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How to Downgrade Your iPhone 5, 4S & 4 From iOS 7 to iOS 6

Last Monday, Apple announced iOS 7, the massively revamped mobile operating system for iPhone 5, 4S, and 4. The company also released a beta version of iOS 7 — accessible to anyone with a developers license. But, what if you don’t like the redesigned OS or you get fed up with the glitches in iOS 7? Well, there an easy way to revert your phone back to iOS 6.

It should be noted that the process is quite cumbersome, but could be worth it if your iPhone doesn’t mesh well with iOS 7 (remember, this version is a developer beta, so it’s not even close to the final version of the operating system that should be released “sometime this fall.”).

1. Download iOS 6

ios 7 gif
The first step is to actually download the correct iOS 6 IPSW file. If you get the wrong file, your iPhone won’t reset properly. iPhone 5 owners should download iOS 6.1.4, but everyone else should download iOS 6.1.3.

You also need to make sure the IPSW file you download is compatible to your network. AT&T and T-Mobile users should download the GSM version, and Sprint and Verizon owners should use the CDMA version.

Plug in your iPhone into your computer and cancel the automatic sync process. ReadWrite explains why you shouldn’t sync your iPhone that’s running iOS 7 to your iTunes.

You should cancel the sync just to be safe. While I did not let it happen with my device, having an iOS 7 backup could supersede your old backups and keep you from restoring your phone as it was in iOS 6 with all your content – apps, settings, music, photos – intact. Despite that, you should still be able to, at the very least, setup the device as a new iPhone.

2. You Don’t Need DFU Mode

There’s also a misconception regarding DFU (Download Firmware Update) mode, which is essentially the iPhone’s recovery mode. ReadWrite notes that it’s not necessary at all, “it turns out that this is completely unnecessary and your iPhone can be downgraded without that extra effort.” But, if you decide to use DFU mode, it shouldn’t be detrimental to the process.

3. After that, It’s Easy

ios 7 gif

Once your iPhone is connected to iTunes, just Alt+Click in Windows (or Option+Click in OS X) on the “Restore iPhone” button. You should be able to see a Finder window that lets you search for the iOS 6 IPSW file, just how it did when you were you installed iOS 7. Just follow the steps and iOS 6 should be installed on your computer. Restore your most recent iOS 6 backup and your phone will be the same as it was before you installed iOS 7.

To contact the author, email ian@heavy.com.
Follow Ian Kar on Twitter.

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