the iPad connected to your computer and turned on or off (it doesn't matter), you must press the "home" and "power" buttons together for EXACTLY 10 seconds at which point you must release "power" but continue to hold "home". After about 15 seconds, the device will enter DFU mode.

    There is no way to tell from the screen that this has happened as it will remain blank. If you see the Apple logo, the "connect to iTunes" graphic, or anything but a blank screen, you got the timing wrong. You can just try again until you get it right. It is perfectly normal for the iPad to reset just before the 7 second mark. Do not be put off by this. The timing of your button release must be exactly 10 seconds. It is best not to even look at the screen! You may like to try using your watch or a clock to get the timing precise. Hold both buttons, count to 10 seconds exactly, release the power button but keep holding home. Simple!

    A slightly alternative method which you may prefer (this is the one I use), is to hold both buttons until the iPad resets (screen turns black) then count to 3 (and a bit!) and release the "power" button. This is exactly the same timing as the first method, it's just your trigger point to start counting is 7 seconds into the process when the reset occurs.

    What is I have a broken home or power button?
    If you don't have both buttons working full on your device, you can still enter DFU mode using the redsn0w jailbreakers tool. This process will NOT jailbreak your device. It simply puts the device into DFU mode without using buttons. See our guide here - http://www.ipadforums.net/jailbreak...ate-dfu-mode-when-you-have-broken-button.html

    If everything went to plan iTunes should now recognise a device in recovery mode and prompt you to restore it.

    On Windows, it may take a few seconds to install DFU mode device drivers if this is the first time you have used it. DO NOT interrupt the process. Otherwise iTunes will never recognise the device and you'll have to do a bit of maintenance in the control panel to get things working. If this happens, try plugging the iPad into a different USB slot, but have patience!

    Happy DFUing everyone!
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012
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  2. Good karma
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    Good karma iPad Addict

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    Wow what a great explanation for such an important process, OP YOU DESERVE A MEDAL

    i saw the dfu term you told briannna to get her iphone fixed but had no idea what it was. Many thanks for the great advice

    Sent from my iPad using iPF, using iOS 4.3.2
  3. Tim SPRACKLEN
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    Tim SPRACKLEN iPad Legend

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    Yes - Leigh definitely deserves a medal - I am in awe of his expertise and his ability to explain complex concepts so that even I can understand. Brilliant, Leigh - thanks. Reading about DFU mode made me move a few inches closer to thinking about jail breaking.....

    Tim
  4. f4780y
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    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Stop it, I'm blushing!
  5. Laban
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    Laban iPF Novice

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    Cool - everything I need to know about this in one post! Thank you!

    Can the procedure above be done regardless of the state the device is in (on/off/sleep)?
  6. f4780y
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    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Absolutely, but if it is off, turn it on first! Any other state is pretty much irrelevant... I've updated the instructions. Thanks.
  7. OUTL4W
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    OUTL4W iPad Addict

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    Excellent explanation...As always...:)
    My question is what is the difference between DFU and restore mode and what is restore mode used for?
    My understanding is if you are overwriting a jailbreak with a jailbreak then it is advised to use restore mode?
    :eek:
  8. f4780y
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    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    You wont be able to restore any JB over a JB in restore mode AFAIK. DFU only. I'll add an explanation in a moment...
  9. f4780y
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    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I've updated the post with a few new sections. Shout if you have any further questions.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2011
  10. androgilicious
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    androgilicious iPF Noob

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    I just ran your jailbreak instructions. When iTunes came up I only got the restore button. Where is the Option button? Now my iPad is stuck with the Apple and a long white horizontal oval. What do I do now?
  11. f4780y
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    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The option key is the special key on Apple keyboards which you use for functions like copy, paste, etc. Hold that down WHILST you click the restore button with the mouse...
  12. dclifford
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    dclifford iPF Noob

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    I have Ipad 1 jailbroken on 4.2.1 and my home button has been messing up for about a week. My IPAD is under warranty and Best Buy told me to just bring it in. I used Tiny Umbrella to save my SHSH blobs. Is it correct that I can enter DFU Mode and restore to factory settings (which will remove everything and make it so they cannot tell it was jailbroken), take my IPAD in and get it fixed, and then once I get it back, use Tiny Umbrella to go back to 4.2.1, and then rejailbreak it, and put all of my apps and everything I currently have back on my device? I am nervous about doing this but I have to get my home button fixed!! Any help would be greatly appreciated!
  13. f4780y
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    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes you should DFU restore before taking it back, but why would you go back to 4.2.1after? 4.3.3 is jailbroken and works well.
    What are the symptoms with your home button? If it is intermittently not working, especially in Cydia, this is likely a jailbreak tweak which is not behaving properly. It is not that uncommon... Did you install anything new lately? If you are sure it is a hardware fault, by all means return it though.
  14. dclifford
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    dclifford iPF Noob

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    That is true, I don't necessarily have to go back to 4.2, I just want to make sure I am able to return my ipad to the state it was in prior (jailbroken, cydia, etc). I have a limited understanding of all of this. The home button will work sometimes but usually not at all. I haven't installed anything new since this started happening so I just assumed it was a hardware problem. Is there anything I should try before restoring and taking it in, or should I just restore if I have not recently installed anything?
  15. dclifford
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    dclifford iPF Noob

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    Also, when I do go to 4.3 what jailbreak method is preferred?
  16. f4780y
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    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, when you restore your iPad to stock 4.3.3, why not just try and use it for a day? If there are no problems with your home button then you know it was definitely a rogue tweak... Identifying which one it was would then be your problem... Trial and error I would imagine...

    As for which method is best for 4.3.3, personal choice is the answer, but if you do a clean restore to 4.3.3 as suggested above, then redsn0w will get you jail broken again very quickly and reliably. Look for the sticky in our tutorial section for guidance.
  17. Provident
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    Provident iPF Noob

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    Hi
    Can I use DFU mode to Upgrade iPad 2 running firmware 4.3.1 to firmware 4.3.3 .
    I'm thinking Jailbreakme.com but is that only for firmware 4.3.3 ?
    Thanks
  18. darksun45230
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    darksun45230 iPF Novice

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  19. pEAcEmAKeR
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    pEAcEmAKeR iPad Fan

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    Great thread! I'm actually just aware that I came across this sometime ago. I googled "How to get your iPad in DFU mode" for my friend, and came across this, and it really helped him!
  20. SixDegrees
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    Can someone clarify.... I believe I'm in DFU mode and I'm attempting a restore. Screen is black and I don't have any logos / icons on screen. But once the process gets to 'restoring iPad software...' the screen goes white for a second and then the Apple logo and progress bar appear.

    Is this still in DFU mode or has the device jumped out of DFU?

    I'm trying to undersrtand why I can't seem to restore my iPad (update to 4.3.5 crashed and foreced a restore and now restore hangs at approx 20% progress)... I had assumed that going into DFU mode would resolve this as stated above it by-passes the iOS.

    Any help is appreciated as I simply want my iPad to work again.

    iPad 1, 64GB, 3GS WiFi.

    Thanks

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