How to Fix “iPhone Unavailable, No Erase Option?

Having an iPhone display the dreaded “iPhone Unavailable, No Erase Option” message can be incredibly frustrating. This essentially locks you out of your device, preventing you from being able to use it or access any of your data. Fortunately, there are a few potential solutions for unlocking your iPhone and restoring it to a factory reset state so you can start fresh. This guide will cover the top methods for fixing the “iPhone Unavailable” problem.

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Understanding the Message

When you see the “iPhone Unavailable” screen, it means your iPhone has essentially become soft-locked and entered recovery mode. There are a few potential triggers for this:

  • Attempting to erase or reset the device unsuccessfully
  • Letting the battery drain completely
  • Installing a software update that failed or got interrupted
  • Restoring from a backup that encountered issues

The end result is that your iPhone displays the recovery mode screen with the “iPhone Unavailable” message and does not allow you to actually erase or restore it normally through the settings.

This also typically prevents you from unlocking the device if you had a passcode enabled. You’re essentially stuck in the recovery mode loop unless you can get the iPhone successfully erased and restored.

Fix #1: Erase iPhone Remotely Via iCloud

The easiest and most convenient fix is to log into iCloud and erase your iPhone remotely. As long as Find My iPhone was enabled on the phone:

  • Go to and log in with your Apple ID
  • Click on Find iPhone
  • Click the All Devices tab and select your unavailable iPhone
  • Click on the Erase iPhone icon

This will do a complete factory reset of the iPhone, removing any passcodes and your data but also unlocking it from the recovery screen in the process. The only catch is that the device will need to have an internet connection for the remote erase to go through.

If the erase completes successfully, you can then just go through the normal setup process again when you turn your iPhone back on and it should no longer have the unavailable message.

No need for computer or iTunesRequires wifi internet access
Remote capabilityLoses all device data/settings
Quick and convenientNeeds Find My iPhone enabled already

Fix #2: Unlock and Restore with Software Tools

If the iCloud erase method doesn’t work, the next option to try is to use a third party software tool specifically designed to unlock and restore iPhone models stuck in recovery. Two top options worth trying are:

1. EaseUS MobiUnlock

A very popular software tool with a high success rate for these types of iPhone issues.

  • Download and install on your Windows or Mac computer
  • Connect your unavailable iPhone via USB cable
  • Launch MobiUnlock and follow prompts to unlock screen and restore

2. iTunes

If you have a Windows PC or Mac running an OS earlier than Catalina, iTunes can also restore your device.

  • Connect iPhone via USB
  • Open iTunes app and select your iPhone
  • Use Restore or Restore iPhone option
  • Follow prompts to download software and restore

These tools essentially force your iPhone out of the recovery mode, allowing a factory reset restore to get it working again. Between MobiUnlock and iTunes, you have a couple solid options for bypassing the unavailable message without needing to visit an Apple store.

Very high success rateRequires computer + USB access
Maintains jailbreak if desiredLimited Mac OS support in iTunes
Preserves device data option in toolsFull restore erases all content

Fix #3: DFU Mode Restore

The final method to fix the unavailable iPhone message is to force it into DFU (Device Firmware Upgrade) mode and then restore it. This allows you to bypass the recovery screen that is getting stuck.

  • Connect iPhone to computer via USB and open iTunes
  • Hold Power + Home buttons for 10 seconds
  • Release Power but keep holding Home
  • iPhone screen should go black
  • You are now in DFU mode
  • In iTunes on computer click Restore iPhone

This will force a low level restore of the current iOS firmware re-installing Apple’s default software configuration erasing your data but resetting system files to normal.

The only catch with DFU method is it can be tricky to successfully get device into DFU mode on first few attempts. But once iPhone enters DFU and stays there restored, it should come back up unlocked from unavailable status.

Works without remote toolsComplicated button sequence
Full system refreshVery manual process
Preserves jailbreak optionRequires computer + iTunes

Preventing the Issue in Future

Now that you hopefully have your iPhone restored and past the unavailable message, it’s worth considering a few preventative measures going forward:

  1. Backup Regularly – Use iCloud or iTunes backups to store your device data safely in case you need to erase and restore again the future.
  2. Avoid Interruptions While Updating – Never cancel a software update in progress, allow updates to finish installing fully before disconnecting.
  3. Maintain Sufficient Charge – Don’t let your battery fully drain to 0% if possible to avoid unwanted shutdowns leading to this issue arising.
  4. Fix Other Error Messages – If you see an error message or warning indicator, address it right away rather than ignoring potential system problems.

When to Contact Apple Support

If none of the troubleshooting tips in this guide are successful after multiple tries, it’s best to schedule an appointment with Apple support directly. An iPhone that remains stuck displaying the unavailable message even after DFU restore attempts typically has underlying hardware or software issues needing professional repair. Apple techs may be able to reflash the iPhone firmware or fully replace the device if necessary to get you back up and running.

In Summary

Seeing that “iPhone Unavailable” screen can certainly be panic-inducing at first. But in most cases, this soft locked state just takes a little diligent troubleshooting to successfully bypass. Leveraging iCloud, data recovery tools, iTunes, or DFU mode provides reliable ways to factory reset your iPhone to usable again without losing Apple warranty support. So try not to get too distressed, just focus on patiently attempting each recommended recovery step until your device is free from the restrictions of unavailable no erase mode for good!

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