How to Downgrade iOS 9 Beta to iOS 8

Jun 12, 2015 - 26 Comments

How to downgrade an iPhone or iPad on iOS 9 back to iOS 8

iOS 9 may be exciting with new features and refinements, but running beta software on a primary iPhone or iPad is rarely recommended, as the experience is less than optimal at the moment. For
those who installed iOS 9 beta only to discover it’s current state is a bit of a buggy battery drain, the best solution is to downgrade back to a stable iOS 8 release. Reverting from iOS 9 is fairly easy to do, though it’s a bit more technical than your average iOS restore process, if you follow along you’ll be back on 8 in a few minutes.


To get started, you’ll need a USB cable, a computer with the latest version of iTunes, and the relevant iOS 8.4 IPSW file for the specific device being downgraded (yes, signed iOS works too).

Downgrading an iPhone or iPad with iOS 9 Beta Back to iOS 8

You’ll probably want to back up your iOS device before beginning this process, otherwise you may lose data that you find important. You can not restore an iOS 9 back up to iOS 8 however, so keep that in mind.

  1. On the iOS 9 device, open Settings and go to iCloud, and turn off “Find My iPhone”, then turn off the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch by holding down the Power button
  2. Launch iTunes and connect the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch to the computer using the USB cable, then immediately start holding down the Power and Home button together for 10 seconds, then release the Power button but continue holding the Home button
  3. When a message in iTunes pops up saying a device in recovery mode has been detected, you are successfully in DFU mode and the hardware is ready for the downgrade
  4. In iTunes, select the device under the “Summary” tab, look for the “Restore” button – on a Mac, OPTION click that button, on a Windows PC, SHIFT click that button, then navigate to the iOS 8 IPSW file you downloaded earlier
  5. Downgrade iOS 9 with Restore to IPSW

  6. Let the downgrade process complete, when finished the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch will reboot into a fresh iOS 8 install, at this point you can go through the typical setup process and restore from an iCloud or iTunes backup, or set it up as new

For the unfamiliar, this works works because the iPhone or iPad is placed into DFU mode, which stands for “Device Firmware Update mode”, a special hardware state that allows for downgrading and updating iOS versions to supported firmware. Note that DFU mode is not always required to downgrade iOS software, and prior beta versions of iOS (like going from 8 back to 7) could be done with a simple IPSW restore, nonetheless, BGR recommends using DFU mode, and in our testing it worked just fine.

Now that you’re back on a stable iOS release, if you want to dabble in future versions of iOS 9, the best thing to do is either wait for the iOS Public Beta program to launch more stable versions, or, perhaps better yet, is to simply wait for the final release to enjoy it on the iPhone or iPad.

Enjoy this tip? Subscribe to the OSXDaily newsletter to get more of our great Apple tips, tricks, and important news delivered to your inbox! Enter your email address below:

Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

26 Comments

» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Wharf Xanadu says:

    Better yet, don’t run the iOS 9 until it’s ready

  2. Daff says:

    hi,

    i wanted to share a strange thing happening when restoring back from 9beta. As i experienced some buggies with the Telegram Messenger app i’ve tried to downgrade to is and all went well until i wanted to restore my iph from the backup. The reason i got was that the software (ipsw – iOS8) wasn’t compatible with the actual backup, so i had to upgrade to 9beta again to restore my iph from my backup. I suppose its an iTunes issue more than a iOS issue, but still keep in mind this if u want to upgrade.

    Cheers

  3. kazuba says:

    Daff, the iOS 9 backup is not compatible with iOS 8. That’s why you setup as new or have an old backup handy.

  4. The_Scholar says:

    I installed iOS 9. What a buggy, slow piece of crap. I’m going back to iOS 8 and staying there forever.

    • makeintosh says:

      Great example of Natural Selection.

    • lol says:

      Yea, it’s the developer beta, what did you expect?

      • Jeremy says:

        I expected a beta OS to at least run equal if not better than its previous version. The fact that this beta release is tainted with six different shades of crap (not to mention the absolutely wrong in all ways WatchOS2.

        Fact is iOS9 and watchOS2 beta products act more like an un QA’d alpha.

        • Joe says:

          What you fail to realize is that every iOS Beta 1 is like this. Always has been, and probably always will be. There’s no need to non-constructively criticize early-beta software on a public forum where it won’t be seen by Apple Engineers. If you have something constructive to say to improve the next version of iOS, please submit it to the apple bug reporter. If you have no constructive feedback, then just wait until the public release of iOS 9.

        • Noah says:

          There’s a reason iOS 9 isn’t available for non-developers, iOS 9 Beta isn’t for bug fixes, we’ll see bug fixes around August. iOS 9 introduced features that certainly aren’t finished, and because of that, it’s buggy. iOS 9 Beta is for developers to start making iOS 9 apps. When they are finished in the release, iOS 9 should run even better than iOS 8, and if not, iOS 9.0.1 will.

          I’m a developer, and I installed iOS 9 on one of the iPhones I test my apps on, knowing it was buggy, but thought of downgrading to iOS 8.4 Beta, since my apps don’t work properly (I’ll wait until the last betas of iOS 9, then go back).
          I certainly would never install iOS Betas on my main iPhone that I use as a daily driver, though.

  5. peter says:

    hm, my restore seems to be stuck, for 30 minutes now already. Obviously I knew what I was taking on installing an iOS 9 early beta. I just want to go back now. any suggestions?

  6. vamsi says:

    after downgrading my call log was not working…..!

  7. Gazally says:

    I am trying to downgrade but cannot proceed. getting a error message. “iPhone “iPhone” could not be restored because the firmware file is not compatible”

  8. Patrick says:

    Just wanted to share my experience with downgrading.

    I needed to downgrade because iOS 9 was killing my iPhone 5 battery and there was an incredible amount of bugs. I did some research and found out that I would lose all my messages and contacts, however I found a way to get them back during the restore to iOS 8.3. First you need to back up your device running iOS 9. Then get a program like ibackupbot and transfer your messages data, attachments, and contacts to your desktop. Next, download iOS 8.3 and shift+upgrade your phone. This will transfer all data but messages and contacts. Next, make a restore of your “new” phone running iOS 8.3. On ibackupbot open up this new backup and insert your messages, attachments, and contacts. Finally restore from this backup with the added files and you will have all the data you had on your iOS 9 phone.

  9. Patrick says:

    Hi wanna ask, can i restore backup on icloud to ios8 which i had backup when im using ios9. *Just downgraded from ios9

  10. Blake says:

    — URGENT —

    I recently installed the iOS 9 beta 3 and have decided that I want to downgrade as it is slow and consumes my battery a lot. I have download both IPSW files for each software version (beta 3, and 8.4) and backed up my phone content.

    Now when I put my iphone in DFU mode and manually restore via the 8.4 IPSW file I can’t restore my content because I get an error message which says ‘software too old’.

    WHAT DO I DO!

    Kind Regards,
    Blake…

    • t9j says:

      Correct, as the article mentions, you can not restore backups from iOS 9 to iOS 8, you have to use the iOS 8 backup to restore iOS 8 stuff. Apple does not let new backups go to old versions, vice versa works.

    • Roboli says:

      Did you ever get this resolved?

  11. Roboli says:

    I too upgraded to version 9 and love the new features but man buggy as hell. A lot of apps did not work and would just hang and crash. Tried uninstall and reinstall but got the same results. Calendar did not work correctly also and
    speech to text would work on first boot, the first time i used it but anytime I tried to use it after that it would just hang and do nothing That’s the main reason why I am going back because I use S2T all the time.

    I just wanted to point out that when doing the recovery I wasn’t able to pick the file (8.4). iTunes downloaded automatically.

    Couple of tips that I have found useful when playing around with Betas.

    –> Make sure you update your phone to the latest and greatest stable build.

    –> Backup, then backup, then backup again! I always do a fresh iCloud backup, deleting the latest backup before I do. I do a regular backup to PC just for the hell of it. Then I do an encrypted backup since this one will save all your passwords, that way you don’t have to re-enter them all when you restore.

    I am still working on my current restore from 9 > 8.4 and will post any issues.

    HTH!

    Cheers!

  12. Manish says:

    In my case, I installed iOS9 beta and due to issues in search (search for messages or in native email client were not showing any results), I tried restoring to 8.4.
    I was able to do that but realized that the call log stopped working. It always remained blank. It did not show any incoming/outgoing/missed calls.
    Read over the web that the call log of ios9 is not compatible with 8.4 and gets corrupted when you go back to 8.4.
    I am forced to upgrade again to ios9. I need the call logs to work.

  13. KURT HANSON says:

    Apple software engineers found that you couldn’t downgrade back to iOS 8 from the iTunes incompatible back up you made before upgrading to the iOS 9 Beta, but since the Apple webpage informing anyone that they could was already live, they just said, “Oh, well. It’s four o’clock. Let’s go get a beer, Jo, before the crowds get there.”

    Apple is losing that pristine touch and quality of excellence. No lie. 🖖

  14. RoRo says:

    I never wanted to upgrade to ios9 in the first place but I had to restore my phone after some problems and it upgraded automatically. It didnt work at all – everytime I wanted to open the phone app it crashed – it wouldnt let me take phone calls (thanks apple, great job – is this still suppoosed to be a phone after all?). I tried a lot – downgrading to ios 8.4 didnt work either – it always caused an error.
    I tried reinstalling ios 9 (several times) and I found out by accident that it works fine if you do the following:
    During the restoring or installation process it will ask you if you want to restore your phone from a backup. Of course I always chose yes in the first place – but guess what. Choose no – the phone will load all your contacts anyways, all your apps you just download from the cloud via the app store afterwards. I can access my phone and contacts again – everything works just fine! Hope this helps others too!

  15. Jack says:

    Hi when i try to put the IPSW file into the restore it says: The iPhone “iPhone” can not be restored because the firmware file is not compatible. please help

    • dragonfly says:

      Update, 1 October 2015: Unfortunately, Apple has stopped signing both iOS 8.4.1 and iOS 9.0 which means you can’t use the method to downgrade to iOS 8. With this being said, it can still be used to downgrade from iOS 9.0.2 to iOS 9.0.1 (as long as Apple is still signing it anyway!).

Leave a Reply

 

Shop for Apple & Mac Deals on Amazon.com

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates

Recent Posts