iOS 12 comes with some amazing new features, like ARKit 2 and Memoji, but it's still a new operating system and you might not be happy with it. If for any reason, you need to downgrade your device back to a prior version, that's fine. What's more, downgrading is easy: All you need is an archived backup of your device from prior to installing iOS 12, iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC, and to follow the steps below!

Note: If you're reading this article on the iPhone or iPad you want to revert, either print it out first or open it on another iPhone, iPad, or computer so that you can read along as you go.

Remember to make sure you have an archived copy of the previous version of iOS or these steps won't matter.

How to put your iPhone and iPad into recovery mode

There's no button tap to revert your device back to the standard version of iOS. So, to get started, you'll need to put your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch into recovery mode. That lets iTunes take over.

  1. Turn off your iPhone or iPad: On iPhone 8 and older, hold down the Sleep/Wake button until Slide to power off appears, then slide. On iPhone X, hold down the Side button and Volume Up button until Slide to power off appears, then slide.
  2. Plug your USB to Lightning cable (or USB to 30-pin Dock cable for older devices) into your computer.
  3. Plug your USB to Lightning cable (or USB to 30-pin Dock cable for older devices) into your iPhone or iPad.
  4. On iPhone X, iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus press and release the Volume Up button and then the Volume Down button. Then, press and hold the Side button until you see the connect to iTunes screen.
  5. On iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus press and hold the Side and Volume Down buttons at the same time and keep holding them until you see connect to iTunes screen.
  6. On an iPhone 6s and older, iPad, or iPod touch: Press and hold the Home and the Top buttons at the same time and keep holding them until you see the connect to iTunes screen.

If for some reason, Recovery Mode doesn't work, you can also try putting your iPhone or iPad into DFU mode. Device Firmware Update mode is a little trickier to get into, but will often force a restore even when nothing else works.

How to downgrade to an older version of iOS on your iPhone or iPad

If iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC doesn't launch automatically, launch it manually. iTunes will detect your device in recovery mode and ask you what you want to do.

  1. Click Restore on the iTunes popup.
  2. Click Restore and Update to confirm.


  3. Click Next on the iOS 11 Software Updater.
  4. Click Agree to accept the Terms and Conditions and start downloading iOS 11.


If your device reboots to iOS 12 before the download is complete, simply repeat the steps above and put it back into Recovery Mode. Once the download is complete, iTunes will restore your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to the older version of iOS.

How to restore your archived iOS backup to your iPhone or iPad

Once your device is restored, it'll have a clean copy of the latest standard version of iOS. To get your data back, you'll need to restore from a previous backup. If you've been running the newest software for more than a day, your standard iCloud or iTunes backup will likely be based on that software release and may not restore properly to a device running the older version of iOS. That's where the archived backup you made prior to installing the new software comes in. (You did make a backup, right?)

  1. Select Restore from this backup in iTunes.
  2. Choose the archived backup you made before installing the beta software update.

Once the restore is completed, your iPhone or iPad should be back to where it was before you installed the new software. If you've made any major changes since then, and they don't sync back some other way, you may have to repeat them to get back to exactly where you were before downgrading.

If you run into any trouble or have any questions, ask away in the comments!

Updated September 2018: Updated for iOS 12.

iOS

Main