How to Downgrade to iOS 7 & Uninstall iOS 8

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Not impressed with iOS 8? Here’s how to downgrade back to iOS 7. You might be interested in “downgrading” your iOS install if you have an older iOS device, and find that iOS 8 is causing your device to be laggy. Or perhaps you simply prefer the look and feel of iOS 7 to the newest version of iOS 8. Whatever your reason for wanting to turn back the clock, the uninstall process for iOS 8 is fairly simple if you follow these easy directions.

1. Locate the Correct IPSW File

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If you’ve been installing new versions of iOS via iTunes, rather than as over-the-air updates, you likely have the correct IPSW file somewhere on your hard drive. MacWorld UK notes that the file can sometimes go missing after installs, in which case you’ll need to do a search online for the correct file. The file you’ll want in this case would be 7.1.2.ipsw. That will allow you to “roll back” to the latest stable release of iOS 7, which was iOS 7.1.2. Here’s how MacWorld UK suggests you search your computer for the correct file:

If you have a copy on your hard drive you will find it, by default, by following this path: youruserfolder/Library/iTunes/ and then within a folder called iPad Software Updates, iPhone Software Updates, or iPad Software Updates, depending on the devices you use. (You access the Library folder in your user folder by holding down the Option key in the Finder and choosing Go > Library.)

The Mac will delete these files under certain circumstances so you may not have a copy of the latest one. If you don’t, launch your favorite Web browser and search for download ipsw.

We won’t link you directly to any of these sites, but will advise you to use caution and only download IPSW files from sites that you trust. Otherwise, you might download a corrupted file that could brick your phone or endanger your online privacy. Careful research is the key to finding the right IPSE file, so check forums or friends for recommendations about obtaining the right file.

You will want to act quickly. As MacWorld notes, once Apple stops signing for older versions of iOS, it can make the downgrade process much trickier.

2. Back Up Your Device

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It’s always a good decision to back up your device before installing a new version of iOS. Same goes for rolling back to an old version of iOS. Just to be safe, you should create both a fresh iCloud backup, as well as a manual backup. Make sure to make a note of your password if you are creating an encrypted backup. Once you’ve cleared out some storage space and backed up your device, you can downgrade without worrying about losing your data.

3. Disable Find My iPhone

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Before changing your OS, you’ll need to disable “Find My iPhone” or “Find My iPad.” This is a security measure Apple introduced some time ago, which makes it impossible for thieves to “wipe” your device by installing a new version of iOS while “Find My” is engaged.

4. Connect Your Device to Your Computer & Launch iTunes

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With your computer running iTunes, you can hook up your iDevice to the computer with a cable. Select your device from the iTunes menu, click the “Summary” tab, and hold down the “Option” button. Click Restore, and a little menu will pop up. Open iOS 7.1.2.ipsw and the download should begin. If you require advanced troubleshooting, this detailed article should help you isolate the problem.

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