How to Downgrade iOS Without iTunes

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    As long as Apple is still “signing” the older versions of iOS, it is possible to downgrade the iOS to an earlier version. But the window closes fast, which means you may not be able to downgrade to iOS 11 but you can downgrade to the immediate former version. For example, if the new update is iOS 14, you may be able to downgrade the device to iOS 13.

    But how do you downgrade the version of iOS running on your device? More importantly, should you downgrade the device? Let’s begin with the second, more pressing question.

    Should you downgrade iOS?

    There are a couple of things you should note before you attempt to downgrade the version of iOS.

    To begin with, downgrading your iOS may completely wipe the device. This means everything on the device including contacts, photos, apps, and even your preferred settings will be erased. It is different from an upgrade in this way.

    You will also not be able to restore any backup that you created from the newer version of i0S. This means that if your iPhone has automatically backed up to iCloud since you installed the new version of iOS, you will not be able to access this data once you downgrade.

    Can I downgrade iOS?

    Even if you are OK with the potential data loss on your device with no way to get it back, there is a chance it may still be impossible to downgrade the device.

    For you to downgrade the device to an older version of iOS, Apple needs to be still “signing” the old version. Apple tends to stop “signing” older versions of iOS about 2 days after releasing a new version. This makes your window for downgrading the iOS is very narrow and you may want to check that the older version is still available before beginning the downgrade.

    There is no official Apple resource that can show you which old versions of iOS are still viable. But you can go to this site to find a list of signed versions of iOS for your device.

    If Apple is not “signing” the version of iOS that you want, you could try to purchase a second hand device that is running the version you want. But buying a second-hand iPhone comes with its own inherent problems.

    Backup your iPhone using iTunes or iCloud

    Before attempting to downgrade the iOS, you may want to create a backup of the data on your device. Here’s how to backup the device on both iTunes and iCloud:

    How to Back up the iPhone via iCloud

    • Step 1: Connect the device to a stable Wi-Fi network.
    • Step 2: Now go to Settings > {Your Name} > iCloud.
    • Step 3: Tap “iCloud Backup” and then tap “Back Up Now” to begin the process.
    • Step 4: You can confirm that the backup has been successful by going to Settings > {Your Name} > iCloud > iCloud Backup and check under “Back up Now” for the date and time of your last backup.

    Back up the iPhone via iCloud

    How to Back up iPhone via iTunes/Finder

    • Step 1: Connect the device to the computer and open Finder (macOS Catalina 10.15) or iTunes (on PC or macOS Mojave 10.14 and earlier).
    • Step 2:  Tap “Trust this Computer” on your device when prompted.
    • Step 3: Find the device on your computer and then click “Back Up Now”
    • Step 4: Keep the device connected to the computer until the process is complete. You should be able to see the completed backup.

    Back up iPhone via iTunes/Finder

    Downgrade iOS using FixGo without losing data

    The best way to downgrade the iOS on your device without losing any data is to use a tool known as iToolab FixGo. This program is useful for fixing iOS related problems, but in order to do that, it downloads the iOS firmware on to the device without iTunes. And when you use the program’s Standard mode, you can realistically downgrade the version of iOS without losing any data on the device.

    To use FixGo for this purpose, download and install the program on to your computer and then follow these simple steps:

    Step 1: Open it and then select “Standard Mode” in the main window. Connect the iPhone to the computer using USB cables. When the program detects the device, click on “Fix Now” to begin.

    click on “Fix Now” to begin

    Step 2: The program will require that you download firmware for the device in the next window. Here, you have the option to select the firmware you want to use. Once selected, click “Download” to begin downloading the firmware.  

    begin downloading the firmware

    Step 3: Once the firmware download is complete, click on “Repair Now” and FixGo will immediately get to work. Just keep the device connected to the computer to install the chosen version of iOS. The device will restart when the process is complete.

    install the chosen version of iOS

    Nicole Campbell
    Nicole is the chief editor of itoolab.com. She has been writing about Apple, software, and computer for over 10 years.

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