If you downloaded iOS 9 and already regret your decision, here’s how to uninstall iOS 9 and reinstall iOS 8. How to downgrade iOS 9.
iOS 9 is now available to download for iPad and iPhone. Apple’s iOS updates typically gain massive percentages of users in a very quick period. It becomes almost more difficult not to upgrade than to upgrade.
This is all great if the upgrade works perfectly. But if the experience of iOS 8 is anything to go by, this is not always the case. In September 2014 a proportion of iPhone and iPad users upgraded in haste and then were forced to repent at their leisure. Until Apple fixed it, some people felt that the iOS 8 code caused problems with their iPhones, and there was some demand to be able to roll back to an older version of iOS. Not unreasonably Apple didn’t encourage this, but it is possible. And, indeed, it is possible to go back from iOS 9 to iOS 8. As long as Apple’s servers will still ‘sign’ the older OS.
The advice will below will allow you to downgrade from iOS 9 to iOS 8 as long as Apple is signing the iOS 8 file. That won’t last long after iOS 9 is launched, so don’t hang about if you want to downgrade.
Downgrade iOS 9 to iOS 8: Back up first!
This is really important. In order to reinstall an older OS, iOS will wipe all of the apps and data from your iPhone or iPad.
So make a backup in iTunes or iCloud. Hopefully you did this before upgrading to iOS 9 (we did tell you to in our How to upgrade to iOS 9 article, which we hope you followed before deciding to downgrade).
As with most things iPhone, our Macworld UK colleagues have a great guide to how to back up an iPhone, here. The key thing is to make sure you have a full backup when you device is running the latest version of iOS 8 – that’s 8.4.1. If you’re running an older version, thenupdate to 8.4.1 before you back up.
If you have no backup from 8.4.1 then it’s not quite game over. You can still downgrade to 8.4.1 but you will have to reinstall your apps, add your accounts and sync music and videos etc from iTunes, or manually.
Downgrade iOS 9 to iOS 8: Get the relevant .ipsw file
To reinstall iOS 8 you need the relevant .ipsw file – thats is 8.4.1.ipsw. Older versions won’t work as they’re not being ‘signed’ – or approved – by Apple’s servers.
(Mac users, if the ipsw file is stored on your Mac hard drive you can find it by following the path youruserfolder/Library/iTunes/ and then within a folder called iPad Software Updates, iPhone Software Updates or iPad Software Updates.)
If you can’t find the latest one on your Mac, or your a PC user, simply run a search for ‘download ipsw’ and select and download the appropriate file for your device. There are plenty of sites to choose from. We got ours from www.ipswdownloader.com.
Downgrade iOS 9 to iOS 8: Open the .ipsw file
Now is when you find out if Apple is still signing iOS 8.4.1. If it is, you are on easy street, back on iOS 8 in no time at all. But if you get an alert that says this version of iOS is not compatible with your device, Apple has closed the window and you’re stuck with iOS 9. You will have only a short time to downgrade (in past years as little as one week after the initial release date – not the date on which you upgraded) before it becomes impossible without a jailbroken phone.
Here’s how to do it. First you’ll need to disable the Find My iPhone/iPad feature on the device if you’ve enabled it. You’ll find it in Settings > iCloud.
Plug in to your PC or Mac your iPhone or iPad. Launch iTunes. Click on your device in the iTunes interface and select Summary. Now hold down the Alt/Option key (Shift on a PC), and click the Restore button.
Now navigate to the iOS 8.4.1.ipsw file on your desktop and click Open. Your PC will now reinstall iOS 8 on your iPad or iPhone. Or it should…
Downgrade iOS 9 to iOS 8: Go into Recovery mode
If iTunes says you’re already running the latest version of iOS on your device, you may need to use Recovery mode. Completely power off the device, plug one end of the syncing cable into your computer and hold down the Home button on the iPhone/iPad while you connect the cable to it. When the ‘Connect to iTunes’ screen appears, release the Home button.
iTunes will say that your device is now in Recovery mode. Hold down the Option key (Shift on a PC), click Restore, navigate to the iOS 8.4.1.ipsw file, and install it on your device.
Downgrade iOS 9 to iOS 8: restore your backup
By now you should have iOS 8.4.1 back, but an otherwise blank iPhone with none of your stuff on it. That’s where the backup you made at the start comes in.
In iTunes click the Restore iPhone… button and choose the appropriate backup. It may take an hour or so, but your phone will be back to the way it was when you made the backup.
If you have no backup, you’ll have to sync music, videos and other content from iTunes or iCloud. You can then go to the App Store and download anything you’ve previously purchased after logging in with your Apple ID.
Downgrade iOS 9 to iOS 8: iOS 9 upgrade poll
WILL YOU UPDATE YOUR IPHONE OR IPAD TO IOS 9?