How to safely downgrade iOS on your iPhone? [Step by Step Guide]

downgrade ios

When you ‘downgrade iOS’ you simply return your Apple device to a previous version of iOS, a.k.a. Apple’s operating system.

Downgrading iOS involves erasing all the data on your iPhone. It can be a bit of a complex process if you don’t know how to do it and has some risks if you don’t do it correctly 👌

But don’t worry! In this post we are going to teach you how to downgrade iOS on your iPhone in a totally safe way. Before that, let’s quickly review why you would want to downgrade iOS and what exactly are those risks we were talking about.

Why might I need an iOS downgrade?

There may be several reasons why you might need to return to a previous version of iOS on your iPhone, for example: 

  • Because you installed a buggy iOS version and the performance on your iPhone is not what you expected
  • Because the new version of iOS you installed is not optimal for your device, since it needs a lot of RAM and your iPhone is a little bit tight on that
  • Because you don’t like the new version and you were happier with your previous iPhone
  • Because you want to jailbreak your iPhone and your version is not yet supported

What are the risks of an iOS downgrade?

If you do not use an official version you could damage your iPhone

Bear in mind that the version you are going to downgrade your iOS version to needs to be an official Apple version. So before you downgrade your iOS make sure you double-check it on Apple’s website. 

Why? Because security is one of the major issues Apple wants to fix when they release an iOS update. If the most recent version is the most secure one, they will most likely stop allowing the use of older versions. 

When reinstalling a version older than the one you are using, your iPhone will connect to the servers and, if the version is not signed by Apple, the process will not be successfully completed. 

If you are not sure which version of Apple you are using right now, read this article to find it out!

Be careful! You may lose data when performing an iOS downgrade…

Whenever you perform an iOS downgrade, you want to make a backup of the data you have stored on your iPhone (photos, videos, music…) on an external memory, i.e. a computer, a pendrive, a hard drive….

We also recommend making a backup of your iPhone on iCloud, by connecting your iPhone to a WiFi network, following the path Settings > Your name > iCloud. Once there, tap on “Back up now”, and you’re done! 


Why is it vital that you have both backups? Because your iCloud backup may not be able to be restored once you have completed the downgrade. Also, having saved your data to an external memory, you will be able to recover your memories safely.

How to downgrade iOS on an iPhone?

First of all, make a backup of your iPhone. This way, if the process fails and the installation does not conclude successfully, you will be able to return to the version you were using from this backup. 

Step 1

The first step is downloading the iOS version you want to downgrade to. Go here (from a computer), select your iPhone model, and download the .ipsw file.

Step 2

Secondly, you need to enter DFU (Device Firmware Update) mode. This will allow your iPhone to communicate with iTunes and update the operating system version.

How to access DFU mode? The answer depends on the iPhone model you have:

  • Up to iPhone 6S

Press the centre button and the side button at the same time until the iTunes connection screen is displayed.

  • iPhone 7/7 Plus

Press the side and volume down buttons at the same time until the iTunes connection screen is displayed.

  • iPhone 8/8 Plus and later

Press the volume up button and quickly release it, press the volume down button and release it. Then press the side button until the iTunes connection screen is displayed.


Step 3

You’re already in DFU mode – great! Now go to your computer and do the following:

  • Connect your iPhone to your computer with the lightning cable (the same cable you use to charge your iPhone).
  • Open iTunes and go to the “iPhone” tab.
  • Click on the “Restore iPhone” button while pressing the Alt (MAC) or Option (Windows) key. This action will open the folder where the .ipsw file you downloaded in step 1 is located.
  • Select the .ipsw file, i.e. the file containing the iOS version you want to downgrade to.
  • Press “Restore” and wait for the iPhone to complete the process and reboot.

And that’s it! From this point on, your iPhone will continue to work with the version you downloaded and installed.

No big deal. Remember the backup you made? Well, here’s why we told you needed to do so! If the process has failed for any reason, all you have to do is go to “Settings > Your profile > iCloud > Backup to iCloud” and restore the previous version. 

We hope you found this article useful. If you have any questions about how to unlock your iPhone or need to check information about your device, ask us!


Unlock your phone! Save on your Wireless Bill! Reclaim Your Freedom! doctorSIM is an 8 year old company specialized in wireless freedoms solutions. We provide unlocking and saving solutions for individuals, SMEs, as well as large corporations with TEM requirements!

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