How to downgrade from iOS 15

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If you installed iOS 15 with over-excitement and for some reason decided that you don’t like the update, you’re probably wondering if there’s a way to go back to iOS 14. It’s possible, but the bad news is if you didn’t archive an iOS 14 backup before upgrading, you may need to completely erase and restart your iPhone — and it’s only available for a limited time, too.

Here we describe how to downgrade from iOS 15 back to iOS 14.

A note about archived backups

Before we begin, it’s worth noting that while you can downgrade to iOS 14 for a limited time, you can’t restore from an iOS 15 backup. That means if you’ve backed up your iPhone since upgrading to iOS 15, you won’t be able to use that backup if you decide to downgrade. The only exception to this is when using an archived backup.

Archived backups are stored separately from standard backups, which are constantly being overwritten on your Mac or PC. If you archived an iOS 14 backup before the upgrade, you’re in luck — you can access all your pre-upgrade texts, apps, and other data. However, if you haven’t done so, you’ll likely need to erase your phone and start over.

Whether you have an archived backup or not, downgrading and restoring from the backup will mean losing all the text, apps, and other data on the phone from your iOS 15 days. Just a warning.

How to put your iPhone in recovery mode

As you might expect, Apple doesn’t make downgrading to an earlier version of iOS easy. It’s not like Windows where you can roll back an update if you don’t like it! Apple signs the older version of iOS just days after releasing a new software update, so you must be very fast if you want to go back to iOS 14.7.1 and there is no guarantee that the method will work if you are reading this tutorial.

If you still want to go ahead and downgrade to iOS 14, you need to put your iPhone in recovery mode first. Be warned: this is the point of no return – if you want to transfer data from your iOS 15 time, do so before following these steps.

iPhone 8 or later

Press the volume up button and then the volume down button in quick succession and then hold down the power button until you reach the recovery mode screen.

Note: This is how you put an iPad into recovery mode without a home button.

iPhone 7

Hold down the volume down and power buttons until you reach the recovery mode screen.

iPhone 6s or older

Hold down the home button and the power button until you reach the recovery mode screen.

Note: This is how you put an iPad with a home button into recovery mode.

How to downgrade from iOS 15 - How to downgrade from iOS 15

How to downgrade to an older version of iOS

The next step is to download iOS 14.7.1 for your iPhone model. Apple itself doesn’t offer any downloads, but there are many sites that provide the downloads completely free of charge. After downloading the file to your PC or Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac using the included Lightning cable.
  2. On a pre-Catalina PC or Mac, open iTunes. If you’re using macOS Catalina or Big Sur, open Finder and click your iPhone in the sidebar.
  3. You should see a pop-up informing you that there is a problem with your iPhone and that it needs to be updated or restored.
  4. Hold down Shift (PC) or Option (Mac) and click the Restore button.
  5. Select the IPSW you downloaded earlier.
  6. Agree to Apple’s Terms of Service.

The process should take no more than 15 minutes on average. If it takes longer or your iPhone boots back into iOS 15, unplug your iPhone and put it back into recovery mode before trying the process again. It’s also worth noting that you need an active internet connection to reinstall iOS 14.

How to restore an archived iOS backup

Once restored, your iPhone will have a clean copy of iOS 14. To get your texts, apps, and other data back on the phone, you need to restore from a backup. As mentioned, you can’t restore from an iOS 15 backup, so you’ll either have to use an archived backup (if available) or set it up as a new iPhone. If you have an archived iOS backup, do the following:

  1. From iTunes (or Finder in Catalina & Big Sur), choose Restore from this backup.
  2. Select the archived backup of iOS 14 that you made before the upgrade and enter the password if required.

Once you’re done, your iPhone should be back to where it was before you upgraded to iOS 15. For more handy iOS tips, see How to get a refund from the App Store and how to clear cache on iPhone as well.

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