If you run into iOS 17 problems on your iPhone and you think moving your iPhone back to the previous version of iOS could help, this guide will help you downgrade.
You can only go back to iOS 16.6.1. You can’t go back any further than that. The path back to older versions of iOS is closed and it won’t re-open.
Once you downgrade, you can only restore a backup that you made on iOS 16.6.1 so keep that in mind in case you need to restore a backup.
Most users will have a recent backup, but you may lose some items if you aren’t regularly backing up your photos and messages to iCloud.
While this isn’t officially supported, it is easy to do and you won’t lose any customer support or mess with your iPhone’s warranty.
Also of note, if you own an iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Pro, there’s no way to downgrade to iOS 16. The iPhone 15 series runs iOS 17 out of the box.
How to Downgrade from iOS 17 to iOS 16
Here’s what you need to do to go back to iOS 16 on your iPhone. While you are downgrading you cannot use your phone so you will need to open this on your computer or another device.
If you make an archived backup, you can use that after you restore it. If you are doing this right after the latest iOS 17 release, you might have a iOS 16.6.1 backup available on iCloud or your computer.
Follow these steps to go back to iOS 16 from iOS 17.
- Download the iOS 16.6.1 update for your iPhone from this website.
- Make sure there is still a green checkmark in the Apple Signing Status column. If there isn’t one, do not proceed.
- Turn off Find My iPhone on your iPhone. Go to Settings -> tap on your Name at the top of this menu -> Tap on your name at the top -> Tap on Find My iPhone -> Toggle off and Enter your password.
- With your phone backed up and all the steps above completed, plug your iPhone into your computer.
- Open iTunes and Click on the iPhone icon.
This is how this process works if you are still on macOS Mojave. If you’ve already upgraded to macOS Catalina, macOS Big Sur, macOS Monterey, or macOS Ventura, you will need to start this process in Finder. Instead of opening iTunes, open Finder and click on your iPhone in the left side.
- Click on the Restore iPhone button using a special click. On a Mac, hold alt/option when you click. On PC, hold Shift when you click.
- In the window that opens, find the iOS 16.6.1 file you just downloaded, click on it, and then click open.
- Choose to erase and restore your iPhone. Click Restore to begin this process
- While you wait the iPhone will restart multiple times. When it is finished you will be back on iOS 16.
This process takes a little while to complete. When it does, you can start fresh or restore a backup made on iOS 16.6.1. Most people will want to install a backup.
Note that these instructions also work if you want to move your iPhone back to iOS 17.0.1 or iOS 17.0 from iOS 17.0.2 or from iOS 17.0.1 to iOS 17.0.
Install iOS 17.0.2 for Better Security
If security is important to you, think about installing Apple's iOS 17.0.2 update right away.
iOS 17.0.2 itself doesn't have any security patches on board. However, if you missed older versions of iOS, it will bring the patches from the updates you missed to your iPhone.
iOS 17.0.1 delivered three important patches to iPhone. If you're interested in the exact nature of these improvements, you can read about them over on Apple's security website.
As for iOS 17 itself, it brought 40+ new security patches with it. A staggering number to say the least. If you want to learn more about them, head over to Apple.
If you skipped older versions of iOS, like iOS 16.6.1, you'll get the security patches from those updates with your iOS 17.0.2 update as well.
In addition to those patches, iOS 17 brings some additional enhancements to privacy and security including improvements to Communication Safety beyond Messages.
It now includes content sent by AirDrop, Contact Posters in the Phone app, FaceTime, and the systemwide photo picker. You now have an option to blur out sensitive photos and videos before you choose to view them.
There's also an expanded Lockdown Mode which will help protect you against cyber attacks.
Apple's also improved sharing permissions and you now have more control over what you share with the apps on your device.
The company also notes that starting in iOS 17, Voice Memos encrypts the titles of recordings stored in iCloud, in addition to the recordings themselves.
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