So, you updated your iPhone to the latest iOS, but for whatever reason, you don’t want to keep it. Maybe you realize your version can’t take advantage of all the latest features, or maybe it’s a hand-me-down and you just want it to have the simplest experience. Whatever the reason, and no matter the device, whether it’s an older iPhone or a new one like the iPhone 15 Pro Max, you can actually backtrack and return to the previous iOS version if you really need or want to do so.
How to reverse an iOS update on your iPhone
Before we get into the steps, it’s recommended to sync your contacts, photos, notes, messages, and other important data individually to iCloud or another cloud service before downgrading. You won’t be able to restore full device backups done through iCloud or Finder/iTunes on a newer iOS version once you downgrade your iPhone to an older OS.
- Open your browser and go to IPSW.me.
- Find the iPhone model you have on the list and select it.
- Select the iOS version to which you want to downgrade.
You can’t downgrade to an iOS version that Apple no longer signs. Apple usually stops signing older iOS versions a few days or weeks after a new release. So, you’ll have to act fast and downgrade before Apple blocks the version. If it has a green checkmark, it’s still signed. If it has a red X, you won’t be able to install it.
- Scroll down and select Download.
- When the pop-up appears to confirm, select Allow.
- Wait for the download to complete, which may take a few minutes depending on its size and the speed of your internet connection.
- Put your iPhone into Recovery Mode.
- With an iPhone 8 or iPhone SE (2nd Gen) or later, press and release the volume up, press and release volume down, then press and hold the side button until the recovery mode screen appears.
- With the iPhone 7, press and hold the volume down and power buttons together to get the screen.
- With an iPhone 6s or earlier, press and hold the Home and power buttons simultaneously.
- Connect your iPhone to your Mac or Windows PC using the appropriate cable (Lightning, USB-C, and/or USB-A).
- Wait for the iPhone to be recognized (you might have to allow the connection and tap Trust).
- Hold down the Option key on a Mac or Shift key on a PC and click Restore.
- Choose the IPSW file you just downloaded.
- Select Open.
- Select Agree to accept Apple’s Terms and Conditions.
- The process should take about 15 minutes.
What are some of the reasons you’d want to reverse an iOS update?
As noted, there are a few reasons you might want to revert to the previous iOS version on any of the best iPhones. There have been various updates to iOS 17, for example, but you might find that a feature you use often is buggy in the latest update and would prefer to downgrade. Of course, most kinks are worked out over time through OS updates, and Apple is usually quick about fixing them, but if you’d rather not wait and just want to go back to what you’re familiar with, it’s possible.
Key things to know before going back to an older iOS
There are a few things to note if you decide to downgrade to the OS, however. First, as noted above, since it could cause data loss, make sure to back up important data via iCloud or another method. Finally, it’s recommended to turn off Find My iPhone while doing the switch back. You can always turn it back on (and it’s recommended to do so) once the switch is completed.