How to Put iPad in Recovery Mode: Step-by-Step Guide

Jonathan Kao

Silver Ipad

Putting your iPad into Recovery Mode is a useful step when dealing with software issues that normal troubleshooting cannot resolve. Recovery Mode can help you update or restore the device’s software using a computer. This process is especially helpful if your iPad is unresponsive, if you’ve forgotten your passcode, or if the screen directs you to connect to iTunes. It’s important to note that using Recovery Mode to restore your iPad will erase all content and settings, so it’s wise to back up your data beforehand if possible.

Different iPad models have slightly different ways to enter Recovery Mode. For iPads with a Home button, you would press and hold both the Home and the top button until the Recovery Mode screen appears. On iPads without a Home button, press and quickly release the Volume Up button, press and quickly release the Volume Down button, and then press and hold the top button. Recovery Mode requires the use of a cable and computer with the latest version of iTunes (or Finder on macOS Catalina and later). Once in Recovery Mode, you can restore your iPad to its factory settings or update its software.

Troubleshooting Your iPad: Entering Recovery Mode

Sometimes, you might encounter issues with your iPad that require you to put it into Recovery Mode. This mode allows you to update or restore your device using a computer. Here’s how to place your iPad into Recovery Mode:

Important Notes Before Starting

  • You’ll need either a PC with iTunes or a Mac with the Finder app.
  • Make sure you have a compatible USB-C or Lightning cable to connect your iPad.

Putting Your iPad into Recovery Mode (iPad with a Home Button)

  1. Press and hold: Press and hold both the Home button and the Top (or Side) button.
  2. Hold until recovery screen: Keep holding the buttons until the recovery mode screen appears on your iPad.

Putting Your iPad into Recovery Mode (iPad without a Home Button)

  1. Quick press, quick release: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  2. Do the same for Volume Down: Press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  3. Hold the Top button: Press and hold the Top button until you see the recovery mode screen.

Using Recovery Mode

  • Connect to Computer: Once in recovery mode, connect your iPad to your computer via USB.
  • Open iTunes/Finder: Launch iTunes (on your PC) or Finder (on your Mac). You’ll see a message about your device on the computer screen.
  • Choose Your Option: You’ll have the option to either “Update” (which attempts to fix the problem without wiping data) or “Restore” (which fully resets your iPad).

Table: Model Specific Instructions

iPad ModelInstructions
iPad with Home ButtonPress and hold Home + Top (or Side) button until recovery screen
iPad without Home ButtonPress and release Volume Up, press and release Volume Down, hold Top button until recovery screen

Remember, Recovery Mode should be used when standard troubleshooting steps fail to resolve your iPad issues.

Key Takeaways

  • Recovery Mode is used to update or restore an iPad’s software through a computer.
  • The method to enter Recovery Mode varies based on the iPad model.
  • Back up data before using Recovery Mode to prevent data loss.

Executing Recovery Mode on Various iPad Models

Entering recovery mode can solve many issues with the iPad. It’s essential for troubleshooting, updating iOS, or restoring the device. The process differs slightly depending on whether your iPad has a Home button or not.

Initiating Recovery Mode on iPads with Home Button

For older iPad models such as the iPad Mini, iPad Air, and earlier iPad Pro devices that come with a Home button, the steps to enter recovery mode are as follows:

  1. Start by turning off the iPad. To do this, press and hold the Power button, then slide to power off.
  2. Connect the iPad to your computer using a USB cable. If you have a Mac with macOS Catalina or later, open Finder. For a Mac with macOS Mojave or earlier, or on a Windows PC, open iTunes.
  3. Hold down the Home button on the iPad.
  4. While holding the Home button, connect the other end of the USB cable to the iPad.
  5. Keep holding the Home button until you see the recovery mode screen, which shows the Apple logo or a cable pointing toward an iTunes icon.

Initiating Recovery Mode on iPads without Home Button

For newer iPad Pro models with Face ID and no Home button, follow these steps:

  1. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  2. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  3. Press and hold the Top button. Continue holding it even when the Apple logo appears.
  4. Don’t release the Top button until the recovery mode screen is displayed, showing a USB cable and a computer icon.

During the process for either iPad model, look out for prompts on your computer screen. You’ll need to decide whether to update or restore the iPad. If you choose to update, the iPad will try to reinstall iPadOS without erasing your data. If you decide to restore, it will erase all data and install iPadOS anew. Remember to back up any important data to iCloud or your computer before initiating recovery mode to prevent data loss. If the issue persists, consider seeking help from an Apple Store or Apple Support.