How to Downgrade iOS 13 Beta to iOS 12

Jun 12, 2019 - 3 Comments

How to downgrade iOS 13 beta to iOS 12

Want to downgrade from iOS 13 beta back to iOS 12 stable builds? If you installed iOS 13 beta or iPadOS 13 beta onto a compatible iPhone or iPad and now want to revert back to a prior iOS 12 release, you can do so with the assistance of iTunes and a computer. And yes this applies to downgrading iPadOS 13 back to iOS 12 as well, since iPadOS is just iOS relabeled for iPad.

We’ll show you two different ways to downgrade iOS 13 back to iOS 12, the first approach will use ISPW restore to revert to a prior iOS build, and the second approach will cover downgrading iOS 13 using Recovery Mode.


Downgrading iOS 13 Requirements: You’ll need a Mac or Windows PC with the most recent version of iTunes, an internet connection, a USB cable for connecting the iPhone or iPad to the computer, and the IPSW firmware file matching the device you want to downgrade. You’ll also want to be sure you have a backup of your data made from when iOS 12 was installed, since that is what you’ll restore data from. You can not restore an iOS 13 beta backup onto an iOS 12 device.

How to Downgrade iOS 13 Beta to iOS 12.3.1

You’ll want to be sure you have backups handy of your iPhone or iPad just in case anything goes wrong. You can backup to iCloud or iTunes, or both. If you backup to iTunes, archive the iOS 12 backup so that it does not get overwritten by a new backup. Failure to have adequate backups can result in permanent data loss. Remember, you can not restore iOS 13 beta backups to iOS 12.

  1. Download the iOS 12.3.1 IPSW firmware file matching the iPhone or iPad model, make sure the .ipsw file is somewhere easily accessible
  2. Launch iTunes on the Mac or Windows PC
  3. Connect the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 13 beta to the computer running iTunes by using a USB cable
  4. Choose the connected device in iTunes by clicking the device icon in the iTunes menubar, then find the summary section in iTunes for the connected device and do the following:
    • Mac: Hold the OPTION button and click the “Update” button
    • Windows: Hold the SHIFT button and click the “Update” button
  5. From the file browser, choose the iOS 12.3.1 IPSW file that was downloaded in the first step and choose this to restore to
  6. The downgrade process will begin, the iPhone or iPad screen will turn black and the device will reboot several times, let this entire process complete and do not disconnect it from the computer until finished

Downgrading iOS can take a while, do not interrupt the downgrade process. If you do interrupt the downgrade process, the iPhone or iPad will not be usable until it is restored again, likely requiring the usage of Recovery Mode or DFU mode.

How to Downgrade iOS 13 Beta with Recovery Mode

Another downgrade possibility is to use Recovery Mode or DFU restore, either of which will erase the device and then you’ll either have to restore the device from a compatible backup, or set it up as new. Without a backup available you will lose any and all data on the device.

Remember that you can not restore an iOS 13 backup to an iOS 12 device.

  1. Launch iTunes on the Mac or Windows PC
  2. Connect the iPhone or iPad running iOS 13 beta to the computer using a USB cable
  3. Put the iPhone or iPad into recovery mode, a process which differs per iOS device:
    • iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus: Press and release the Volume Up button, then press and release the Volume Down button, then press and hold the Power / Side button until you see the recovery mode screen
    • iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus: Press and hold the Power / Side button and Volume Down buttons at the same time, hold the buttons until you see the recovery mode screen
    • iPad, iPad mini, and all iPad Pro models with Home button, iPhone 6s: Press and hold the Power / Side button and Home buttons concurrently, hold both buttons until you see the recovery mode screen
    • iPad Pro (2018) and newer with Face ID: Press and release the Volume Up button, next press and release the Volume Down button, then press and hold the Power / Side button until you see the recovery mode screen
  4. Click on “Restore” when iTunes detects a device in recovery mode, remember this will erase everything on the device and installs the current stable version of iOS
  5. Wait for the iOS restore process to complete, the iPhone or iPad will appear to reboot several times

After the Recovery Mode restore process is complete, the iPhone or iPad will boot back up into the regular setup process as if it were a brand new device or one that had been reset to default settings. You can choose to restore the downgraded iPhone or iPad from a backup from iCloud or iTunes, or set it up as a new device.

If either of the above downgrade methods fail, which is fairly unlikely, you’ll need to resort to using DFU mode on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Usually DFU mode is only necessary when the device is basically bricked however, meaning it’s totally unusable and stuck on a black screen or something similar.

Did you downgrade from iOS 13 beta and revert back to iOS 12? Share your experiences of downgrading and uninstalling iOS 13 beta in the comments below!

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

3 Comments

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  1. Secundius says:

    Uh-ho! I don’t even have iOS 13 loaded yet, and there’s talk already about “Reversing Course” to iOS 12! What gives…

    • Paul says:

      This is aimed at iOS 13 beta users who want to revert back to iOS 12 and away from the beta test releases. Beta software is essentially developer testing software and not intended for broader public use because it’s usually buggy and unfinished, which is why some beta testers might want to downgrade iOS 13 / iPadOS 13 beta to the stable final releases of iOS 12.

      The final version of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 will be out in the fall for everyone else.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Isaac says:

    It’s a big buggy but i love it on iPad πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸΏπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸΎ

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