Unbricking Your iPod Touch with the Manual DFU Procedure

March 19th, 2008

If you are as curious as I am, you’ve probably managed to brick your iPod touch by now. I bricked mine within 24 hours of owning it. It happened sometime after I installed Apollo and changed the root password using SSH and the passwd command. After I did that, my SpringBoard process stopped working, and was continually getting restarted by launchd because it was crashing consistently (according to “ps -A”). Nice loop really! Anyhoo, I renamed the /System/Library/CoreServices/SpringBoard.app/SpringBoard binary to SpringBoard.bak (so launchd would quit trying to restart it), and ran it myself with ./SpringBoard.bak. I got a really funky error message like this:

ABORT: Unable to register "PurpleSystemEventPort" port, 1103 unknown error code

Now that is a cool error message! (note to self: Use random colors in future error messages).

At one point, I was able to run SpringBoard on the command line and it would stay up, and I could use the interface. Here’s a cool trick: Run SpringBoard from the command line over SSH, and then Ctrl+Z it to suspend it. Notice that your UI is totally frozen on the iPod. Cool stuff! Type “fg” and the UI comes back to life. This much fun should be illegal.

At this point, my Windows XP computer would no longer make the happy “ding dong” sound when I plugged the iPod into the USB port. And, of course, iTunes could no longer detect the iPod. D’oh! This is when I started to get a bit scared. I googled for an iPod touch reset utility like I had used on my 1st generation iPod Nano, but no luck.

After some googling and some help from the good folks on #iphone, I learned that I needed to get the iPod into “DFU mode”, which is a special mode that will indicate to iTunes that there is a bricked iPod that needs to be restored. Here’s the procedure to manually put the iPod Touch into DFU mode:

  1. Turn on your iPod (in my case it would only get as far as displaying the Apple logo
  2. Hold the power and home buttons down (the iPod will power off after 10 seconds, but keep holding those buttons down)
  3. After the iPod powers off, release the power button (but keep holding the home button down)
  4. After a couple more seconds, you should hear that magical “ding dong” that means the iPod is coming back alive, and that Windows has detected it. You may even see a little “New hardware” popup in Windows. It is now safe to release the home button, and your iPod is in DFU mode.
  5. Now iTunes will see it as a DFU’ed iPod and should ask you to automatically restore its firmware.
  6. iTunes has to download the new firmware, and it takes a while, so go make a sandwich.

In case you’re wondering, the “power button” is the one on top, and the “home button” is the one under the screen.

Happy iUnBricking!

107 Responses to “Unbricking Your iPod Touch with the Manual DFU Procedure”

  1. Dave Says:

    By the way, when I unbricked and reinstalled installer.app, it told me to not use the passwd program to change the password on firmware 1.1.3 because it’ll make SpringBoard (the main desktop launcher program) crash continually. Well, that’s what I did on 1.1.4 and had the same problem, so the advice probably stands for 1.1.4 as well.

  2. sarthak Says:

    I was using 1.1.4 and looped in same problem.
    Thanks for the information.

  3. G. Pullen Says:

    Thanks, you’re a lifesaver!

  4. JIL Says:

    Thank you sooo much i thought it was broke and i did not have the insurance to turn mine in for a new ipod touch!

  5. MarkT Says:

    *evil scientist voice on* Innnnterrrresting! *evil scientist voice off*

    Thanks a lot for that! I’d just installed OpenSSH and changed the root password, only to have – I assume – Summerboard go nuts on me. Since the power and home buttons seem to operate via software rather than hardware, you have to use the command-line to save yourself (thank the Budda for *nix based OS’s).

  6. kaykoa Says:

    THANK YOU for posting this. I found you via google, and i’m so glad I did. Now I know what caused it! That darn passwd app. That’s the problem with iPhone/iPod Touch tutorials, some of them are out of date, and you really have to be careful. No worries though, I was able to change the name of springboard like you did and AFP in to copy some data off. (ebooks, etc)

    All will be well soon, I just wish I didn’t just cost myself over an hour of my life putting this thing back the way it was. Oh well, at least we have ijailbreak.com :)

  7. Fellowiphoners Says:

    Could it work if you passwd change to the older password alpine ?

  8. Dave Says:

    No, I tried changing the password back to “alpine” with the passwd program, but the problem persisted.

  9. Hawkins Dale Says:

    Dude, you saved my bacon. I can report that your button-fu works with a Mac as well as with Windows.

    So what made this happen? Was it because I changed the root password? The security nerd in me insisted that I do this, blissfully unaware that there were system applications that are HARD-CODED to expect a particular password.

    I can also report that, consistent with Dave’s experience, resetting the password back to its original value did NOT help.

    So of course I’m going to try the whole thing again. I was too deliriously happy with my multiple HP calculators to go back to being in jail.

  10. I UN-Bricked My iPod Touch at hawkinsdale.com Says:

    […] I found a blog post from a dude named Dave […]

  11. Hawkins Dale Says:


    I have documented my little iPod freak-out (pretty much identical to yours) on my blog, and plagiarized your instructions blatantly (with attribution). I hope you don’t mind.

    I kind of think that this is important. I didn’t find anything on the Apple support site that explains how to set an iPod Touch to I AM A BRICK PLEASE FIX ME mode.

  12. kat Says:

    Man, good thing i found this. I was having same problem. I changed the password via terminal on mac. And this went wonky.

    So there’s no other way to change the password? I’m stuck with alpine?

  13. Dave Says:


    To my knowledge, you cannot change the root password but you should be able to restrict ssh access by editing sshd_config to only allow people to connect using key-based authentication instead of password-based.

    Good luck!

  14. Alex Says:

    Damn, thanks for this guide: 18 hours into ownership I bricked it as well, didn’t know I had to disable the lock code, itunes doesn’t initialize properly with it enabled apparently…

  15. Ian Says:

    I tried this but only get the “USB device not recognized” message on my computer, and the recovery screen on the iPod Touch. Any other tips?

  16. Nick Charles Says:

    mate you are a life saver!! i have been searching the net for the past hour trying to find out how to stop my ipod, which was stuck in a DFU mode loop, untill i found you :)

    thank you so much

  17. Jeff Says:

    Thanks you so much, a friend of mine had her ipod touch bricked. And she just bought it, this saved her a trip to the store and possibly the warranty being voided.

    Again, thanks a bunch!

  18. CPAV Says:

    thank you. i love you.

  19. bobnoxious Says:

    Your method was the only one that has worked for me. I think my iphone was stuck in a DFU loop and was not being recognized by iTunes. Thanks you are a lifesaver.

  20. Carlete Says:

    Life saver… thought my iphone was dead :P… all of this for trying to crack intelliscreen :S

  21. dylan Says:

    thanks so much…!!

  22. Seema Says:

    Thanks man, Really helped me…your The Man :)

  23. Amber Says:

    THANK YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ive been searching for about a week – nothing worked but this!!!

  24. phil Says:

    I cant seem to get mine in DFU mode….im doing it correct but my ipod wont turn back on after ive turned it off automatically. any help?

  25. Elias Says:

    Thank you!!!! I was starting to believe that I can’t have nice Things!
    …what can I say? I’m speechless! Thank you!

  26. Tom Says:

    Omg i was all most crying when mine bricked and when u stated wait for the ding dong noise i held the home button in and wallah it worked.

    I ow you so much thank you so so so much.

  27. Aldo Says:

    Hey man… thanks a lot, I think it worked…
    I was so desperate that I couldn’t even sleep well

    Thanks again and right now I’ll go to the kitchen to
    make a sandwich… hahaha


  28. Amy Says:

    Omg I was so scared that I broke it loll.
    Thank you so much it worked :]<3

  29. WizKidd Says:

    i was so pissed whenmy ipod stopped, you are a life saver. Thank god for the internet. u da man. Thanks so so much

  30. Phoenix Says:

    Thats really cool, thanks! Although now my Itunes (which is the latest one) is saying Software for my ipod is not available? any ideas?

  31. Dave Says:

    Phoenix: I’ve never seen that error. Have you tried googling the exact phrase that iTunes gives you? Perhaps put quotes around the phrase in your google search?

  32. Austin Says:

    Man!!!! YOU ARE A GENIUS!!! Thank you!! Thank you soooooooooooooo much I suffered with this problem for like a month!! Thanks again!! ^^

  33. zach Says:

    windows will not recoginze my ipod after i tryed to put intno dfu for some reason it is stuck at the app;e boot logo and windows does not see my ipod at all for the odiest reason i have no ideal

  34. corie Says:

    my ipod is locked for a really long time and i dont have the original computer that it was synced to so does any body no wat i can do

  35. KEAK Says:

    DUDE thank you your a life saver.

  36. Danny Says:

    man, i thought i killed my ipod. thanks so much im so relieved!

  37. Adam Says:

    Not good! i did this to my ipod to fix it and when i went to restore it, i got this error message. “Software for the ipod not available. make sure you have the latest version of iTunes and try again”. i do have the latest version of iTunes and it still doesn’t work. Help

  38. Daniel Says:

    saved my life

  39. Ryan Says:

    I have the EXACT same problem as Adam! please help!

  40. Rembert Says:

    Adam and Ryan: download firmware from http://www.felixbruns.de/iPod/firmware/

    Then do the procedure as explained by Dave but: don’t just click on restore but hold the shift button (Windows) or Option button (Mac). You’ll get a dialog box allowing you to choose the firmware to install.

    This said, I have an iTouch which is stuck in DFU. Uploading firmware always breaks with several errors, like 1600, 6 and some more. Right now I’m trying to upload 1.1.1 and it’s taking ages, already an hour now. That’s something new.

  41. cole Says:

    THANK YOU SOOOOOOO MUCH! while jailbreakin’ in the past i have bricked it 4 times, and i had to send it off to apple. now my warranty is gone, so while installing the 3.0 software, it got bricked. yay! THx

  42. Jonathon D. Says:

    thanks you from the bottom of my heart. Worked like a charm!!!!!!

    Installed the 3.0 beta torrent and it worked fine for a week or 2 but today i was welcomed by a bright purple connect to itunes screen. When i connected to itunes it gave me a huge error!!!!

    When i followed your instructions set me back to 2.2.1 with no problem. Once again thank you SO much!!!!

  43. nestor Says:

    well if anyone can help me out, i tried jailbreakin mine and i messed up somewhere . so now my itouch 2g just goe’s into a REstore mode loop. it wont’ come out of it. i’ve tried restoring it in dfu mode but no luck same thing keeps happening. :(

  44. anonymous Says:


  45. Nick Says:

    For anyone who tries to click the restore button and bets the error message on windows do this 1.hold shift and click restore and a box should pop up. 2.go to the c: drive and go to the name of the computer. 3.click on roaming. 4.click on app data. 5.click on iTunes. 6.click on iPod software updates or restores (it is the first one at the top.) 7.click on the latest software you have which is the first one givin. Now you should have a bar saying extracting and let it do it’s thing and you should be set

  46. Nick Says:

    By the way the c: drive is the hard drive

  47. Nick Says:

    The c: is located on the my computer tab thing

  48. EVAN Says:

    You are a life saver, thank you so much for this simple way to unbrick. . . I didn’t even know what bricked meant. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  49. Basim Says:

    Thanks. This helped me out :)

  50. JB Says:

    thanks mate, this helped me out a lot.

  51. Toby Says:

    Many thanks – we thought it had died and we’d need to buy a new one!

  52. Shortcutcraig Says:

    i haven’t been able to get out of DFU mode for nearly 2 days now!! AND i need to get out of it, but don’t know how to get out of it. plz help

  53. Stuart Says:

    Lots of very interesting stuff herer and I am currently trying your methiod, Dave.
    However, the little dialogue box which says ‘RESTORING IPOD SOFTWARE’ has now been running for an hour. The little empty bar below the Apple logo on my Ipod Touch hasn’t filled up at all, which makes me wonder whether anything is happening.
    Should I just abandon?
    My whole problem started when I went on to iTunes and it offered a software update for the Touch……..I accepted, then everything went pear-shaped.

  54. Sarah A Says:

    Thank you! I can’t tell you how many websites and support sites I visited and nothing worked until I read what you posted. The key to my trouble was holding both the power and home button – but NOT releasing the home button until it recognized my iPod Touch! None of the other sites informed me to keep holding the home key down. I updated my Touch with the new software, and the original computer I was using with my Touch crashed. I have since gotten a new computer and reinstalled iTunes twice – to no chagrin. So I’m hoping that restoring it will work.

  55. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you so very much! Two of my friends were having problems with their ipod touches and I couldn’t find out what to do. Then I came here did what you said and BOOM! They finaly showed up in itunes. Thanks a lot :)

  56. harp Says:


  57. Aaron Says:

    yessss this article was good but wasnt good for my solution
    what happened to me was i was trying to jailbrake my ipod touch 3.1.2 and it all went wrong as i disconnected the ipod thinking it stopped
    now i was stuck in recovery mode and it showed the usb cable and itunes logo
    i coouldnt get out and i was so sad as ive only had the ipod for 1 day lol
    now i just went to another computer and installed itunes on their and it succesfully restored my ipod to its factory settings

    thanks for all these sites because without them i wouldnt have a clue what to do

  58. Steve Says:

    HEEEELP. Mine gets an error of 1601 when restoring. I have a 3GS bought in December 2009 3.1.2 latest iTunes, BB 5.11.07, jailbreaked before using blackra1n. It goes in DFU mode but not on Recovery Mode anymore… ever.

    What can I do? I already tried 3 PC’s, using the back USB ports, tried every USB port, reinstalled iTunes, charged overnight through wall outlet, used iRecovery, used iREB but with no LUCK of waking it up.


  59. Nel Says:

    I had the same problem using blackra1n. I installed some icon program which needed rebooting. after reboot, itunes ask the unit to be restored/upgraded which i did. the unit stopped restoring up to the firmware not restored error. after that, it never recovered from restore mode even if i did everything i read from the net (pressing power and home and leaving home button for a few seconds afterwards). I had the unit sent to apple service provider and they replaced the unit. I tried the same thing on the 2nd unit, hours after receiving it and the same thing happened. I now had my 2nd ipod touch bricked once more. any help??

  60. it worked! Says:

    thanks this was great saved me $200

  61. Marchello Says:


  62. Keith Says:

    Pal, your instructions worked to the ‘t’. I was this close to tracking down Steve Jobs so I could punch him for his rotten product that bricked after owning it for less than a week because I had the audacity to try downloading an Apple update directly from Apple. My morning has now been un-ruined, and you are my hero for the day.

  63. Jose Says:

    Man,TTTHHHHAAAANNNNKKKKSSSS a lot. You saved my life.

  64. katrina Says:

    heyy i have an ipod touch, im pretty sure its the newest virsion and its 8gb. my ipod wont turn on, ive tried holding the 2 buttons but it still wont do anything. when i plug it into my computer, nothing comes up. i havent droppe it or anything. would you be able to help me? thanks

  65. Adam Says:

    Same thing. LEDGEND!

  66. Jo Says:

    I unbricked my ipod touch but when I try to restore I get the error msg ipod could not be restored an unknown error occured (6) Does anyone know how to fix that

  67. Anonymous Says:



  68. Alisha:D Says:

    This Worked

  69. TWEETY Says:


  70. kroud Says:

    you saved my life!

  71. Lauren Says:

    omg. i thought it was dead forever. thanks a million!

  72. Aidz Says:


  73. Ela Says:

    Thank you so much! I though something was wrong with the battery. Thank you! :)

  74. Tracyw Says:

    My bricked Ipod touch is now working again, after being stuck on the apple logo for what seemed like forever.
    I am truly grateful.

  75. Bloo Says:

    thanks u i dont have to send my ipod touch for fixing thanks

    ps i am going to all my friends

  76. dustin Says:

    hey i tried to use the dfu but in my tries my computer comes up installin unknown device and then tells me it cant install the driver and it dont show up in itunes tell after the computer installs the driver HELP!!!!! please and thank u

  77. bla Says:

    omg thank you so much..its taking a while but i know its going to work thank you sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much!! your so weird guy but i love you so much thanks

  78. rex Says:

    Omg, a capital THANK YOU !!! I tried the home and on/off switch buttons together several times, but nothing gave until I followed your steps.

    I jailbrok my ipod touch 3g 3.1.3 on spirit and ran limera1n JB without reading up all the details. I know, I skipped a few steps and did not update my firmware to 4.1 first, I thought I did that, but this was a different device. Anyways, thanks for the fix, and you are AWESOME!!!!!! Thanks for posting the guide, cheers.

  79. John E Says:

    Ever try downloading firmware via dial-up?

    iTunes said 39 hours!

    Thanks apple, you got $600. I got a brick!


  80. Someone Says:

    Thank you so much! You’re a lifesaver!

  81. M Says:

    sudo “go make a sandwich”

  82. muffalicious Says:

    Thx worked like a charm

  83. Fernando Says:

    THANK YOUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  84. La Grenouille Says:

    This just happened to me too. Sucks:

    “hey i tried to use the dfu but in my tries my computer comes up installin unknown device and then tells me it cant install the driver and it dont show up in itunes tell after the computer installs the driver HELP!!!!! please and thank u”

  85. Chanel Says:

    Made my day! THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH

  86. Toriy day Says:

    You are awesome!!!! You made my day!!!

  87. raheem Says:

    hahah thanks man you are the best people like you should be heros anyway my ipod lagged when i was essing with i file in ipod so never mess withit k people

    thanks mate

  88. Steph Says:

    OMG thank you so so much i was freaking out so bad

  89. Desperate Karen :'( Says:

    Dave please I really Need your help bigtime man. I put ma Ipod touch on dfu mode just like you said all the way to step 6 then my net went spazzy so I waited to the next day and got it done with my friend who owns an internet cafe. He wasnt much help.

    Now my ipod doesnt show when I connect or try turning it on what do I do? help guys anyone. Please am desperate :'( :'( :'(

  90. varuna Says:

    Hi Dave

    I got my iPod back! Thank you so much dave

  91. JORGE Says:

    THANK U !!

  92. Deb Says:

    hi i have got it into DFU numerous times and itunes at first wouldnt restore i got error (9) and at one point 1601 nut now it jas restored fully twice but still it is stuck on the apple logo. I even jailbroke it with green poison it did it, the apple turned into a skull then it restarted and went back the apple again!!!! Is there anything else i can try or has it had it altoghter?

  93. Elementninja Says:

    I have a different problem than yours. I tried jail breaking my iPod Touch with a method called Green Poison (which was probably a stupid idea) and I think it jail broke it successfully but when I tried to turn my iPod on it would just freeze. I already tried restoring it in Recovery Mode but that failed and now my iPod won’t be detected OR turn on! Is there ANY way at all how to fix this.

  94. Krystal Says:

    hey i went to reset all content and now my ipod touch 2nd gen 8g is only showing the apple logo how do i fix it

  95. zee Says:

    Do not use green poison, it almost always fails, thats what happened to me :/

  96. Harry Says:

    Thanks, i thought it couldnt get fixed

  97. Kelly O Says:

    I reset my ipod touch (not the first time but first time with issues) and I can get the apple screen and the connect screen. my computer nor Itunes will pick up the ipod now. After following your directions I have the “DingDong” and it says “the device has been successfully installed” below that it say it is “searching preconfig driver folders” beside unknown device & AMD usb driver. It has been searching now for over an hour. My itunes still doesn’t pick up the ipod and it still has the connect logo on the ipod. Any suggestions?

  98. Tj Says:

    I knew about putting it in recovery mode i was so glad you had instructions on timing ^.^ i already bought a ipod nano b/c im just a music fiend but ill just give my old itouch to my lil bro he wouldn’t mind thanks again

  99. Eddy Wilde Says:

    You absoloute legend!! I LOVE YOU! You actually understand what I mean! :D :D Thanks!

  100. Dylan Curwood Says:

    Mate your are a fucking legend thanx heaps

  101. jacob Says:

    hey my ipod touch will not restore in dfu mode it keeps giving me the 1601 error and i have updated itunes! help please

  102. Anonymous Says:

    All my apps & settings & music & all my buttons dissapeared

  103. ANONYMOUS Says:

    Thank you SOOOOOOOOOO Much! :) you really are a life saver.<3

  104. Sarah Says:

    Oh god, I tried fifty trillion tutorials and they all failed. This one worked on the first try–THANK YOU SO MUCH

  105. Smoggy 1 Says:

    superb this worked and i am over the moon i had a back up on the computer and all has restored very many thanks excellent ///////////////////

  106. TJ1 Says:

    My 3rd Gen iPod touch wont go into DFU mode! I keep trying and trying and it won’t go into it. It won’t power all the way down when I hold the power and home button either. When I power it down(using the “slide to turn off power”), unplug it, plug it back up while holding the home button, it just shows the home page. It never gets DFU’ed. About to use my ipod as a baseball!

  107. bamagurl Says:

    i have an ipod 2 gen my son ran completly dead, we changed the battery, now when we plug into the wall outlet it shows the connect to itunes logo, but when i connect it to the computer i just get a black screen please help fix this

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