iOS downgrade without losing data

You miss the old operating system, so here’s how to downgrade iOS! If you have just updated your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to the latest version of iOS and you hate it, now you want to know how to downgrade iOS

to an earlier version. A downgrade is possible, and even possible to downgrade iOS without losing your personal data. Here’s how to do it.

This article was written using iOS 13 but applies roughly to all versions of iOS. In previous versions, the steps should be basically the same, what might change are the names of the menus.

Because you may want to downgrade iOS 

You may want to downgrade from one version of iOS to a previous one for a few reasons, including:

  • Bugs: the new version may contain bugs that make it difficult to use the iOS device. You may want to downgrade to the previous, more stable version and wait for the bugs to be eliminated before attempting the update again.
  • Unwanted Changes: New versions of iOS sometimes introduce big changes to the user interface or features. If you don’t really like these changes or if they interfere with the way you want to use the device, the downgrade is interesting.
  • Too slow: if you have an old phone, installing the latest iOS update can make your phone slow. In this case, the only desire is to move to an earlier version of iOS.

What prevents iOS downgrade 

IOS downgrade certainly has its charm, but it’s not always very easy to do. In most cases, the best you can do is downgrade to the version you just upgraded from, but even then, you can only do this for a short period of time.

Basically, if you want to downgrade iOS, you should do it now or never.

The reason for this has to do with how Apple protects its operating systems. When you upgrade or downgrade iOS, your device contacts Apple servers to make sure you install an official update, which confirms that the iOS version is digitally “signed” by Apple. If it is not signed, you will not be able to install that version of the operating system.

The problem with iOS downgrade is that Apple stops signing previous iOS versions shortly after a new version, as soon as it is released.

The only pre-iOS 13 version of iOS that you can downgrade is iOS 12.4.1.

Before downgrading your iOS

Before starting to downgrade your device, it is essential to understand what you are doing. A downgrade means wiping all data from the device and reinstalling an old operating system.

The best scenario is to back up your iPhone before installing the iOS version you want to downgrade from. If you did, you can simply restore that backup to your device.

If not, you’ll need to downgrade your device, then sync all your data separately. It’s boring, but it’s the only option in this case.

How to downgrade without losing data 

If you are ready to downgrade iOS to a previous version that Apple is still signing and you want to make sure you don’t miss anything in the process. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Download the old version of iOS. To install an older version of iOS, you need to download it to your computer.
  2. To not get stuck with Activation Lock, first, turn off Find My iPhone. Go to Settings > [your name]> Find mine > Find my iPhone, then tap the Find My iPhone slider on white/off.
  3. Put your iPhone in recovery mode. This will allow you to install a different version of the operating system on your iPhone.
  4. Once in recovery mode, connect your iPhone to the computer you usually sync it with and open iTunes.
  5. In iTunes, select the iPhone icon in the upper left corner.
  6. To install the old version of iOS, you need to follow special steps. First, hold down Option (on a Mac) or Shift (on a PC), then select Reset iPhone.
  7. In the window that opens, choose your hard drive and select the previous version of iOS downloaded in step 1.
  8. Select Restore from iTunes, then follow the on-screen instructions in iTunes or iPhone.
  9. After your iPhone has rebooted a few times and completed the downgrade to the previous version, you can restore the backup.

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