Apple’s beta for iOS 13 is not without bugs and other issues, and if those problems become annoying or impede your ability to use your iPhone like usual, you may want to downgrade. Hundreds of new features may not matter if you can’t use your iPhone like it’s meant to be.
There’s also the chance that you just don’t like the iOS 13 beta update as it stands right now. Whether that’s the case or your iPhone has become increasingly unusable as you’d like to use it, you’re not stuck with iOS 13 — you can downgrade back to iOS 12.3.1 or 12.3.2, depending on which iPhone model you have. You can even go back to iOS 12.3 if that’s what you were running before.
Apple released the iOS 13 beta on June 3, 2019, so we have some time before the company stops supporting the latest versions of iOS 12. Based on past trends, we think Apple will probably stop signing the newest iOS 12 software updates sometime in October of this year. Once it does, you won’t be able to downgrade from iOS 13 unless you happened to save your SHSH2 blobs.
Until that fateful day, you can downgrade from iOS 13 in a couple of different ways. If you want to keep all the data on your iPhone, you would have to have made an archived backup before you upgraded to iOS 13. If you didn’t make a backup, you could still downgrade, but you’ll have to start fresh.
Before you can restore your iPhone, you need to disable Find My iPhone. You don’t need to do this now since iOS will prompt you to disable the feature down the line, but it makes things easier to sort this out now, so you don’t run into problems later.
First, open “Settings,” then tap your name at the top of the display, and choose “Find My” from the list. Next, tap “Find My iPhone,” then tap the slider next to “Find My iPhone” to toggle it off. When prompted, enter your Apple ID and password, and iOS will disable Find My iPhone.
Now, you need to download the restore image for your specific iPhone model onto your computer for either iOS 12.3, 12.3.1, or 12.3.2, which will be an IPSW file. While this guide focuses on iPhone, the process is the same for iPad and iPod touch, so we’ve included the restore images for those iOS devices as well. Don’t be afraid if your download time is long — these files are large. On both macOS and Windows, you’ll find your downloaded file in the “Downloads” folder.
Step 3: Connect Your iPhone to iTunes
Once your IPSW has downloaded entirely, plug your iPhone into your Mac or Windows computer via a Lightning to USB or Lightning to USB-C cable. If you’re using Windows or macOS 10.14.6 Mojave or lower, iTunes should open automatically. If you’re running macOS 10.15 Catalina, you should see the iPhone appear as a drive in Locations in the Finder, since there is no iTunes app.
For Windows or macOS Mojave or lower, if iTunes but it didn’t open right away, take a look at your iPhone’s lock screen; If you find an “Unlock iPhone to Use Accessories” notification, unlock it. Additionally, you may see a prompt asking to “Trust This Computer” if it’s the first time connecting to the machine — follow the on-screen instructions to trust it. Furthermore, iTunes might ask you to update iTunes to connect your device, so do so if you see that.
Once connected to iTunes in Windows or macOS Mojave or lower, the phone icon should appear under Devices in the sidebar as well as next to the media dropdown. Click on either to head to your device’s Summary screen. On macOS Catalina, click on your iPhone from the sidebar in Finder, which will show up under the Locations section, or double-click on it from your Desktop.
If on a Mac, hold down the Option key, then click “Restore iPhone” in the Summary page in iTunes or Finder. On a Windows PC, do the same but hold down Shift instead.
Here, you’ll see a file browser menu pop up. Locate your downloaded IPSW file, select it, then click “Open.”
Now, you’ll see a popup letting you know that iOS 12.3, 12.3.1, or 12.3.2 will be installed on your iPhone, overwriting iOS 13. Select “Restore” here to confirm the process. Make sure to keep an eye on your iPhone, as it might as you to enter your passcode somewhere during the installation.
Don’t unplug your iPhone from your computer until it reboots, and the iOS 12.3, 12.3.1, or 12.3.2 welcome screen appears. Once that happens, feel free to disconnect.
Step 5: Restore Your iPhone from a Backup
Since you downgraded your iPhone with a restore image, all of your data will be lost. If you have a compatible backup, either in iCloud or iTunes, use the following steps to get back up and running with all your photos, settings, and other data.
- If you want your iPhone to feel fresh-out-of-the-box, select “Set Up as New iPhone.”
- If you want your saved apps and data restored, try “Restore from iCloud” if you have a completed backup for 12.3, 12.3.1, or 12.3.2. If your backup was made with iOS 13, iOS would make you update back to iOS 13, so you may have to start from scratch anyway with “Set Up as New iPhone.”
- If you made an archived backup in iTunes for 12.3, 12.3.1, or 12.3.2, you can try “Restore from iTunes Backup.”
If you choose to restore your iPhone from an archived backup, you’ll need to stay connected to iTunes and select your iPhone on the display. This time, however, click “Restore Backup,” select your archived backup from the list, then click “Restore.” You’ll know if it’s an archived backup if you see the date and time in the actual backup name itself.
If you encrypted your 12.3, 12.3.1, or 12.3.2 backup, you’d need to enter your password to continue. Now, wait for the restore to finish before unplugging your iPhone from your computer. Once syncing is complete, your iPhone will be running your iOS 12 version with all data restored.
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