iOS 12 goes on general release today (17 Sept 2018), and promises a substantial speed boost and a range of new features. But inevitably some people who upgrade their devices from iOS 11 won't be happy with the new software. What are they to do?
It is possible to remove iOS 12 from your iPhone or iPad and go back to iOS 11, but the method won't be available for long. In this article, we show you how to downgrade from iOS 12, and also discuss the possible dangers of doing so.
Read our iOS 12 vs iOS 11 comparison if you'd like to hear the pros and cons of each option.
iOS downgrade warning
A couple of things worth noting before you try to downgrade.
First up, downgrading from iOS 12 to iOS 11 will require you completely wiping your phone - all your contacts, photos, apps and everything else will be deleted. It's not like the upgrade process where all your data remains intact.
While it will be possible to restore from a backup once you're running iOS 11 again, you won't be able to restore from an iOS 12 backup. If your iPhone or iPad has automatically backed up via iCloud since you've upgraded, you won't be able to access any of your data after downgrading. You'll have to start again from scratch, or restore from an older backup (if available).
Finally, you need to be sure that Apple is still signing the last version of iOS 11 (probably iOS 11.4.1). As a rule of thumb, Apple tends to stop signing the older version around two days after the release of the new version. That means that the window is small, and it's worth checking that it's still available before following the below tutorial.
While there's no official resource, you can head to this site to check the status for your iOS device. If Apple has stopped signing the software and you still try, chances are your phone will be wiped and you'll be prompted to re-install iOS 12.
How to downgrade from iOS 12 to iOS 11
Follow these instructions to downgrade from iOS 12 to iOS 11:
- Open iTunes on your PC or Mac. If you haven't got it already, download it from the Apple site.
- Download the iOS 11.4.1 software update (assuming it's still being signed - see warnings above). There are many sites that offer IPSW downloads; just make sure you're downloading the software for your specific device or the restore will fail in iTunes.
- Connect your iPhone or iPad running iOS 12 to your PC or Mac, and select it in the drop-down in the top-left of iTunes.
- Click Restore iPhone while holding down the Option key (Mac) or the Shift key (Windows) and locate the IPSW file you downloaded earlier.
- Once you select the software, it should be verified and extracted by iTunes and loaded onto your iOS device.
And that's it! Once the process is complete, you'll be welcomed by the iOS 11 welcome screen. Simply follow the setup instructions and select an iOS 11 backup to restore from (if available).