DFU Mode Restore (Macs)

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Only on T2 Macs!

  • 2018+ A1989/A2159 13" MacBook Pro
  • 2018+ A1990 15" MacBook Pro
  • 2019 A2141 16" MacBook Pro
  • 2018+ A1932 13" MacBook Air
  • 2018+ A1993 Mac mini
  • 2017 A1862 iMac Pro
  • 2019 A1991 Mac Pro
  • 2020 A2338 13" M1 MacBook Pro
  • 2020 A2337 13" M1 MacBook Air
  • 2020 A2348 M1 Mac mini

DFU mode is needed (rarely) to restore the T2 firmware when:

  • Failed macOS upgrade/reinstall/Security Update
  • Failed Combo or Delta update
  • Unable to boot into the current OS Internet Recovery using command + option + R
  • Unable to successfully create computer account and log in after erasing and reinstalling (M1 computers specifically)

DO NOT DFU IF TARGET MAC IS ON BETA SOFTWARE. THIS WILL BRICK THE MAC AND YOU WILL HAVE TO DO THE WALK OF SHAME TO AN APPLE STORE.

THIS WILL NOT WORK IF FIRMWARE PROTECTION IS ON.

You will need:

  • a host Mac which has minimum OS of 10.13.5, Apple Configurator 2.6 or newer installed (from App Store), and an internet connection.
  • USB-C cable which supports data, USB A to C cable, or Thunderbolt 3 cable.
  • Target Mac (one that is being put in DFU) is connected to power. Do not use the left port closest to track pad for power - you will need this for data.

Make sure Host Mac is powered up, iTunes is not open if applicable (fully quit) and open Apple Configurator 2.

For Intel MacBook Pro and MacBook Air - Make sure Mac is shut down (hold power button for 5 seconds). Plug in data cable to Host Mac (any port) then into the left port closest to track pad in the Target Mac. Hold right shift + left option + left control + power keys simultaneously for about 3 seconds (according to Apple, other sources say 4-8 seconds). NOTE: We found that if you press the power button for 1 one thousand and then simultaneously hold the right shift + left option + left control, you should be successful each time. We also found that we were able to get in DFU mode around 4 to 6 (one one thousand, etc.) seconds. The Target Mac will remain as a black screen but you should see the DFU box pop up in Apple Configurator window on the Host Mac.

A DFU jumper that's been installed and then cut once the board booted into DFU mode properly.
A DFU jumper that's been installed and then cut once the board booted into DFU mode properly.
  • ALTERNATIVELY if you only have a bare board, a bad keyboard, etc. you can force DFU mode by pulling SMC_FORCE_DFU up to 1.8V using the PP1V8_SLP_S2R line. Many boards have "debug buttons" to achieve this - for example RE032 on 820-00850. You can search through the schematic for SOC_FORCE_DFU and follow it to the debug page. Be sure to use the correct port or your host system running Apple Configurator 2 will pop a "Cannot Use Thunderbolt Accessory" message, indicating that it's either NOT in DFU mode or not connected to the correct port. Also, the system may fail to revive/restore properly if the connection is persistent - thus the use of a momentary-closed button in the schematic. You can just use a large piece of jumper wire, and once the target system is connected to the host system and appearing in AC2, you can just cut the jumper wire freely. (It's a bit of a juggling act, but you could also just use tweezers to make the connection temporarily... but I've found the jumper wire method to be 100% reliable and super easy.)


For M1 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air - Make sure Mac is shut down (hold power button for 5 seconds). Plug in data cable to Host Mac (any port) then into the left-side port closest to the screen in the Target Mac. Press the power button for about half a second, then also press and hold Left Control + Left Option + Right Shift for 10 seconds, then release all keys except power and hold power until the Target Mac shows up in Apple Configurator on the Host Mac.

For Intel Mac mini and iMac Pro - Disconnect power cord from Target Mac. Plug in data cable on Target Mac to port closest to ethernet. Hold down power button and plug the power cord back in. Continue holding power button for about 3 seconds. The Target Mac will remain as a black screen but you should see the DFU logo in Apple Configurator window.

For M1 Mac mini - Disconnect Target Mac from power for at least 10 seconds. Plug in data cable on Target Mac to port closest to ethernet and into any port on Host Mac, then press and hold power while reconnecting power, then release power. The status indicator color should be amber.

For 2019 Mac Pro - Disconnect power cord from Target Mac. Plug in data cable on Target Mac to USB-C port farthest from the power button. While holding the power button, connect the power cord and continue to hold the power button for about 3 seconds.


Complete the restore through Apple Configurator. When done, verify that the process completed.


Few things from experience (inwerp):

Case: Macbook Pro 2018 15', 5V shortly 0.3A, than 0.04A-0.08 floating, all G3HOT present. Died with no particular reason, stopped charging and simply did not start up after next reboot.

- Did not work with USBA-USBC adapter (claimed to work by Apple Article), used thunderbolt cable.

- Apple Configurator shows DFU logo without key combination, but flashing in this mode will end up with a undefined error.

- Key combination works like 50/50, no particular pattern, best looks like DFU LOGO - SMC RESET Combo 4 Sec till DFU Logo disappears, shows again, now flashing works.

may end up with the connection timeout, target device will start to boot, then shutdown at some point.


Case 2:


Macbook Air 2018 (820-01521) no power no post, just died, stuck at 20V 0.0667A All G3H present, missing PP5V_S5.

Connected power to the USB that is close to the LCD, and the USB c to the host machine close to the Tarckpad.

Using a host MacBook air with configurator 2, manage to prompt recovery. Clicked the restore button the the process started.

The restore process stalled at the last few pixels of the progress bar, and the Target Air turned off.

Upon pressing the power button, the Target air went in to internet recovery, from where the installer prompted "Activating Mac", which got Activated.

Disk utility showed an empty disk.

In this case Data was wiped from customer's device.


Few things from experience (Liminalsunset):

DFU Restore on T2 Mac: MacBook Pro 16" 2019

It's possible to restore the T2 firmware on this machine using a MacBook Air, Mid-2013 13" laptop. It appears that a USB-C mac is not required to initiate the process.

Both systems were running Catalina 10.15.7. This does erase the SSD. I used Internet Recovery to restore a backup and it worked fine after. Activation Lock and FileVault were enabled prior to procedure and do not appear to affect it. Works with Target MacBook Pro powered off of battery.

To enter DFU mode I used:


1) Turn off MBP and plug in USB A to USB C cable (third party) from MacBook Air into MacBook Pro, port closest to you facing computer on the left side

2) Locate left Control and Option keys on MacBook Pro, as well as right Shift key.

3) Press Power button for 1 second, then hold keys above down with power button for 8 (real) seconds. MBP will flash Apple logo, then it will disappear

4) DFU device should show up in Apple Configurator 2. Rest of process is uneventful and works normally. Once restore is complete MBP may need manually powered off and on to start into Internet Recovery


Comprehensive guide: https://mrmacintosh.com/how-to-restore-bridgeos-on-a-t2-mac-how-to-put-a-mac-into-dfu-mode/