How to Downgrade iOS 8 Beta to iOS 7
Have you decided that running an iOS 8 beta on your iPhone or iPad isn’t such a great idea after all? Understandable, considering the beta releases are fairly buggy, mainly for developer testing, and not intended for prime time usage quite yet, so let’s walk through how to downgrade iOS 8 back to iOS 7.
We’ll cover two different methods to go from iOS 8 beta back to iOS 7.1.1. Both will work just fine and you can use whichever you want, though the first method we’ll call the easy way, is typically best for most users. Nonetheless if the first easy approach fails due to an error, we offer a second route that goes through putting the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch into recovery mode and will certainly work.
Requirements to Downgrade from iOS 8
You will need the latest version of iTunes to be able to perform a downgrade from iOS 8 beta back to a stable iOS build, a Mac or PC to run iTunes on, an internet connection, and a USB cable to connect the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with.
You will also need to be comfortable with losing whatever is on the device since running iOS 8, this is because an iOS 8 backup cannot be restored to an iOS 7 device. However, you will be able to restore a previously made iOS 7 backup to the device once it’s back on iOS 7 however. This is why it’s so important to create regular backups of your data if you’re going to be beta testing any operating system. You did that, right?
Method 1: Downgrade iOS 8 to iOS 7.1.1 the Easy Way with IPSW
The simplest way to downgrade from iOS 8 beta is to use an iOS 7 IPSW file, then simply ‘update’ to that iOS 7 release. This is the same way users manually update iOS with firmware files and it works to downgrade iOS as well.
- Download the iOS 7.1.1 IPSW firmware file from here appropriate for your device, put it somewhere easy to find like the Desktop
- Launch iTunes on the computer
- Connect the iPhone / iPad running iOS 8 to the computer with the USB cable
- Select the device from iTunes if it hasn’t been already, and go to the Summary tab so you can find the “Update” and “Restore” buttons
- Hold down the OPTION key (for Mac, SHIFT key for Windows) and click on “Update”
- Now select the IPSW file you downloaded in step 1
- Confirm that iTunes is allowed to update the iPhone / iPad to iOS 7.1.1 and verify the update with Apple by choosing the “Update” button
- Let the process complete, this may take a while and the screen of your iOS device will go blank followed by a progress bar, when finished you’ll be back to the familiar setup screen as if the device was brand new
Now that the iPhone or iPad is back on iOS 7 you can choose to restore the device from a prior backup made from iOS 7 to either iTunes or iCloud, otherwise just set up and use the device as new.
A quick note: you can also Option+Click on the “Restore” button but you would need to turn off Find My iPhone first, thus we’ll go with the Update option instead, which does not require that.
Method 2: Downgrading iOS 8 with Recovery Mode & Restore
If you can’t get the easy downgrade method to work for whatever reason, you can also pop the device into recovery mode and then restore the device through iTunes. Generally speaking this approach shouldn’t be necessary unless the iOS device is nearly bricked, but it’s good to cover anyway.
- Turn the iPhone / iPad OFF by holding down the Power button and swiping to turn the device off when requested
- Launch iTunes and attach the USB cable to the computer – don’t plug it into the iPhone / iPad quite yet
- Hold down the Home button on the iOS device and connect it to the USB cable and the computer, continue to hold down the home button until iTunes alerts you that a device in Recovery Mode has been detected
- Choose “Restore” (note the update button is greyed out as the device is in recovery mode)
- Confirm that you want to restore the iPhone / iPad when iTunes asks
- Let the Restoration process continue, when completed the device will boot automatically back into the latest version of iOS 7 (7.1.1)
This sets up the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch as a brand new device running the latest version of iOS 7. Once finished, you can either continue to use the device as new, or restore from a previously made iOS 7 backup from iTunes or iCloud as described here. Note that restoring from a backup only works if you actually made a backup prior to installing iOS 8.
Activation Error? Firmware Incompatible? Use Recovery Mode
If you see an activation error or a firmware incompatibility error, it’s probably because the wrong IPSW file was downloaded or because there’s an issue connecting to Apple’s servers. The simplest resolution is to use the Recovery Mode approach described above, this will cause iTunes to connect to Apple’s servers directly and download the appropriate IPSW version for the connected device. If you try Recovery Mode and still receive activation errors or other errors in iTunes, you should probably look at your hosts file…
Getting Error 3194 in iTunes? Check Hosts
If you run into Error 3194 it’s almost certainly because you have Apple servers blocked or rerouted in your hosts file. This is fairly common for those who have jailbroken an iPhone or iPad before, as many users forget to modify the changes made to the hosts document. Basically you just need to comment out the block in the hosts file as described here to resolve the 3194 error, this works the same in Mac OS X and Windows.