How to Downgrade iOS 13 Beta to iOS 12

Jun 12, 2019 - 17 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 three 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. Finally, we’ll show you how to downgrade from iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 by using DFU mode as well.


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 12.4

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 12.4.1 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 12.4.1 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.

How to Downgrade iOS 13 Beta / iPadOS 13 Beta with DFU Mode

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.

DFU mode is basically deeper version of Recovery Mode, and it will still rely on iTunes and a USB cable to accomplish. Thus everything is the same as Recovery Mode except first you must put your iPhone or iPod into DFU mode. The instructions for getting into DFU mode differ per device, however:

Once you are in DFU mode on the iPhone or iPad, you can restore the device with iTunes and downgrade the same way as you otherwise would with Recovery Mode outlined further above.

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

17 Comments

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  1. Michele says:

    I have tried to downgrade using the first method and got an Error 77 … what is this?
    Is restore my only option?

  2. Dave C. Wylie says:

    Thank you for this tip. I successfully used the 2nd method to restore my iPad Mini 4 from IOS 13 as 1st method failed.

  3. Kathrine Harvey says:

    I downloaded the public beta iOS13 and hated it. It needs a lot more work before it is usable. If you scroll too fast on an app it starts bouncing the screen or crashes the apps etc. I tried to downgrade via the first scenario given above and it failed, left me on an apple logo and no loading (unspecified error). So I unplugged and plugged back into my Mac and am currently waiting for the download directly from apple to restore my phone to factory… yeah I almost lost my Mac to the beta also. I ended up turning it into a brick and going through the steps to restore back to High Sierra and am sooo glad I was able to. hopefully they get all the bugs out. I sure did submit a ton of feedback before I finally couldn’t take it anymore…

  4. Tippy says:

    Tried to revert back to IOS 12.x but iCloud back had already kicked in and overwritten my 12 backup so started from scratch.

    But now certain Apps wonโ€™t load and I can only assume these are already updated in my account to IOS 13 versions?

  5. Edward says:

    Neither option above seemed to work for me. I too found iOS 13 Public Beta too buggy. Had been previously been testing 12.4 PB 5 with good success. Fortunately I had archived both of these scenarios.

    What DID work for me was using the iPad DFU Mode as described here (see link below). That successfully took my iPad back to 12.3.1 and from there I went back to the 12.4 PB 5 variant and successfully restored from my archived 12.4 PB 5 file.

    Long story short. Betas are buggy. BACK UP and archive your iOS and apps in iTunes before you try them.

    • Paul says:

      Thanks for the update Edward, I have added to the section about downgrading from iOS 13 with DFU mode for situations like yours where downgrading otherwise is unsuccessful without putting the device into DFU mode first.

  6. Edward says:

    Was running Public Beta iOS 13. Interesting but a bit too buggy at this state. Had been running previous beta, iOS 12.4 PB 5. Had backups (archived) in iTunes for both of these PBs so wasn’t sure how this rollback would play out.

    Sadly going back to 12.3.1 did not work as outlined above. Neither, for some strange reason, did the Recovery Mode option above.

    After some frustration I did have success using the iPad DFU mode as described here (link below).

    http://osxdaily.com/2010/12/04/ipad-dfu-mode/

    That took me back to pre-Beta iOS (12.3.1) and from there a download of the 12.4 Public Beta 5 profile and iOS allowed me to restore my previously archived settings.

  7. Max says:

    Ive tried a downgrade with a error at the beginning. the iphone do not start anymore. I see just a screen with a “laptop” and a Cable.

    Itunes can not detect my phone in recovery or dfu mode. do you have any ideas to safe my phone? :(

  8. arnnni says:

    Note that it’s the “Check For Updates” button that you press while holding the Option key. Also, after starting the downgrade using the first method above, Itunes threw an error message, saying the process could not be completed. However, it looks like the Ipad is still doing something, so maybe it’s actually working.

  9. Aram says:

    I did everything what was required by instruction. Unfortunately I’ve got in “fairly unlikely” list and got error during downgrade. My iPhone stuck in first “Apple” with loading screen. Had to use “DFU mode” to recover it, but unfortunately iOS 13 backup is not fitting with iOS12 =(

  10. Matt Whalley says:

    There is no more iTunes in MacOS Catalina as Apple have split it into Music & Podcasts. In order to access your phone you now have to do it through the Finder.

    • Paul says:

      That is correct.

      Downgrading from iOS 13 to iOS 12 is still possible in MacOS Catalina however. In fact, everything is the same in Catalina except instead of selecting the device to downgrade in iTunes you use the Finder to select the device that you want to downgrade.

  11. Isaac says:

    Itโ€™s a big buggy but i love it on iPad ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ

  12. 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!

    • Mark Mayer says:

      As Paul said, this is the Public Beta version. Itโ€™s certainly worth testing it out, especially if you have a spare device, but itโ€™s neither stable nor plays nice with all of my apps (Iโ€™ll be reverting shortly). So check it out if you want (with the usual precautions of doing a back up and archive first), but keep in mind you might lose any work you do on it (since that work might not be restored).

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