Apple regularly releases new iOS updates, bringing fresh features, enhanced security, and occasional design changes to iPhones. In September 2023, iOS 17 was introduced, prompting many users to upgrade and enjoy the anticipated improvements. But what if you want to go back to an earlier iOS version? Is it possible? In this article, we’ll explore your options for downgrading iOS on your iPhone.
Note: Looking for ways to switch iPhone data to new device? Check out our list of the Best iPhone Manager & Transfer Software.
While the most common causes were discussed earlier for why it is important to downgrade, here are some additional reasons that must be considered as well.
- Some apps may not yet be optimized for iOS 17, leading to crashes or glitches.
- The new update could be consuming more battery than iOS 16 on some iPhones.
- Some users might prefer the interface and features of iOS 16 over the newer version.
- Some might have experienced unexpected data loss after the iOS 17 update.
Note: Downgrading is only possible while Apple is still signing the previous iOS version. Typically, Apple ceases signing older iOS versions shortly after a new iOS release becomes available.
If you act swiftly, there is a chance you can revert from a new iOS version to the previous one. We’ll guide you through the process.
What you need
Before we get into the step-by-step instructions, make sure you have the following:
- A Mac or Windows PC with Finder or iTunes: Ensure your computer has the latest Finder or iTunes. These tools will connect your iPhone during the downgrade process.
- A previous iPhone or iPad backup: This backup will help you restore your data. Keep in mind that iOS backups aren’t backward compatible across generations. This means an iOS 17 backup can’t be used after downgrading to iOS 16. If you have an archived iOS 16 backup, great. If not, check out our guide on how to back up your iPhone data to iCloud, Google Drive, etc.
- Disable ‘Find My iPhone’: Before downgrading, disable Find My iPhone in Settings > [Your Name] > Find My > Find My iPhone. You might need to enter your Apple ID password.
- Internet Access: Having a reliable internet connection for Internet Recovery can be invaluable if you encounter issues during the standard downgrade process.
How to downgrade from iOS 17 to iOS 16
- Using Finder
- Using iTunes
- Using 3rd-Party Software Tools
To downgrade from iOS 17 to iOS 16 using Finder on your Mac, follow these steps:
- Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a Lightning cable and open Finder.
- Find your connected iPhone in the Finder sidebar under Locations or Devices and click on it.
- In the overview, click on the General tab to access the device’s general settings.
- Locate the Restore iPhone button in the General tab and click on it to start the restoration process.
- After clicking Restore, Finder will prompt you to choose the specific iOS 16 IPSW file you downloaded earlier. Find and select the file.
- Once you’ve selected the IPSW file, click Restore to confirm and start the downgrade process.
Remember, downgrading iOS versions carries some risks, so exercise caution and ensure you have a recent backup before proceeding. Always check for updates and follow official Apple instructions for a safe downgrade process.
- Connect your iPhone to your computer and open iTunes.
- Click on the small iPhone icon in iTunes and trust this device. Also, tap on the Trust This Computer option on your iPhone’s screen and enter a passcode.
- With iTunes open, hold down the “Shift” key on your keyboard.
- Click “Restore iPhone,” and a window will appear. Select the downloaded IPSW file.
- Once the IPSW file is ready, the downgrade process will begin. The duration may vary depending on the file’s size.
- After the downgrade is complete, your iPhone will restart, running iOS 16.
Using 3rd-party software tools
A faster and hassle-free way to downgrade from iOS 17 to iOS 16, without relying on iTunes or Finder, is by using 3rd-party iOS system software tools.
Tenorshare ReiBoot is one such dedicated iOS system solution designed to efficiently address iOS-related problems. Unlike iTunes or Finder, it doesn’t require an Apple account, and you don’t need to download firmware in advance.
ReiBoot also serves as a troubleshooting tool to fix bugs, errors, and glitches that may occur on your iPhone or iPad after installing iOS 17 or iPadOS 17. During the downgrade process, it automatically resolves these issues and can handle over 150 iOS/iPadOS-related problems, including scenarios where your iPhone becomes stuck on the Apple logo, experiences a black screen, or freezes.
Here’s how to downgrade from iOS 17 to iOS 16 using Tenorshare ReiBoot:
- Download and install ReiBoot on your computer and launch the program. Connect your iPhone via a Lightning cable.
- Click the iOS Upgrade/Downgrade button in ReiBoot.
- Select the Downgrade option to begin the process.
- The program will prompt you to download the firmware package for the downgrade, eliminating the need for external websites.
- After selecting the downgrade option, ReiBoot will automatically start the process, seamlessly downgrading iOS 17 to iOS 16 and installing the stable iOS version on your device.
Read our full ReiBoot review here.
How to downgrade from iOS 17 beta to iOS 16
Note: This method is for users running iOS 17 Beta versions. If you’re on a stable release of iOS 17, skip this method and proceed with the next one.)
- Open the “Settings” app on your iPhone and go to “General.”
- In the “General” menu, find “VPN & Device Management” and tap to open it.
- In the “VPN & Device Management” section, locate the configuration profile labeled “iOS 17 Beta Software Profile” and tap on it.
- Once the configuration profile is open, you’ll find an option to “Remove Profile.” Tap on it and confirm your decision to delete the profile.
After these steps, restart your iPhone to initiate the downgrade process. Removing the configuration profile will transition it from iOS 17 beta to iOS 16 or the latest stable version.
What’s the Apple signing window
The Apple signing window can be defined as the specific period where Apple continues to “sign” or authenticate a particular iOS version.
The signing window needs to be verified while downloading the IPSW files, as users can no longer install or downgrade to an older iOS version as it doesn’t work because Apple has stopped signing it.
In this scenario, the only approach is downloading it manually and installing it, which we suggest against, as tools like Reiboot can automate the process.
Can I downgrade iOS 17 to iOS 16 without data loss?
Absolutely, you can safely revert from iOS 17 to iOS 16 without losing your data. Just ensure you’ve taken the precaution of creating a comprehensive backup of your iPhone using iTunes or iCloud before beginning the downgrade. This safeguard guarantees that your precious files and memories remain intact throughout the process.
What if I lost all data or encouter issues during the downgrade process?
While downgrading, you may encounter unexpected problems or errors. If such issues arise during the iOS 17 to iOS 16 downgrade, consider these steps: Check your internet connection, update iTunes to its latest version, or try a different USB cable. If the problem persists, explore the utility of ReiBoot or third-party iOS data recovery tools, as they can be valuable in troubleshooting. Always remember, having a backup in place ensures you have a safety net in case of any challenges.
Unlike Android devices, iPhones are not designed for easy downgrading, and Apple imposes this restriction to safeguard users from potential security risks.
You can choose to use iTunes or Finder for downgrading from iOS 17 to iOS 16 if you’re confident and comfortable with the required steps. Alternatively, if you prefer an alternative option, Reiboot offers a user-friendly way to downgrade from iOS 17 to iOS 16 without data loss, simplifying the process.
Regardless of the method you choose, ensure that you have a backup stored in iCloud or created through iTunes/Finder. Additionally, follow each step carefully, as this will contribute to a smooth and successful downgrade process.