Have you ever updated your iPhone to a shiny, new iOS, only to find it buggy and hard to use? While it can be tempting to update your phone as soon as a new operating system comes out, it’s not always a seamless transition.
There are many advantages to upgrading to a new operating system on your iPhone — performance improvements, important security updates, and fun new features — but sometimes, a new iOS won’t play nicely with an older phone. And sometimes, Apple releases an iOS update before it has ironed out all the wrinkles.
If you update your iOS and find it lacking for whatever reason, there’s a good chance that you start asking yourself, ‘can you downgrade iOS?’ Yes, you can downgrade to the previous iOS version. Yes, there are limitations, as eventually, Apple stops supporting older versions of its iOS, but if you are downgrading soon after an update, it’s fairly easy to do.
Change your iOS on iPhone: how to downgrade
While your ability to downgrade iPhone does depend on which iOS versions are available, it’s possible to downgrade your iPhone’s OS by downloading the older iOS version to a Mac computer and connecting it to your iPhone.
Be forewarned that downgrading iOS on your iPhone does involve erasing all of your data. However, if you back up your information to your computer using the Finder, you will easily be able to restore the data once the downgrade is complete.
This article will cover the easiest way to downgrade to a previous version of iOS on your iPhone using a Mac.
Before you downgrade your iOS on iPhone: best practices
While downgrading your iPhone’s iOS isn’t difficult, you should take a few steps to prevent data loss before you begin the process.
Back up your device
Downgrading to the previous iOS on your device will remove all of your data from your iPhone and restore it to factory settings. It is best practice to back up your data before you upgrade or downgrade to a different iOS.
The backup you restore from should be from an iOS that is at least as old as the iOS you are downgrading to.
Since iCloud automatically backs up the most recent version of your data, it’s best to back up your iPhone using the Finder on a Mac. Using this method, you will have a backup of the data from the newer iOS on iCloud and a backup of the older iOS on your Mac.
Here’s how to back up your iPhone to your Mac before moving on to the next step:
- Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a USB or USB-C cable.
- Open the Finder and choose your iPhone from the menu on the sidebar.
- Click ‘Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac.’
- Click ‘Back Up Now.’ Your data will be saved to your Mac, and you can restore it after your downgrade is complete.
Is the iOS version you need still ‘Signed’ by Apple?
Apple will typically offer support for previous versions of iOS for a few weeks after a new version comes out. Apple uses the term ‘Signed’ to mean that the iOS version is still supported by the company. To find out if the version you need is Signed by Apple, visit IPSW Downloads and choose iPhone.
Choose your iPhone model from the menu to see all of the Signed iOS versions available to you. If there is nothing listed for your device, it means that Apple no longer supports previous versions, and you will not be able to downgrade.
Download the Signed version of iOS for downgrading
If the version of iOS that you want to downgrade to is available, you can download it onto your Mac by clicking on it and then choosing ‘Download.’
Be sure to take note of where you are saving your downloaded iOS, as you will need it once you start the downgrading process.
Downgrade iOS using recovery mode on a Mac
In order to downgrade to an earlier version of iOS, you’ll have to put your phone into recovery mode using your Mac. Here’s the step-by-step process:
- The method for putting your phone into recovery mode is slightly different, depending on what model iPhone you are using:
– For iPhone 8 and newer models: Press and release Volume Up, press and release Volume Down, then hold the Side (power) button until you see the recovery mode screen.
– For iPhone 7 or 7 Plus: Press and hold the Volume Down and Side buttons until the recovery mode screen appears.
– For iPhone 6s or earlier models: Press and hold the Top and Home buttons simultaneously until the recovery mode screen appears.
- Once your iPhone enters recovery mode, iTunes will open automatically on your Mac. On more recent versions of macOS, you may need to open your iPhone using the Finder instead of iTunes.
- A pop-up menu will appear asking if you want to Restore or Update your iPhone. Choose ‘Restore.’
- From the menu, find the older version of iOS that you downloaded earlier and choose ‘Open.’
- Click ‘Restore.’ It will take some time for the process to complete, but before long, you’ll have your chosen iOS up and running on your iPhone.
Restore your data from the backup you created
Now it’s time to restore your iPhone from the backup you created earlier using the Finder. Your iPhone should still be connected to your Mac, but if it’s not, go ahead and connect it using a USB or USB-C cable.
- Open the Finder on your Mac.
- Choose your iPhone from the menu in the left sidebar.
- Click ‘Restore Backup.’
- Select your backup from the drop-down menu and click ‘Restore.’
In most cases, updating your iPhone to a new iOS is a painless process, but if your iPhone becomes glitchy, it’s comforting to know that you can downgrade iOS until Apple comes up with a fix for the newer version.