Can You Downgrade Your iPhone From iOS 7?

Learn what your options are

Do you dislike the iOS 7 upgrade and wish you could downgrade your iPhone back to iOS 6? You're not alone. Millions of people quickly upgraded to iOS 7 after Apple released it. Many of them were thrilled by the new features and new design. Others, however, weren't thrilled with the major changes that came with the upgrade. Here's what you need to know if this is your situation.

The Short Answer: No, You Can't Downgrade

If you're in the group that's unhappy with iOS 7, you may be wondering if there's a way to uninstall iOS 7 and downgrade to iOS 6. Unfortunately, for the average user, there is no way to downgrade from iOS 7.

Technically a downgrade is possible. We'll cover that later in this article. But downgrading your version of the iOS is pretty difficult and requires serious technical skill.

Why You Can't Downgrade from iOS 7

Understanding why there's no easy way to downgrade from iOS 7 to iOS 6 means you need to understand how Apple releases the iOS.

When you install a new version of the iOS, whether that's a major upgrade like iOS 7 or a minor update like iOS 6.0.2, your device connects to Apple's servers. It does this to check to make sure that the OS you're installing is "signed" by Apple (other companies use the same process). This is very important. It ensures that you're installing an official, secure version of the iOS, not one that is malfunctioning or that has been tampered with by hackers.

When Apple's servers confirm that the version you're installing is signed, the upgrade continues. If not, it blocks the installation.

The key thing here is that if Apple stops signing a given version of the iOS, you won't be able to install the unsigned versions. That's what the company has done with iOS 6.

Whenever Apple releases a major new version of the OS, it keeps signing the previous version for a short time to allow people to downgrade if they want. In this case, Apple signed both iOS 7 and iOS 6 for a little while, but stopped signing iOS 6 in Sept. 2013.

This means that you can no longer install iOS 6 on any devices because Apple's servers will block the install when your device checks with them.

For an even more in-depth look at this topic, check out How to Downgrade iOS Without Losing Data.

What About Jailbreaking to Downgrade iOS?

But what about jailbreaking, some of you may be asking. If my device is jailbroken, can I downgrade? The quick answer is yes, but the longer and more accurate answer is that it's pretty difficult.

If your phone is jailbroken, it's possible to restore to older versions of the iOS that Apple no longer signs. But this is only possible in the rare situation that you've backed up something called SHSH blobs for the OS you want to go back to.

I'll spare you the full nitty-gritty on what this means (this site has a detailed technical explanation of SHSH blobs and the downgrade process), but SHSH blobs are bits of code that are related to signing the OS. If you have them, you can trick your iPhone into running code that's no longer signed by Apple. 

But the catch is that you need to have saved SHSH blobs from the version of the iOS you want to downgrade to before Apple stopped signing it. If you don't have that, downgrading is pretty much impossible. So, unless you saved your SHSH blobs before upgrading to iOS 7, or can find a reliable source to get them, you can't go back. 

Why You Should Stick with iOS 7

So, if you're on iOS 7 and don't like it, there's not much that can be done. That said, people often object to the idea of change more than the change itself. IOS 7 is a big change from iOS 6 and takes some getting used to. You may find that after a few months that the things you don't like about it now are familiar and no longer bother you.

That may be especially true with some of the major new features introduced in iOS 7, including Control Center, Activation Lock, and AirDrop. It also fixed a ton of bug and added more security features. Taken all together, iOS 7 changed a lot, but most of those changes are for the better and will make your iPhone more useful.

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