How to Hard Reset or Force Restart All iPhone 12 Models

by

Apple's iPhone 12 mini, ‌iPhone 12‌, iPhone 12 Pro, and ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ Max come in different sizes compared to last year's iPhone 11 series, but they still share some common design elements with Apple's 2019 models, such as an all-screen design and no Home button on the front.

Video tutorial on how to hard reset or force restart your iPhone 12:



If you're upgrading from a device with a Home button, keep reading to learn how to power on and off, force a restart, enter DFU mode, enter recovery mode, activate Emergency SOS, and temporarily disable Face ID. Below you'll find step-by-step guides for performing the button combinations of all of the above functions, along with explanations of what the more obscure ones do and why they might one day come in useful.

How to Hard Reset the iPhone 12 (All models)

  1. Quickly press and release the Volume Up button.
    iphone 12 buttons front copy
  2. Quickly press and release the Volume Down button.
  3. Press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears, then release the Side button.

During this process, you will see a slider to power off the iPhone. You're going to want to ignore it and continue holding down the Side button until the screen goes black. At that point, the Apple logo will pop up, and after the restart is complete, the screen will activate once again.

Using the force restart process prevents you from having to shut the iPhone down entirely, which takes several more steps.

If you do want to shut the iPhone down, you can do so by going to the General section of the Settings app, scrolling down to the bottom, and choosing the Shut Down option.

iPhone 12 Button Basics

Apple changed many of the physical button functions on its smartphones with the launch of the ‌iPhone‌ 8 and ‌iPhone‌ X, so if you're upgrading from a device that pre-dates these 2017 models, you'll want to familiarize yourself with them.

iphone 12 buttons front
Face the screen of your new ‌iPhone‌ and you'll see that there are two volume buttons on the left-hand side, and a single Side button on the right-hand side. With no Home button to speak of, these three side buttons work in combination to undertake all of the necessary functions.

Other Useful Things to Know

How to Power on iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max

To turn on your new ‌iPhone‌, press the Side button once. If the Apple logo doesn't appear on the screen, the device may need charging – plug it into a power outlet using the supplied Lightning cable, and let it charge for at least a few minutes before trying again.

iphone x xs 11 power on
Press and hold the Side button along with the Volume Up or Volume Down button until two sliding buttons appear on the screen.

How to Power off iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max

power off

  1. Press and hold the Side button along with the Volume Up or Volume Down button until two sliding buttons appear on the screen.
  2. Release the physical buttons and swipe right on the slide to power off button at the top of the screen.

How to Activate Emergency SOS on iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max

Activating Emergency SOS on your iPhone automatically calls emergency services and sends a text message with your location information to the people in your emergency contacts. For this reason, you should only use it when you're in danger or facing a genuine emergency. Note that you'll need to enter your iPhone's passcode to reenable Face ID and unlock your iPhone after performing Emergency SOS.

sos

  1. Press and hold the Side button as well as either one of the Volume buttons, so that you're essentially squeezing either side of the device.
  2. Keep squeezing until the Emergency SOS countdown initiates on the screen. You can either wait for the countdown to finish or slide it across to call the emergency services immediately and alert your emergency contacts.

If you don't want Emergency SOS to automatically call emergency services when the Side button is pressed, make sure to disable Auto Call via Settings -> Emergency SOS -> Disable Auto Call.

settings

How to Disable Face ID on iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max

Disabling Face ID on your iPhone makes it so your passcode has to be entered to unlock it. By disabling facial authentication, a police officer or malicious person can't unlock your iPhone simply by holding it in front of your face.

iphone11faceid

  1. Press and hold the Side button.
  2. Press and hold either Volume button.
  3. Tap the Cancel button that appears at the bottom of the screen.

Troubleshooting Functions

Apple changed the process of activating the following troubleshooting functions with the launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, so if you upgraded from a device that pre-dates these 2017 models, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with them in case you run into problems.

How to Enter Recovery Mode on iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max

Entering recovery mode can help if you're having trouble updating or restoring your iPhone over the air. For example, if the screen shows the Apple logo for several minutes but no progress bar appears, you can try putting the device in recovery mode and restoring it with iTunes. Here's how it works.

  1. Using the Lightning cable that came with your iPhone, connect the device to your computer. If you're using a Mac running macOS Mojave or earlier, or you're connecting to a PC, make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed.
  2. On a Mac running macOS Catalina or later, open Finder. On a Mac with macOS Mojave or earlier, or on a PC, open iTunes. If iTunes is already open, close it, then open it again.
  3. With the iPhone connected, force restart it with the following steps, but don't release the buttons when you see the Apple logo. Instead, wait until the recovery mode screen appears.
  4. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.

  5. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  6. Press and hold the Side button until you see the recovery mode screen, then release it.
    connect to iTunes

  7. If you're using iTunes, select your device in the iTunes sidebar. Otherwise, select your device in the Finder sidebar.
  8. When you see the option to Restore or Update, choose Update. Your computer will try to reinstall the software without erasing your data. Wait while your computer downloads the software for your device.

How to Exit Recovery Mode on iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max

Simply press and hold the Side button until the "Connect to iTunes" screen disappears, and your iPhone should reboot back into iOS.

How to Enter DFU Mode on iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max

The forced restart procedure described above can help if an iPhone is freezing, throwing up errors, or has stopped responding completely. DFU mode (standing for Device Firmware Update) on the other hand restores an iPhone if a restart or entering standard Recovery Mode doesn't solve the problem you're experiencing.

Apple iPhone 12 Blue frontimage cable
DFU mode lets the device interface with Finder or iTunes, update the firmware, and restore the OS without automatically installing the last downloaded version. It's useful for installing older versions of iOS if a beta persistently hangs your phone, or if a jailbreak goes bad.

Before following the steps below, make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed on your computer.

  1. Turn on your iPhone if it isn't already.
  2. Connect it to your computer using a Lightning to USB cable.

  3. On Macs running macOS Mojave or earlier and PCs, make sure that iTunes is running. On Macs running macOS Catalina or later, make sure Finder is running.
  4. On your iPhone, press the Volume Up button immediately followed by the Volume Down button.
  5. Next, press and hold the Side button (or power button) until your iPhone's screen turns black.
  6. Release the Side button and then hold down both the Side button and Volume Down button together for approximately five seconds.
  7. Now release the Side button, but continue to press the Volume Down button.
  8. Wait for at least five seconds for Finder or iTunes to recognize DFU recovery mode has been enabled.

If you're using iTunes, you should see a message dialog saying "iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode. You must restore this iPhone before it can be used with iTunes". If you're using Finder, you should see a similar message. If you don't see the message, repeat the steps above.

Once you've closed the recovery prompt you can go ahead and restore your iPhone back to factory settings by selecting Restore iPhone on the iPhone Recovery Mode screen. Once restored, your iPhone will automatically exit out of DFU mode and boot up to its activation screen.

How to Exit DFU Mode

If you enabled DFU mode and want to manually exit out of it, here's how it's done.

  1. Press the Volume Up button on your iPhone and quickly release it.
  2. Press the Volume Down button and release it.
  3. Press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears on your iPhone's screen.

Your iPhone should now have exited DFU recovery mode.

Related Roundups: iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro

Top Stories

m1 chip macbook air pro

Kuo: Redesigned MacBooks With Apple Silicon to Launch in Second Half of 2021

Tuesday November 24, 2020 7:53 pm PST by
Apple plans to release additional MacBook models with Apple Silicon in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as part of the company's two-year transition away from Intel processors across its Mac lineup. In a research note today, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said that these MacBook models will feature a new design. Kuo did not specify which models these will be, but he...
Apple Watc black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Watch Deals [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 4:01 pm PST by
Black Friday sales have begun on a variety of products, including the Apple Watch. There are quite a few deals across the Apple Watch lineup this year, including one of the lowest price we've ever seen the Apple Watch Series 3. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the...
AirPods Pro black friday 20 sale feature 2

Black Friday 2020: AirPods Pro Reach Lowest Price Ever [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 3:22 pm PST by
Black Friday has kicked off this week, and one of the first major sales for the AirPods Pro is available right now on Walmart. You can find this deal below, along with a few other solid discounts on the regular AirPods. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site...
13 16 inch macbook pro air trio

Reliable Leaker Suggests Redesigned MacBooks in 2021 Will Include Both Apple Silicon and Intel Models

Wednesday November 25, 2020 9:15 am PST by
Reliable leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today suggested on Twitter that redesigned MacBooks coming in the second half of 2021 will include models with both Apple Silicon chips and Intel processors. The brief Tweet came in response to a MacRumors article from earlier today, which outlined a report from Ming-Chi Kuo claiming that Apple plans to release redesigned MacBook models with Apple ...
mac mini macbook pro macbook air

Apple M1 Hands-On Comparison: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro vs. Mac Mini

Monday November 23, 2020 3:40 pm PST by
Apple's M1 Macs are out in the wild now, but ahead of the holidays, you might still be trying to figure out which one to pick up, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else. We've got all three of the new Macs available, so we thought we'd give MacRumors readers a hands-on overview of each machine in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
app store christmas icon

Apple Shutting Down App Store Connect From December 23 to December 27

Monday November 23, 2020 10:14 am PST by
Apple shuts down App Store Connect for a week around the holidays each year in an effort to give App Store staff time off from work. This year, App Store Connect will be unavailable from December 23 to December 27. With App Store Connect unavailable, Apple will not accept new apps or app updates, so all pricing changes and new app submissions need to be locked in before those dates for...
iPads black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best iPad Deals [Updated]

Tuesday November 24, 2020 8:51 am PST by
Black Friday is underway, and we're tracking discounts across Apple's lineup of iPads, including the current-generation 10.2-inch iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Pro. We'll be keeping this post updated as new deals appear and current ones expire, so be sure to keep checking back for the latest. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a...
Target November Deals 1

Black Friday Spotlight: Target Begins Week-Long Sale With Deals on iPhone 12, Powerbeats Pro, and More

Monday November 23, 2020 8:07 am PST by
We've been tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Target. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running....
new mac mini logicpro screen

M1 Macs Able to Run Up to Six External Displays Using DisplayLink

Tuesday November 24, 2020 6:53 am PST by
It is possible to run up to six external displays from the M1 Mac mini, and five external displays from the M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, with the aid of DisplayPort adapters, according to YouTuber Ruslan Tulupov. This far exceeds Apple's specified limits on external displays with the M1 Macs. Apple's host of new M1 Macs are not capable of supporting as many external displays as their...
2020 apple shopping event

Apple Offering Up to $150 Gift Card With Select Products on Black Friday Through Cyber Monday

Monday November 23, 2020 2:53 am PST by
Apple has announced its annual four-day shopping event, offering customers up to a $150 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of select products between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States. The gift card values in the United States are as follows: $150 for 16-inch MacBook Pro $150 for 21.5-inch iMac $50 for 13-inch MacBook Pro $50 for MacBook Air $50 for iPhone SE,...