How To Go Back To iOS 6 (If You Can At All)

How to Go Back to iOS 6 (If You Can At All)

iOS 7 is here! It's different! It's beautiful! It's... terrifying! Not brave enough for this brave new world? It might not be too late to go back. Past a certain point it's going to become virtually impossible to put iOS 6 back on your phone, but for now you may be able to postpone the inevitable. Be warned: The road ahead is treacherous.

A few quick disclaimers before we get started:

  • The easiest way to go back to iOS 6 is to never leave in the first place. Don't install iOS 7 if you have any reservations at all.

The method:

The first step is (again, always) to back up your device. Next, go get the build of iOS 6 that your phone runs. If you have an iPhone 5, that means grabbing iOS 6.1.4. If you have something else (iPhone 4S and below, iPads 2-4, iPod Touch 4 or 5, or iPad Mini) you'll want 6.1.3.

Did you back up your device yet? Back up your device.

Now put your phone into Device Firmware Update (DFU) mode by plugging it into the computer and holding the home button and the power button for 10 seconds. Then let go of the power button and only the power button, and keep the home button pressed down for another 10 seconds or so. The screen will stay black, but iTunes will detect a phone in recovery mode. It's worth noting that this isn't strictly necessary, but it does make matters a little simpler.

Ignore any restore prompt iTunes throws at you. Specifically this one.

How to Go Back to iOS 6 (If You Can At All)

Open the panel for your iPhone and option-click/shift-click (OSX/Windows) on Restore iPhone.

How to Go Back to iOS 6 (If You Can At All)

This will give you a dialog box popup; use it to go find that ipsw file you downloaded after you backed up your device. And bam, you should be good to go. If things aren't working, try booting up your phone, disabling Find My iPhone, and do it all again.

There you go, back to skeumorphic goodness. Now just avoid installing iOS 7 for as long as you can bear it. And while you're doing that, try to make peace with the fact that iOS 7 is coming for you eventually, and there's pretty much nothing you can do to stop it.

The catch:

This is available for limited time only. At some point — soon — this process is going to stop working. Maybe it already has. Once it does you're probably stuck. And probably forever. I know, that might be tough to hear, but as a consolation prize, there's a perfectly good explanation.

In order to install an operating system on an iPhone, you need something called a SHSH blob (Signature HaSH blobs). Your SHSH blob is basically a crypto signature used to verify that the firmware on your iDevice is legit. Simply put, if you slap iOS 6 back on your phone, iTunes will need an key to verify it. So long as Apple is actively supporting iOS 6, iTunes can whip up a key on the spot and you're all good. But once Apple stops "signing" iOS 6, you'll have to use a key you saved earlier. Your key is specific to your device, and you need to have grabbed it before you got rid of iOS 6. There's no way around it.

If you're still on iOS 6 and haven't actually gone to iOS 7 yet, you should be able to prevent buyer's remorse by grabbing your SHSH blobs before you leave. You can snag them with a little program called TinyUmbrella. Boot it up and then plug in you iOS 6 phone. Click your phone's name in the left hand bar and click "Save SHSH". Then you'll have your key if you need it later, and want to beat a retreat from iOS 7. But, if you're already off of iOS 6 it's already too late.

There's (a faint, faint glimmer of) hope!

If you jailbroke your phone when you were on iOS 6.1.4, there's a chance you might still be able to downgrade since Cydia (the jailbreak app store) will actually save your SHSH blobs for you. This means there's an old key out there for your device that can unlock iOS 6 even though Apple's not supporting it any more.

The process for doing this is still being hammered out by hackier minds than ours, and we'll update with specifics as they become clearer.

But really, just live with it

Downgrading is exactly what it sounds like, a downgrade. Like it or not, iOS 7 is the future of Apple products. It just is. Apple derives its ease-of-use by quashing fragmentation and making sure that as many people as humanly possible are all using the same operating system.

The transition can be difficult, but you'll get through it. Remember people were afraid of iOS 6 because of the Apple Maps stuff? And now you're trying to go back? It all turned out fine then, and it'll work out this time too. Really.

Because iOS 7 is rolling out to users everywhere, making it as good as possible is Apple's number one software priority right now. If you run away to iOS 6 (if you even can) you're just spending more time on a sinking ship that Apple is actively scuttling.

OS upgrades are good; they mean better things are coming. And if you're not too keen on having to change, just go talk to an Android user who's been stuck on an outdated non-stock ROM for ages. We know, this is a tough time. But you'll get through it, and you'll come out on the other side with an iOS that's alive and kicking.

Picture: s_oleg/Shutterstock w


Comments

    I'm not afraid of change, I just want my iPad to function properly again! It's sooooo slowwwww to respond to everything now. Keypad, gestures.... Bleh. It might be coming eventually, but for now, it sucks!!

      Yes, I agree. IOS7 is pointless, it is less stable than previous versions, certainly slower and less user-friendly.

      Most software these days is written by marketing-led product teams. They are on an endless quest for "different" software, seldom "better". Then they write a whole load of advertising copy that swaps "different" for "better" and get a few tame journos to write glowing praise.

      Then the received opinion of the internet kicks in. Told that IOS7 is better the herd join in - we are all dinosaurs and idiots if we don't think the latest shiny thing is miles better than yesterday's (stable) product. And so it goes on.

      There was nothing wrong with IOS6 at all. It worked and the majority of folks liked it.

      IOS7 is full of bugs and unstable. Software is not "different", it's a product and it needs to work - PROPERLY. The sooner the consumer market wakes up to this the better.

      Apple products used to be brilliant, expensive but brilliant. Over the last two years or so they are joining the rush to the bottom and are fast becoming glitzy nonsense with little substance behind them.

      Two family members have upgraded to IOS7 and have been met with total apathy from Apple over the myriad problems they have had. Both want me to UPGRADE their iPads to 6.1.3 so that they work properly.

        Works perfectly fine on my iphone 4 and mini ipad. In fact both devices run faster. My wife's iPhone 5 is running better to and has better battery life. I don't think it's the new OS, more like how you use it, what settings you have and what apps you have running. Don't blame the OS blame the operator.

    How could I go back to a homepage with little blocks of apps on ios6 when I have ios7, which has little blocks of apps. That would be ridiculous

    Not sure if it still works. But back when I had a horrible, horrible iPhone 5 (my opinion) I used tiny umbrella free software to back up my phones number letting my restore my phone back to 6 if I wanted to. On my iPhone 4 I cab still backup to 4.0.1 I think.

    I've been using iOS7 for the past 12 hours or so on my iPhone 4 and it's a huge improvement over iOS6 it actually functions without lag and app crashing =/

    I rolled my iPhone back after discovering that this upgrade made my speaker dock stop working. After some digging, I found that this was because it's not an official Apple dock. I can't believe that I will be the only person frustrated by this. I understand it's Apple's bid to combat all the cheap cables on eBay but honestly ... this is ridiculous!

    This article made me want to paraphrase Douglas Adams:

    Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in upgrading to iOS7 in the first place. And some said that even iOS6 had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left iOS5.1.1.

    Plus, that way you can have two versions of Google Maps and YouTube (not sure what the benefit is, aside from nostalgia).

    Last edited 21/09/13 8:18 am

    I am trying to roll back to iOS on my iPad2, it is TOO SLOW. I used to press the button and it would respond, now it has to think about it. If I wanted a slow droid I would have bought one, instead I purchased an iPad since I new it was fast. Not it is a fancy brick with pretty icons with no performance unless you have a new device.

      Not trying to show bias here, but you do know that you can get an android tablet with comparable performance but without the iPrice tag?

      Apple has a few things going for them that hook in the market, one of the biggest being its ecosystem (pairing phones, tablets, mac pcs etc), throw in a spanner like what iOS 7 is doing and it causes problems.

      The most baffling thing about this is that its not like an android update (where there are dozens of different handsets and tables, thus potentially causing incompatibilities), this is a system with only a handful of devices, all designed in a very similar fashion. You would expect that if someone was going to have a seamless update, it would be Apple.

        Telling someone to just buy a different device when they're trying to fix a fault on their device is the most irritating suggestion.

    My girlfriend has moderate OCD. She can't handle changing the wallpaper on her phone, let alone the the changes this would bring. It took a lot of effort for her to upgrade from her old nokia to this. She is in a panic about IOS7, she hates how it looks (as do I).

    How long can I put off upgrading it for her? She has a Iphone 5

    Too late. They stopped signing 6.1.3. I tried several times, and a window pops up saying my firmware is no longer compatible. This is such a shame. My phone constantly freezes. There is no way for me to properly view photos or email them, because it always freezes and crashes. I also don't like the look of it - the white background of everything. It looks horrendous and works terribly. What a shame on Apple for promoting such bad product and giving you no way to go back to what actually worked. For those who are contemplating whether to upgrade (or even whether to buy an Iphone at all) - don't do it. Either stay with your iOS 6 or get another phone. Never again would I buy an Apple product.

      I agree with Diane about Apple products... buy another name !
      It seems the same story like with Windows operatig system from Bill... all the world had to accept the shit of such o.s.
      Now it is not important if IOS 7 has many problems... but we (all the world) MUST upgrade to IOS 7 and we cannot decide to go back to 6.1.3.
      It is simply incredible.

      But really now (23 sept. / 16:00) Apple does not accept signin from a IOS 6.1.3 ?
      So is impossible to go back ??

    Don't follow these instructions. After trying to downgrade to iOS 6.1.3 and selecting the proper ipsw file my iPad is now stuck in DFU mode. Now I must erase my entire deivce, fortunately I made backups but it's still a pain.

    I have this problem:

    iphone5, saved my 6.1.4 SHSH blobs, successfully started tinyumbrella, sucesessfully set DFUmode, succesessfully started restore with correct 6.1.4 ipswfile.

    but the I get unknown Error 4014.
    Can't find Info about this error anywhere.

    With the iOS 6 series, all my work emails would come through to my iphone, via Microsoft Exchange. Apple forgot (hehe) to work with Exchange. Now none of my work emails are coming through and my university doesn't know when the necessary patch will arrive. Inconvenient, unproductive, boring.

    You say "OS upgrades are good; they mean better things are coming"...

    No, they are NOT. That's just some good old customer fraud bull*hit called "planned obsolescence"; When Apple decides that they should release a new overpriced piece of hardware and they are aware that there is no real selling point in it, then they force you to download a newer release of OS, such as iOS 7. That new release is overloaded with eye-candy effects that older models just cannot support, making your iPhone that you bough a year or two ago and that worked perfectly well until that sh*tty update, mostly unusable! It becomes sluggish and drains the battery like crazy, so you say (like a good consumer drone) "to hell with that old junk that I overpayed - I'll just bend over and buy their new crap for 4 times the price it is worth!".

    And guess what? They don't let you make a downgrade to iOS 6 once you see how bad that move was! I really think there should be a law against that kind of crap...

    The bottom line is - DO NOT install iOS 7 on your iPhone 4 and 4S devices, unless you are planning to trash it in a month or two.

      I wish I had seen your post before I updated to IOS7 - worst thing I have ever done. I tried to get support from Apple because I have an issue with the voicemail/speaker on the new version. Because I have an 4S that has run out of any support, they want to charge me $39 to get 1-off assistance. Nice strategy Apple! lose your market leadership to Samsung and sting your loyal customers more money to fix something you've caused! Bunch of bastards!

    I have to sign in on this convo. I'm so PO'd at myself for buying into the iOS 7 hype. Having been an Apple/Mac fan since the early days, I really was looking forward to the new interface and functionality. Bah. I've gone from loving my iPhone 5 to almost hating it within a week. Done everything to make the text more readable and the battery drain less; I still can't see what I need to properly and the colors suck. I stumbled across this article and attempted it in desperation. Unfortunately, my iPhone's "firmware is incompatible". So much for turning back.
    Perhaps change is inevitable, but it isn't always good. "Better things are coming"... I'm hoping some of the better things are muting the colors, thickening the text, or at least giving users a couple of different theme/color options.

      Thats is exactly how I feel. Apple should offer a classic look option for their icons like they do on their Mac's. I'm sure they could put a spin on it so they don't look like they are going backwards.
      Promote it as "apple cares about it's loyal customer base" whatever it takes. The reason there is so much noise about this is because we don't want to leave. Are you listening apple? You are forcing us to seriously think about it. I love apple products but don't like the stance they have taken lately. What happened to customization and personalizing your device. A lot of people would stop jailbreaking their iPhone if you offered the option to customize. I can only pray that some genius hacker finds a way to
      jailbreak ios7 so I can get my ios6 back on my beloved iPhone 5.
      Dont believe the hype more people hate the look and feel of ios7 than like it. Most would be ok with just a classic icon option.

    I called apple support due to the problems with ios 7 on my iPhone. They tried to tell me that it's a hardware failure when my 4S worked perfect before the update. I was however offered another 4S for as put "a discounted price of $299" I guess I could pay for another headache. Apple is so greedy it makes me sick!! I love their products but if this is the crap we have to look forward to I hope they crash themselves out of this market.

    Will someone actually get up of their apple butts and go to the store and DEMAND to be set back to IOS6 ... i recommend you don't leave until you can go back ... if you make enough of a stir ... apple will listen ... come on people stop being such wusses. Lets do it? how about join up to facebook group boycot ios7 and then organise a party of people to go down to apple with receipts and all ask at once? and don't move until they do something about it ...

    i can´t start my iphone after i put it in dfu mode why

    problem:

    iphone5, saved my 6.1.4 SHSH blobs, successfully started tinyumbrella, sucesessfully set DFUmode, succesessfully started restore with correct 6.1.4 ipswfile.

    but the I get unknown Error 4014.
    Can't find Info about this error anywhere.

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