How to Downgrade iOS 11 to iOS 10.3.3 on iPhone and iPad
Don’t like iOS 11 on your iPhone or iPad? You can downgrade to iOS 10.3.3 if you act quickly. Maybe you don’t like the update, maybe you find iOS 11 battery life to be poor, or app compatibility to be a problem, or perhaps you think the performance is subpar. Whatever the reason, you can easily downgrade iOS 11 if you need to, but the ability to downgrade is only available for a limited time while Apple continues to sign the prior operating system release of iOS 10.3.3.
We’ll walk through how you can downgrade iOS 11 back to iOS 10 on an iPhone or iPad.
This guide requires iTunes and a computer, internet access, an iOS 10.3.3 ISPW file, and a USB cable. There is no way to downgrade iOS 11 without iTunes and a computer.
Important note: downgrading iOS 11 to iOS 10.3.3 can cause data loss, including the removal of important data or everything on your iPhone or iPad. Thus it is critical to have a backup that is compatible with iOS 10 available before downgrading (one should have been made prior to updating to iOS 11 in the first place), this is because iOS 11 backups are not compatible with iOS 10 or other prior releases. If you only have a backup for iOS 11, then downgrading to iOS 10 may require you to update again to iOS 11 in order to restore from that iOS 11 backup. If you don’t know what you are doing and do not have adequate backups, do not attempt to downgrade or you may experience permanent data loss on the iPhone or iPad.
We’ll cover two ways to downgrade, a simple way that should work for most users, and an approach that requires Recovery Mode if the first downgrade method fails.
How to Downgrade iOS 11 to iOS 10.3.3 the Easy Way
Be sure you have recent backups available of your iOS device to avoid potential data loss. An iOS 11 backup is only able to be restored to an iOS 11 device, thus you would need an iOS 10 backup to restore to iOS 10. Failing to have a compatible backup can lead to permanent data loss.
- Go here and download the iOS 10.3.3 IPSW file for the iPhone or iPad you wish to downgrade and save that .ipsw file somewhere easy to locate like the desktop
- Open the iTunes app on a Mac or Windows PC
- Using a USB cable, connect the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch you wish to downgrade to the computer
- Select the device in iTunes by clicking on the little device icon in the upper left corner of iTunes
- Now under the device summary section of iTunes, click the ‘Update’ button using the appropriate modifier key to begin the downgrade process:
- Mac OS: OPTION + click the “Update” button
- Windows PC: SHIFT + click the “Update” button
- Select the iOS 10.3.3 .ipsw file you downloaded in the first step, and choose to update to that version
- The iPhone or iPad screen will turn black as the downgrade begins, rebooting multiple times with a progress bar and Apple logo as the downgrade completes
- When the downgrade has finished the device will boot back up into iOS 10, the process can take a while if the device has a large amount of used storage
The downgrade from iOS 11 to iOS 10.3.3 should go without a hitch, assuming you chose the proper iOS 10.3.3 IPSW file for your device, and assuming Apple is still signing the system software. Once Apple stops signing iOS 10.3.3 then downgrading to it from iOS 11 will be impossible.
Some users have reported that sometimes data in iBooks, Notes, Music, and Messages may go missing with the “update” downgrade approach outlined above. If that happens to you, simply restore the device from an iOS 10.3.3 compatible backup once the device is back on iOS 10.3.3.
Note that if you choose “Restore” in the above process and then select IPSW, then the device will be either restored from a backup made compatible with iOS 10.3.3 or setup as new like a standard restore process, which can then be restored with a compatible backup.
If for some reason the above downgrade method fails, you can use the Recovery Mode approach to downgrading iOS 11 detailed next.
How to Downgrade from iOS 11 with Recovery Mode on iPhone and iPad
Rarely, the above downgrade process will fail or get stuck on an Apple logo, or stuck on a black screen. If this happens, you can start the downgrade over again while the iPhone or iPad is in Recovery Mode or DFU mode*
- Launch iTunes on the computer
- Download the appropriate iOS 10.3.3 IPSW file for your device that you want to downgrade
- Put the iPhone or iPad into Recovery Mode using the instructions appropriate for your device:
- For iPad, iPhone 6s and earlier with a clickable Home button, and iPod touch: Press and hold both the Power button and Home button at the same time. Continue holding the buttons down until you see a recovery mode iTunes connect screen (this happens after you see the Apple logo, just keep holding the buttons)
- For iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus: Press down and hold the Power button and Volume Down button concurrently and continue holding until you see the recovery mode screen, this happens after you see the Apple logo so continue holding the buttons until you see the recovery mode indicator of the iTunes logo
- With the iPhone or iPad in Recovery Mode, connect the device to a computer with iTunes
- For Mac, OPTION click on “Restore” and for Windows SHIFT click on “Restore” and select the iOS 10.3.3 IPSW file you downloaded in the second step
- Restore the device to iOS 10.3.3, when the restore is complete choose to setup as new or restore a backup that is compatible with iOS 10.3.3 (note that iOS 11 backups are not compatible with prior iOS releases)
* You can learn how to put iPhone 7 into DFU mode here and how to put other iPhone and iPad models into DFU mode here. It’s unusual to need DFU mode to downgrade unless something has gone wrong and the device has become totally unresponsive.
Help, My iOS 11 Backup Won’t Work on iOS 10!
If you only have a backup from iOS 11, then it will not work with an iOS 10.3.3 device that has been downgraded. Instead, you will need to download the iOS 11 update or update the device to iOS 11 through Setting app, and then restore the iOS 11 backup to the device after it has been updated to a compatible version of system software. There is no way to make an iOS 11 backup compatible with an iOS 10.3.3 device as the iOS backups are not backwards compatible.
What’s your experience with downgrading iOS 11? Why did you downgrade and how did it go? Share your experience in the comments below!