How do I restore my iPad if it wont restore?

If your iPad is stuck during a restore or won’t restore at all, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can try to get it working again. Restoring an iPad erases all of its data and settings and installs the latest version of iOS, so it’s important to try restoring before exploring other options.

Try Force Restarting Your iPad

If your iPad won’t restore, the first thing to try is force restarting it. This resets the device and clears any software issues that may be preventing the restore process from completing successfully.

To force restart an iPad with a Home button, hold down the Home and Power buttons at the same time until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

For newer iPad models without a Home button, quickly press and release the Volume Up button, press and release the Volume Down button, then press and hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears.

After force restarting, try restoring your iPad again in iTunes or Finder and see if it goes through successfully. Force restarting will not delete any of your iPad’s data – it just reboots the device to clear out any glitches.

Check for Error Messages During Restore

If force restarting does not work, pay close attention to any error messages that appear on your computer or iPad during the restore process. These can provide clues as to what is preventing a successful restore.

Common error messages include:

  • “Error 14” – The iPad cannot be restored because the firmware is not compatible with your device.
  • “Error 21” – Your computer cannot communicate properly with the iPad.
  • “Error 3014” – The iPad is stuck in recovery mode and must be force restarted.
  • “Error 9” – The iPad cannot be restored due to an internal software error.
  • “Error 4013” – The iPad cannot be restored because the firmware file is not compatible.

Research the specific error code online to troubleshoot possible solutions. This can help identify if the issue is with your computer, the USB cable, iTunes or Finder, the firmware file, or the iPad itself.

Update Your Computer and Device Software

Outdated software is a common cause of iPad restore errors. Make sure you have installed the latest version of iTunes or Finder on your Mac or PC and that your iPad is running the current version of iOS.

To get the newest macOS or Windows updates on your computer, go to System Preferences/System Settings > Software Update. On an iPad, install iOS updates through Settings > General > Software Update.

After updating your software, try restoring your iPad again. The latest apps and operating systems often include bug fixes that resolve device restore issues.

Use a Different USB Cable

Sometimes the USB cable is the culprit behind iPad restore problems. If you see errors indicating your computer cannot communicate with the iPad, switch to using a different Lightning cable.

Make sure the cable is an official Apple cable, not a third-party one, and that it does not show any obvious signs of damage. Try connecting your iPad to a different USB port as well in case the original one you used is faulty.

Using a brand new USB cable that you know works correctly will help determine if the cable is the cause of your failed iPad restores.

Restore With a Different Computer

If you continuously get error messages when trying to restore your iPad on one computer, try performing the restore on a different computer instead.

Borrow a friend or family member’s Mac or PC and connect your iPad to it using a cable you know works properly. Then download the latest version of iTunes or Finder and attempt the restore again.

If the iPad successfully restores on the borrowed computer, then there is likely an issue with either the software or connection ports on your original computer that is preventing successful communication with the iPad.

Put Your iPad in Recovery Mode

As a last resort, you can try putting your iPad into Recovery Mode and restoring from there.

To enter Recovery Mode:

  1. Connect your iPad to your computer using the USB cable.
  2. For iPad models with a Home button: Hold down the Home button while connecting the USB cable to your computer. Keep holding the Home button until you see the Recovery Mode screen.
  3. For iPad models without a Home button: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button. Then press and hold the Side button until you see the Recovery Mode screen.

Once your iPad is in Recovery Mode, try restoring it again through iTunes or Finder on your computer.

Recovery Mode bypasses the normal startup process and allows a restore to take place through a special boot mode. This can resolve underlying software issues that are preventing the standard restore procedure from completing properly.

Restore iPad Using DFU Mode

DFU (Device Firmware Update) Mode is an even deeper restore state than Recovery Mode. It stands the best chance of successfully restoring your iPad if other options have failed.

Here is how to put your iPad into DFU Mode:

  1. Connect the iPad to your computer while powered off. Launch iTunes or Finder.
  2. For iPad models with a Home button: Press and hold the Home and Power buttons together for 10 seconds. Release the Power button but keep holding the Home button.
  3. For iPad models without a Home button: Press and hold the Volume Up button and Side button together for 10 seconds. Release the Side button but keep holding the Volume Up button.
  4. Keep holding the Home or Volume Up button until your iPad shows up in iTunes or Finder in Recovery Mode.
  5. Proceed with the restore in iTunes or Finder.

DFU Mode restores your iPad using a low-level firmware file instead of the typical iOS restore file. This can fix deep system issues and get your iPad restoring properly again in cases where Recovery Mode does not work.

Restore iPad Using Finder or iTunes

Here is a step-by-step guide to restoring your iPad using Finder on a Mac or iTunes on Windows:

Mac Instructions (Finder)

  1. Connect your iPad to your Mac using a USB cable and launch Finder if it does not open automatically.
  2. Select your iPad under Locations in the Finder sidebar.
  3. Select General in the sidebar and click the Restore iPad button.
  4. If prompted, enter your Apple ID password and click Turn Off Find My. This disables Find My iPad activation lock.
  5. A progress bar will appear showing the restore in progress. Do not disconnect your iPad until it completes.
  6. The iPad will reboot into a Hello screen once finished. You can then set it up as new or restore a backup.

Windows Instructions (iTunes)

  1. Connect your iPad to your PC using a USB cable and open iTunes.
  2. Select your iPad by clicking the device icon in the upper left corner of iTunes.
  3. Click Restore iPad on the Summary screen. Click Restore again to confirm.
  4. Enter your Apple ID password if prompted to disable Find My iPad.
  5. Monitor the progress bar as your iPad is restored. Do not disconnect it until finished.
  6. The iPad will restart to the Hello screen when done. Set up as new or restore an iCloud or iTunes backup.

This will completely wipe your iPad and install the latest iOS software. If the restore succeeds, you can then reload your data and apps from an iCloud or iTunes backup.

Fix iPad Stuck in Recovery Mode

If your iPad gets stuck in Recovery Mode and does not progress to the restore, here are some tips to fix it:

  • Force restart your iPad – Hold Home + Power (older models) or Volume Up, Volume Down, then Side button (newer models) until Apple logo appears.
  • Try a different USB cable, computer, and USB port.
  • Update computer and iTunes/Finder to the newest versions.
  • Hard reset iPad – Press and hold Home + Top button for 10+ seconds until Apple logo appears.
  • Enter DFU Mode instead and restore from there.

Avoid resetting your iPad while it is stuck in Recovery Mode, as this can make the problem worse. Follow the steps above to exit Recovery Mode properly before force restarting your device.

Fix iPad Unable to Restore Due to Find My iPad Activation Lock

If you see an error about being unable to restore due to Find My iPad needing to be disabled, follow these steps:

  1. Enter your Apple ID password when prompted in iTunes or Finder.
  2. If you don’t remember your password, reset it at
  3. If you no longer have access to the Apple ID, you will need to have the activation lock removed. Contact Apple Support for proof of purchase.
  4. Activation lock can also be removed if you have a previous iTunes or iCloud backup that contains the iPad’s data.

Apple’s activation lock feature is designed to deter theft and prevent anyone else from using your iPad if lost or stolen. So you will need to disable it with your Apple ID password or proof of purchase before the iPad can be erased and restored.

Fix Error 3014 in iTunes/Finder

Error 3014 indicates that the iPad is stuck in Recovery Mode and needs to be force restarted to continue.

To resolve it:

  1. Force restart your iPad – hold Home + Power buttons (older models) or Volume Up, Volume Down, then Side button (newer models) until you see the Apple logo.
  2. After restarting, take the iPad out of Recovery Mode by following the on-screen instructions in iTunes/Finder.
  3. Try restoring again once your iPad boots up to the Home screen.

This should clear the error 3014 and allow a successful restore after properly force restarting the iPad.

Contact Apple Support for Hardware Issues

If you still cannot get your iPad to restore after trying all other troubleshooting, the device may have an underlying hardware problem preventing restoration.

Contact Apple Support and schedule a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store for further diagnosis. Be sure to back up your data first if possible.

Apple Support can run diagnostics tests to pinpoint hardware faults like an unresponsive logic board, faulty dock connector, Touch ID sensor damage, or other component failures that require service or replacement.

Your iPad may need to be sent into Apple’s repair center if the issue cannot be resolved at the Genius Bar. Apple can repair or replace any internal parts preventing your device from being restored.

Get Your iPad Professionally Repaired

For faster service, you can bring your iPad to a local repair shop instead of the Apple Store. iPad repair technicians have experience restoring iPads and can troubleshoot restore issues quickly.

A quality independent or authorized Apple service provider should offer same-day iPad repair. Look for shops with strong reviews and experienced techs.

A pro repair can be less hassle than going through Apple Support if you need to get your iPad fixed right away. Make sure to get an estimate upfront so you know the cost.

Restore iPad Using Recovery Software

Specialty iOS recovery software tools like Dr.Fone and iSkysoft can restore an iPad even when traditional methods fail. These programs work directly on the iPad’s firmware to unfreeze it.

To use recovery software to restore your iPad:

  1. Download the software to your computer. Dr.Fone and iSkysoft have free trial versions.
  2. Connect your iPad to your computer using a USB cable.
  3. Open the software program and follow the on-screen instructions to enter Recovery or DFU Mode.
  4. The tool will automatically download the firmware file and restore your iPad.

Make sure to research the software thoroughly first to ensure it is legitimate and safe to use. Recovery software allows deep-level restoration when other options are unsuccessful.

Restore iPad from iCloud Backup

Once your iPad is restored to factory settings, you can set it up as new or restore your data and settings from an iCloud backup:

  1. When asked how to setup your iPad, tap Restore from iCloud Backup. Sign in with your Apple ID.
  2. Choose the desired backup from the list of available backups.
  3. Wait for all of your apps, data, and settings to be restored.

As long as you have a recent iCloud backup, you can get your iPad working just like before once you get past the initial restoration process.

Restore iPad from iTunes Backup

To restore an iTunes backup to your iPad after resetting it:

  1. When asked how to setup your iPad, select Restore from iTunes Backup.
  2. Plug your iPad into your computer using a USB cable.
  3. Open iTunes and select your iPad. Choose Restore Backup and pick your backup.
  4. iTunes will load the backup onto your iPad to restore its data and settings.

iTunes backups provide a way to restore your iPad if you do not use iCloud. Just make sure your backup is current before resetting your device.

Reset All Settings to Fix Software Issues

An alternative to fully restoring your iPad is to simply reset all settings instead. This preserves your data and apps while erasing network settings, Home screen layout, and other software-based issues.

To reset your iPad’s settings:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings
  2. Enter your passcode if prompted
  3. Confirm that you want to reset all settings

This may resolve any software glitches or conflicts that are preventing a proper restore without needing to completely wipe your device.

Update to Latest iOS Version

Make sure your iPad is running the newest iOS version before troubleshooting restore problems. Older iOS versions can cause system errors.

To update your iPad:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Software Update
  2. Download and install any available updates
  3. Press Install Now when prompted

Updating your operating system can fix bugs that disrupt the iPad restore process. Keep your device up-to-date for best performance.

Check iPad Storage for Other Issues

If your iPad storage is completely full, it may cause system instability and restoration problems. Always make sure to have at least 20% free space.

To check your storage:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Storage
  2. Review available space for iPad Storage, Apps, Photos, etc
  3. Offload unused apps or large files if needed

Freeing up storage can get your iPad working smoothly again and prevent issues when trying to restore.


Restoring your iPad using iTunes or Finder is an effective troubleshooting step if it is acting up or frozen. Force restarting, updating software, using different cables, and entering DFU Mode can all help restore a stuck iPad.

For hardware issues, take your device to Apple Support or a professional repair shop. Resetting your iPad erases all data, so make sure anything important is backed up first.

With some patience and by methodically trying different solutions, you should be able to successfully restore your iPad to factory settings even if it initially seems stuck.