How To Downgrade From iOS 7 Beta To iOS 6 In Two Steps

iPhone-5-charging

Here’s how to get your beloved iOS 6 back.

We’ve already told you why you probably shouldn’t install the new iOS 7 beta; it’s not just that the icons suck, but there are good reasons why beta releases should be avoided if you’re not a developer — particularly if you plan to use them on your primary device.

But if you went ahead and did it anyway, and now you’re looking for a way back, look no further. Despite what Apple says, iOS 7 can be downgraded to iOS 6 — and it’s pretty simple. Here’s how to do it in just two steps.

Firstly, you’ll need the iOS 6 IPSW file for your iOS device. If you’re running on an iPhone 5, that’ll be iOS 6.1.4; if you have an iPhone 4S, an iPhone 4, or a fifth-generation iPod touch, it’ll be iOS 6.1.3. You can download these files directly from Apple by clicking the links below.

Once you have your IPSW, put it somewhere where it’s easy to find — like on your desktop — then follow the steps below.

Step 1

Screen Shot 2013-06-12 at 15.53.09

Plug your iOS device into your Mac using a Lightning cable, and open up iTunes. When iTunes has recognized your device, click on the “iPhone” or “iPod touch” button that appears in the navigation bar.

Step 2

Screen Shot 2013-06-12 at 15.51.54

Now hold down the Alt key on your Mac and click “Restore iPhone…” A popup window will appear; now is the time to find the IPSW file you’ve just downloaded. Double-click on it and it’ll load into iTunes.

iTunes will now verify the firmware with Apple and begin installing it onto your device.

Note: If you get an iTunes error at this point, and the process will not continue, open up Finder, click “Go” in the menu bar, then type “etc” and hit return. Now look for a file named “hosts” and copy it to your desktop.

Screen_Shot_2013-06-12_at_15.49.42

Open up that file in TextEdit, then look for the line that reads “74.208.105.171 gs.apple.com” and delete it. Now save the file and replace the original in the “etc” folder with the copy you just edited.

Screen Shot 2013-06-12 at 15.54.56

Now follow the same steps again and it should work without an issue.

Normally, you can’t downgrade an iOS device because Apple stops signing older firmwares. But because the latest iOS 6 releases are still in use, that’s not a problem here. So although Apple says you cannot downgrade, really you can.

Once iTunes has finished installing iOS 6, you’ll be able to set up your device as new, or restore a backup. But remember, you cannot install backups from newer releases, so if you made one while your device was running iOS 7, it’s no good to you.

Instead, you’ll need to find the backup you made prior to installing the iOS 7 beta.

  • Whodakat

    As soon as I read about the icons sucking, I knew who was writing this article. Seriously dude, we know your personal opinion, and despite what you think most of us come here for info on our favorite subject, not to listen to Killian Bell rant like the child he claims these icons were created for. I’ll admit it, the icons have color! And perhaps the Passbook and Newstand icons could use a bit of a tone down, but overall I like them. I just came from a jailbroken device with Shrink on it, where I resized my icons to be a bit smaller, so I was worried I wouldn’t like the new icons, but I do. I think they are bold and eye catching. But regardless of either of our personal opinions, I don’t want to hear about what you think of the new icons in every article I read, despite the topic being about something completely different.

  • BradLinder

    Seriously ^

    Nobody cares that you think they suck. Just give us the info straight. It’s fine if you make the purpose of this article for people who don’t like it, but we don’t care if you think they suck. Most people like the new UI.

    I swear, out of all the Apple related news sites out there, this has turned out to be the worst. The writers need to take some journalism classes or something.

  • Radtech51

    I respectfully disagree with Killian Bell, I think the new iOS 7 looks great and have no issue with the icons. I agree with what BradLinder said just give us the info straight, we don’t need those comments.

  • DJBabyBuster

    Upped to iOS 7, couldn’t be happier. Don’t know how anyone could fathom downgrading back to 6 after having all the improvements. It’d be like going back to a non-jailbroken device.

  • Stuka_UK

    Change the record KB.

  • technochick

    I respectfully disagree with Killian Bell, I think the new iOS 7 looks great and have no issue with the icons. I agree with what BradLinder said just give us the info straight, we don’t need those comments.

    I have issue with some of them mainly because they lack an intuitive link to what they are. Gsme Center in particularly. A checkerboard or say the chess piece would make more sense. Plus I feel like there was no need to change some of the internal icons and for the learning curve it would have been better not to change them.

    But the issue of the colors etc I don’t mind so much. Yes it would be perhaps nicer if all the gradients were removed, if the stocks app wasn’t quite so busy or if they had kept the blue safari background with a white logo. But that’s personal taste.

  • houstonjhall

    journalism should be devoid of personal opinion. I think the new UI is elegant and clean. However, it’s still a beta; battery life is poor when using dynamic wallpaper and the new multitasking function. It could benefit from Maverick’s AppNap technology. Some apps lockup and some dont even work.

  • bdkennedy

    I’m about “this close” to not reading any more articles from this guy.

  • Arnoud van Houwelingen

    Dude stop whining about the icons already. Some icons are kinda ugly (some icons are actually better) but the new design in general is beautiful. The icons are just a small part of the new design and can be changed very easily and quickly for the final release. Every apple app is improved in my opinion!

  • Mrtheking2

    This works 100%.

    iOS is not ready for customer use I believe.
    Very poor battery life. Lots of freezing. And mostly very very slow. Just like an iPhone 3G.

  • jebworks

    So far I’m very pleased with iOS 7 both how it looks and how it works. Yes, all the comments about battery life and apps freezing are normal for a non-public beta release. Still, all my essential non-Apple apps work fine so far. Beauty, and that goes for icons, is in the eye of the beholder…

  • ChadGleaves

    I have installed IOS 7 and I am TOTALLY in agreement with Killian Bell, THEY SUCK!! Instead of going with an UGLY UI, they should have made the improvements and left it at that. Jony Ives should be put back in the grade that these icons were designed in. K-5

  • rthurlarin

    It’s been real, 7.

  • rthurlarin

    ?

  • KnghtOfTheAbyss

    Hey i just downgraded back to 6.1.4, im havin an issue with imessage not working and a bunch of apps just open and then crash, any ideas and solutions to resolve the issue, thanks in advance

  • sophieenicolee_

    It’s not recognizing my device though, now that I downloaded iOS 7. HELP! I’m freaking out! Can the apple store fix this or do I need a whole new phone?!

  • Ehbebb

    -

  • Ehbebb

    I got the same problem here !!!!!!!!!!

    It’s not recognizing my device though, now that I downloaded iOS 7. HELP! I’m freaking out! Can the apple store fix this or do I need a whole new phone?!

  • toxicoblivion

    How can i do this on a windows pc? please help…

  • mherrerap87

    hey guys i cant find the etc folder, can you tell me where is supposed to be, thanks a lot!

  • fmustafa17

    this device isn’t eligible for the requested build 7 downgrade is the error I’m getting and I also cant find the etc folder

  • liftsNEXTLEVEL

    pffff i hate apple from today!!!! i hate IOS 7 !!!!

  • liftsNEXTLEVEL

    pffff i hate apple from today!!!! i hate IOS 7 !!!!

  • liftsNEXTLEVEL

    HELP ME PLEASE TO INSTALL AGAIN IOS 6

    pffff i hate apple from today!!!! i hate IOS 7 !!!!

  • Hermanborglund

    Does this work with Windows users? Reply is much appreciated

    Herman

  • naman

    can you please just tell us,how to do this on windows?

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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