Guide: How to Go Back to iOS 6

If you don’t like the new design, you can always go back to skeuomorphic iOS 6

Two days into the launch of iOS 7 numerous users are already regretting jumping ship. Many are finding the new software difficult to stomach, both from a functional point of view, and from an aesthetic standpoint.

We’re not here to judge, as everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Plus, it’s always best to choose the tools that work for you – not necessarily what’s trending.

So if you’re thinking to go back to iOS 6, there’s an easy way to do that.

You read that right. No hacks involved. Just tether your iDevice to iTunes and selectively-restore to the latest iOS 6 firmware available for your respective hardware.

You’ll need to use Google to find your appropriate IPSW file, but other than that the procedure is idiot-proof. Especially if you follow the steps I’ve carefully outlined for you below. Let’s begin.

Downgrading to iOS 6 (from iOS 7)

1. Use Google to find and download the iOS 6 IPSW you want to revert to. For security reasons, we can’t give you any direct links, so you’re on your own as far as the IPSW hunt is concerned.

For this tutorial I’ve used a global-version iPhone 5. The latest firmware prior to iOS 7 for this particular device model was iOS 6.1.4, with the file name “iPhone5,2_6.1.4_10B350_Restore.ipsw.”

Use this example to find an IPSW that works for you. For instance, a GSM iPhone 5 is designated “iPhone 5,1,” while a CDMA iPhone 4 is “iPhone 3,3.”

2. With your iOS 6 IPSW file downloaded and saved to your hard drive (preferably the desktop), launch iTunes on your Mac or PC.

3. Assuming you’re already on iOS 7 (and hating it), grab your iPhone / iPad / iPod touch and connect it to your computer using the USB cable Apple supplied to you in the box.

4. Your iDevice should appear in the iTunes interface, in the left pane (as shown in the screenshot below). Select it and then glance over to the right pane where you’ll see the “Check for Update” and “Restore iPhone…” buttons.

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5. Holding down the Alt / Option key (on Mac) or the Shift key (on Windows), click “Restore iPhone…”

iTunes may pop out a dialog stating that you’ll need to turn off Find My iPhone (if you set it up in iOS 7) in order to restore the device. If this happens, do what the dialog says: “Go to iCloud Settings on your iPhone and turn off Find My iPhone before restoring your iPhone.” When you’re done with this, go back to iTunes, and do step #5 again, then proceed to the next step below.

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6. A Finder window will pop up asking you to select the IPSW file you want to restore to (in my case, iPhone5,2_6.1.4_10B350_Restore.ipsw). Select it and choose “Open.”

7. In case the IPSW file you downloaded is not the correct one for your respective device, the error depicted below will appear. In case this happens, use Google again to look for the correct iOS firmware file for your device.

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8. If the IPSW file is the correct one, iTunes will recognize it and will display the message shown below. If you’re prepared to go back to iOS 6, choose “Restore” and wait for the process to complete.

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Your iDevice will reboot to the older firmware, and you’ll even be able to restore all your settings from a previous backup (if you’ve been so careful as to create one).

That’s it!

Found this guide useful? Drop me a line in the comments section below.

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