So you’ve installed the iOS 11 beta and, well, you don’t love it. No problem, because you can roll right back to iOS 10.
However, note that this will wipe your device completely, which could pose a problem. Let’s say you didn’t follow our advice to do a full backup before leaping into iOS 11 beta. In that case, if you downgrade to iOS 10, you’re looking at a full device wipe and any data you don’t have backed up in another way (like photos copied to your computer outside of iTunes or iCloud), will be erased.
In addition, regardless of whether or not you backed up the device when it was on iOS 10, any changes made or data created on your phone between the iOS 11 beta update and the rollback will be lost.
If you were just playing around with iOS 11 beta on a spare device, that’s not such a big deal. If you somehow found yourself in the unenviable position of installing iOS 11 beta on your primary device and you didn’t back it up first, however, you might want to consider just chugging along with iOS 11 to save yourself the lost data.
Lastly, this tutorial will only help you downgrade from the iOS 11 beta to iOS 10.3.3, and it will only work up until the public release of iOS 11. After that, Apple will stop signing older iOS firmware versions and you will not be able to downgrade to them.
Those cautions aside, let’s jump right into the pretty easy rollback process.
What You Need
To follow along today, you need just a few things. You’ll need your device, a USB data cable for said device, an up-to-date copy of iTunes, and you’ll need to download the appropriate iPSW file for your device. For the unfamiliar, iPSW files are the firmware files for iOS devices. Using an iPSW file to reset or restore your device is like performing a complete factory reset.
All of the files listed below, organized by device model, are hosted directly by Apple. We’ve merely organized the direct links for ease of use. When you’re ready to roll back, download the matching iPSW file for your device. Unsure exactly which file you should download for your device? Check the model number on the case and use this iOS device list to confirm which device you have.
iPhone iPSW Files:
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone 5s
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 5c
- iPhone 5
iPad iPSW Files:
- iPad Pro (12.9-inch) (2nd generation)
- iPad Pro (12.9‑inch)
- iPad Pro (10.5-inch)
- iPad Pro (9.7‑inch)
- iPad (9.7-inch)
- iPad (4th generation)
- iPad Air 2
- iPad Air
- iPad mini 4
- iPad mini 3
- iPad mini 2
iPod Touch iPSW Files:
After carefully confirming which iPSW file you need for your device, download the file to your computer and head on to the next section.
How to Roll Your Device Back to iOS 10
First, if you’ve enabled the “Find My iPhone” feature for your iPhone or iPad, you will need to turn that feature off first. You must do this from the iPhone or iPad itself. Head to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Find My iPhone or Find My iPad and ensure the feature is turned off.
With the iPSW file in hand, plug your iOS device into your PC or Mac with the USB cable and fire up iTunes. Inside iTunes, click on the device icon (located in the upper left corner and highlighted in the screenshot below).
Within the device’s “Summary” page (the default view), locate the “Restore [Device Name]…” button in the Summary panel. Press and hold the Option key (Mac) or Shift key (Windows) and click the button. You must press the keyboard key while clicking the button in order to load the file browser to select a custom restore file. If you don’t, iTunes will only allow you to select from local backups you’ve made.
When you click the Restore button, you won’t be prompted to back up your device, get any data off it, or warned in any fashion. The presumption is that, because you know this super secret key combination, you know what you’re doing.
In the file browser that pops up, navigate to the iPSW file for your device in the location you saved the download. Select it (make sure, if you have multiple devices, you select the correct one for the device you’re currently wiping and restoring) and then click “Open” to start the process.
Click “Restore” to continue and erase the contents of your iPhone or iPad.
If you see an error message instead, you probably downloaded the wrong iPSW file for your device.
Once you click “Restore”, it’s go time: your iOS device will be wiped and the iOS software will be downgraded from iOS 11 Beta to iOS 10.3.3. When the process is finished, your device will boot back up as if you’d just turned it on for the first time, welcome screen and all. At that point you can either start with a totally fresh copy of iOS 10 or you can copy your old iOS 10 backup (if you made one) from iTunes or iCloud.
If you made a backup in iTunes, iTunes will ask you if you want to restore that backup to your device right after it finishes installing iOS 10. Select the backup and click “Continue” to do so.
At this point, be it with a fresh install or your old iOS 10 backup restored, you’re back on iOS 10 and can linger there as long as you want. However, you’ll probably want to upgrade to iOS 11 when the final, stable version is released later in 2017.