When we first received a request from an iOS user to know if downgrading his new iPhone 6 from iOS 8 to older iOS firmware was safe and possible, we said: “Yes, it’s possible if Apple is still signing the iOS firmware.”
That led to more questions, and we believed writing an article is going to help everyone.
So, in short, is it possible to downgrade your iPhone / iPad from iOS 8 to iOS 7 firmware? Or even iOS 8.1.3 to iOS 8.1.2, 8.1.1, and so on?
iOS 8 Downgrading Basics: How it Works
Assuming you have never ever downgraded to older iOS firmware before, let’s start with the basics. Let’s talk about the process of downgrading a firmware.
- First, you have to download the right IPSW file.
- Next, you have to connect your iPhone / iPad to your computer.
- And lastly, you have to transfer the downloaded IPSW file to your iPhone / iPad using Apple’s iTunes player.
Simple, right? But there is one last thing to remember…
Apple Must Sign Firmware
When you transfer (method is called “restore” in iOS terms) IPSW file from your computer to iOS device via iTunes, Apple verifies the iOS software.
In other words, Apple signs the iOS file you are transferring.
And Apple also stops signing firmware. Why? Because they believe old iOS firmwares have security issues, and as they care for their users (meh!) Apple always wants you to “upgrade” to the next version (not downgrade).
Take, for example, Apple stopped signing iOS 8.1.2 in the second week of February. This means that while you can download iOS 8.1.2 on your computer, you won’t be able to successfully restore or use it for downgrading purpose.
In other words, you will not be able to downgrade to iOS 8.1.2 as Apple has stopped signing that particular firmware.
Question: So Can Jailbreak Users Downgrade iOS 8 to iOS 7?
If Apple stops signing iOS 8.1.2, it is naturally assumed that all the older firmwares cannot be signed.
Even if you have jailbroken your iOS device, downgrading to older firmware is impossible using the iTunes method (and it is the most preferred method).
And if you are wondering if your brand new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus that comes pre-installed with iOS 8 can be downgraded to iOS 7, you are wrong.
When Apple stops signing firmware, downgrading is not possible. It is also important to note that they never stop signing immediately — there is always a window (time gap) wherein one can easily download previous iOS firmware and install it on iOS device. Only during this gap you will be able to change your slower, buggy iOS 8.x to older iOS 8.x firmware.