Home Apple How to Downgrade to iOS 8 from iOS 9

How to Downgrade to iOS 8 from iOS 9

iOS 9 was released today, but if you’re not a big fan of the new update, here’s how to downgrade to iOS 8 to get the old version back.

Apple announced and unveiled iOS 9 back in June during the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference where it showed off some of the cool new features of the new version of iOS. It keeps the same overall look and feel of iOS 8, but comes with a handful of new features and improvements.

Some of those new features include transit directions in Apple Maps, improvements in Notes, and even a new News app that gives you all of the news that you would want right in one place on your iPhone, which is pretty cool.

Of course, iOS 9 probably isn’t worth it for some users and there might be some aspects that they’ll miss about iOS 8. With that said, it’s possible to downgrade to iOS 8 from iOS 9 for a short period of time. Usually, when Apple releases a new update, you have a week or two to downgrade to the older version if you want.

If you miss iOS 8 or having problems with iOS 9, here’s how to downgrade to iOS 8 fairly easily.

Before You Begin

Before you start the downgrading process, it’s important you back up your iPhone first, just in case something goes wrong, as you don’t want to lose your apps and settings.

Plus, when you downgrade to an older version of iOS, you’ll be forced to factory reset your iPhone, so if you don’t have a backup, you won’t get your apps and settings back, and you probably don’t want that.

iPhone-6-pair

Luckily, we have a great guide that will take you through the process of backing up your iPhone. Depending how much stuff you have on your iPhone and what you already have backed up, the process could take as long as 30 minutes or so, so be patient with this.

Even if you don’t really need to back up and keep any apps or settings, it’s always a good idea to back up anyway in case something goes wrong, that way you don’t end up with a bricked device. It’s rare, but it can happen.

Downgrade to iOS 8

After you back up your iPhone, you can begin to downgrade your device to iOS 8 from iOS 9. Here’s how to do it.

Currently, you can only downgrade to iOS 8.4.1, as older updates aren’t being signed anymore by Apple. Just head to this website to download the iOS 8.4.1 IPSW file for your specific device.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 12.33.55 PM

These files can be as much as 1.8GB in size, so it may take some time to download it depending on your internet connection speed. You can also back up your iPhone as you download the IPSW file to kill two birds with one stone.

After the file is downloaded, open up iTunes and plug your iPhone into your computer. Go to the device’s summary page by clicking on the iPhone icon near the upper-left corner of the iTunes window.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 12.35.23 PM

From there, hold down the Option/Alt key on your keyboard (Shift key on Windows) and click on Restore iPhone as your holding that key down. This will bring up a file explorer window where you’ll search for that IPSW file that you downloaded and then click Open.

From here, iTunes will begin downgrading your iPhone to iOS 8.4.1. Again, this process will completely wipe the device and should take around 10 minutes to complete. After the process is complete, iTunes will ask you if you want to set up the iPhone as a new iPhone or restore a backup. Choose the latter option if you want to restore all of your apps and settings.

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47 Comments

  1. Peter Ang

    09/17/2015 at 7:53 am

    Tried restoring iPhone 6+ to iOS 8.4.1 with my Macbook but was prompted with a message that says ‘The iPhone could not be restored because the firmware file is not compatible’

    Reply

    • Amrith

      09/17/2015 at 11:49 pm

      You probably must’ve downloaded the wrong ipsw file.. Perhaps, you could download the other ipsw for your iPhone and check if the same happens again?
      What you’re about to share with us could save us a lot of hassle. Thanks.

      Reply

    • julian

      12/06/2015 at 5:26 pm

      Same here!!! Maybe they have stopped signing the software version so its not possible to downgrade.

      Reply

  2. Adrianhfrierson

    09/17/2015 at 9:22 am

    0=0011my buddy’s sister-in-law makes $63 an hour on the laptop . She has been fired from work for 8 months but last month her pay check was $21022 just working on the laptop for a few hours…. Find Out More

    Reply

  3. Bob

    09/17/2015 at 12:27 pm

    Do not follow this procedure. The Apple iOS 9 update lead to an unstable iPhone that keeps freezing, following Craig’s advice we now have a device that is completely unusable due to an error message at restore ‘cannot restore as the software is too old’

    A lot of incompetent morons both on apple’s side and from this website which will lead to an unusable device. DISREGARD this advice!

    Reply

  4. Ticked OFF

    09/17/2015 at 9:44 pm

    The issue I have is that itunes can’t recoginize my device any more because it requires and iTunes upgrade BUT my mac doesn’t support the latest versio of iTunes. There NO warning that this would be an issue before starting the upgrade!!

    Reply

    • Chile

      10/30/2015 at 10:13 pm

      Same, so what to do?

      Reply

  5. Cezar Mansour Khuzmy

    09/17/2015 at 9:59 pm

    IOS 9 is draining my battery so fast, I will never upgrade my iphone anymore

    Reply

  6. Ruth

    09/18/2015 at 3:50 am

    Thank you. This helped resolve my issue.

    Reply

  7. renji

    09/18/2015 at 7:54 am

    hi
    I updated my iphone 4s to ios9 from ios7, now its stuck up from the time of initializing
    any clue? pls

    Reply

  8. M M

    09/18/2015 at 10:03 am

    I followed directions to downgrade to iOS8. It worked but the backup restore says that I have to upgrade teh iPhone 5S to iOS9 in order to do the restore. ;-/

    Reply

  9. Phil1403

    09/18/2015 at 10:28 am

    The restore option does NOT work.

    Reply

  10. Phil1403

    09/18/2015 at 10:30 am

    Restore procedure
    Iphone 4S
    I get access to the file through the option/alt key. But then a message telling me that both are compatible.

    Reply

  11. #tagkillios9

    09/19/2015 at 8:01 am

    Worked for me thanks god goooooood riddance iOS 9 it’s so ugly and crap and canceled my 128 6S plus order too and went with a Samsung note 5

    Reply

    • C.V.

      09/26/2015 at 9:44 am

      Totally agree with you !!! Apple’s engineers are too arrogant, stupid and careless. My iPhone 5S stops its communication with all bluetooth devices. Talked to them to resolve the issues, their suggested solutions are useless.
      Looking for a Samsung

      Reply

  12. J B

    09/19/2015 at 11:35 am

    Downloaded the iPhone 6+ iOS 8.4.1 (12H321) version from site recommended TWICE and still IPSW file inside Zip folder to do downgrade. EPIC FAIL

    Reply

    • J B

      09/19/2015 at 11:42 am

      Meant to say NO IPSW file inside folder I downloaded

      Reply

      • Gavin

        03/31/2016 at 11:13 pm

        Bro you rename the file extension to .ipsw from .zip

        Reply

  13. Steve

    09/19/2015 at 11:50 am

    You need to change your instructions to say that it can only be downgraded if you did a backup BEFORE you upgraded to 9.0. I did, but unfortunately followed your advice to backup (again) while I was downloading the 8.4 file. That backup was under 9.0 and cannot be restored, apparently, unless you are running 9.0.

    Reply

  14. claes

    09/20/2015 at 5:12 am

    I updated to 9.0 which was a mistake because afterwards I can not sync my iPhone to my computer because I run iOS 10.6.8 and itunes 11.4.
    Did not work for me to downgrade my iPhone 5 from iOS 9 to iOS 8.4.1. Always got the error message.
    I am not sure if any of the ipsw files I tried with was the right one. My model is A1429 and it had the perhaps unusual part number MD663FD/A (Swiss iPhone).

    Now I see no other way than to try to upgrade my iOS and my iTunes:(

    Too bad that Apple do not care for their customers and clearly list requirements for itunes and iOS versions required :(

    Reply

    • CrimsonCrow

      09/26/2015 at 3:49 pm

      I was fine with iOS 9.0. Then I synced with my iTunes version 11.4 and received a notice that update iOS 9.0.1 was available for the iPhone. So I updated, only to receive a notice AFTER the update that I can’t use my iPhone with my version of iTunes anymore. Now I can’t even restore from a back up! And I can’t upgrade iTunes because 10.6.8 doesn’t support the latest version of iTunes.

      Reply

  15. Danny

    09/20/2015 at 4:46 pm

    This method doesn’t make sense if you want to downgrade and then restore from a back-up. You can’t downgrade from iOS 9.0 to iOS 8.4.1 and then restore to the back-up you made on iOS 9.0, it won’t work. All you can do is downgrade to factory settings.

    Reply

  16. Florence

    09/21/2015 at 6:50 am

    This is very frustrating I don’t know why in Gods name I ever went to 9!!!!!!!

    Reply

  17. Bandeedo

    09/21/2015 at 8:36 am

    Be very, very careful before you back up in Ios 9 and then downgrade to 8.4.1; Notes are different in 9 and cannot be read in icloud until El Capitan is released, and who’s to say you won’t have to upgrade to icloud drive to read them then!
    Apple Carplay doesn’t work anymore with Ios 9 either, even after a ‘reset all’; I’ve also read that after a ‘restore phone’ it still doesn’t work unless you call your phone something else.

    Reply

  18. Sharon

    09/21/2015 at 10:41 am

    WHY did I try to upgrade? All the –here’s the way to fix…guaranteed!– not working. I have been through the freezing at the slide to download, the fiasco with iTunes connecting, recovery mode, chugging away. Some kind of download that took an hour. I am pretty sure if this thing is recoverable at all, it will be wiped clean of all information that make this bit of metal and plastic the least bit valuable. It’s now a symbol of how much we humans have become dependent on these electronic devices. You watch so many people looking down at these little screens totally unaware of the world around them. They will literally kill themselves in cars because they can’t resist looking at that screen, instantly. Ah, we need lessons in delayed gratification. Apple, you are the pimp, the dealer of our electronic heroin and cocaine. We have become addicted, What to do now?

    Reply

    • Sarah

      09/21/2015 at 7:59 pm

      AGREED……Well said

      Reply

  19. Jonathan

    09/21/2015 at 11:05 am

    I have the frozen slide issue (upgraded from 7 to 9). I have an old backup (2013) and have attempted to restore but I need to turn off the find my iPhone setting. How do I turn off the find my iPhone setting if I cannot get into my iPhone?

    Reply

    • Kym

      09/21/2015 at 9:01 pm

      you can go to icloud.com and remove your device from your find my iphone

      Reply

      • Jonathan

        09/22/2015 at 4:37 am

        I did but I am still prompted to turn it off when I attempt to restore from backup

        Reply

      • Shaon94

        09/23/2015 at 9:33 am

        I also removed my phone from icloud.com and yet still it says to turn off the fin my iPhone setting. Anyone else have an idea? I have even tried a complete wipe and it is giving an error even when I try that.

        Reply

  20. Larry

    09/21/2015 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks Craig loyd worked great lucky my mac book still had the ISPW 8.4.1 went easy in 15 mins and restore just the way it was before iOS 9 thanks a lot pretty sad Apple had no idea how to give this information they just want you to buy the 6s!! Great job and topic Craig!!! Your a iPhone saver!! You should be CEO not Tim crook lol … Good riddance iOS 9!! Till they work this out!! Ya Apple says iOS 9 the smartest yet?? Bull shit the stupidest!! All the $$$ and technology they have and this crap year after year Tim better go lay next to Steve!! They were lovers anyway

    Reply

  21. Kym

    09/21/2015 at 9:06 pm

    Does my phone need to be in recovery mode before I open Itunes and search for the downloaded 8.4.1v to install?

    Reply

  22. Phi Djan Tran

    09/22/2015 at 12:07 pm

    I was struggling all day solving this problem. I don’t know why this happened to my iPhone 5s. Never had any problems before. Thank you so much for your help and advice. I was about to smash my iPhone. THANKS a lot Craig. Cheers Phi

    Reply

  23. gwotvet

    09/22/2015 at 10:59 pm

    my 6+ backup was available until it said I had to set up as a new iPhone in order to install that restore. So I did, and once it was set up as a new phone, the iPhone 5s restore was the only available option. I just lost everything. wtf

    Reply

  24. Don Bounds

    09/23/2015 at 4:12 am

    I would have the agree this IOS 9 is the worst upgrade I have made. The search feature for emails. Takes for ever. I have a iphone 5. Apple should give you the waring that before upgrading to do a full backup. The past major backups have been a major issue. Some time consuming. Then there is the fact that if you have the older phones you no longer have apple care and so if you want to talk to apple it costs$$. They should have a months time after you update to be able to talk to them. Also I am experiencing lockups on the phone. All of this should have to be disclosed to their customers. Bottom line I would not recommend upgrading. I have not experienced any benefit. Siri is no better than before. Camera no better. Search in emails used to take seconds. Now it takes sometimes 5 minutes for more. Instead of an improvement it is a downgrade in quality. This is a blatant lie by apple. as some have said before it seems like they are trying to force people to buy their latest phones. We as consumers continue to make apple and the phone companies extremely wealthy. Apple is become like Microsoft. Apple used to always put out a good product without problems. I can no longer say this.

    Reply

  25. Fred

    09/23/2015 at 6:00 am

    I upgraded to 9.0 and it messed up up Siri (no voice when I hold down the home button). Also emails and the reminder app is not running correctly. This upgrade made things worse.

    Reply

  26. shanefriesen

    09/23/2015 at 8:57 am

    Forced to start as a “new device”. iTunes would not allow me to recover from a backup. If you think it through why would this advice work. Save a iOS 9 back up, revert to iOS 8.xx then expect the iOS 9 back up to restore on a iOS 8.xx??? Not a chance.

    Reply

  27. dhdebbie51

    09/23/2015 at 12:36 pm

    I went to ICloud.com and removed my device entirely from the Find my Phone app. I am still getting the message that Find my Phone must be turned off in my phone before I can do a restore. However, the phone is locked in the “slide to upgrade” mode and I can’t do anything on my phone — can’t receive calls; can’t make calls; can’t do sh*t. HELP!!!! Spent almost four hours on the phone with Apple and no luck. Spent another hour and a half today with them and no luck. Made an appointment to go to the Apple Store, but the earliest appointment they had was for Sunday, September 27. No phone until then unless someone can tell me what to do.

    Reply

  28. theroguepixl

    09/23/2015 at 1:08 pm

    I am thoroughly pissed off about this whole deal.

    Reply

  29. Lesley

    09/24/2015 at 3:34 pm

    After update all looked fine, everything working okay. Now when I send a text message some little gremlin is sending messages for me….it will literally send 25 text messages in a row to whomever I texted to last. It even happened when I closed the message app on the phone. Anybody have any idea how to fix this????

    Reply

  30. Ross Armstrong

    09/25/2015 at 10:06 am

    I’m currently on iOS 8.2 on my iPhone 4s. I would prefer to upgrade to 8.4.1 only since it seems to be better for the older iPhones. However, the only download appearing on my phone is for iOS 9. Does this mean I have totally missed the boat on 8.4.1 or is there still some chance that I can load it on? Perhaps using the 8.4.1 IPSW file via iTunes? I really don’t care if it causes a factory reset. I just know that I don’t want iOS 9 on an iPhone 4s.

    Any recommendations would be hugely appreciated. xoxo

    Reply

  31. christine

    09/28/2015 at 3:20 am

    it didn’t work. Cannot restore my settings and app (

    Reply

  32. Not Happy

    09/28/2015 at 8:19 pm

    You are a dumb$hit or perhaps I am for hoping I was missing something and that your instructions would work. As others report, once you downgrade, you cannot use the backup from 9.x to restore an 8.4x device. Hopefully I can at least get it back to its dodgy state with all my data intact and wait for a 9.x update. Seriously, did you try this yourself? You should update or remove this unless you can prove it works.

    Reply

  33. Kevin

    09/29/2015 at 11:36 am

    If u successfully downgraded to iOS 8.4.1 but now can’t restore to the iOS 9 backup due to incompatibility, then simply do an iTunes sync? (with device plugged into computer, start iTunes, click ur device, then check the boxes for the apps, videos, photos, iBooks… that u want to sync to ur iDevice, then hit Apply) The purpose of the backup is to retain whatever content u had on the device, so if u can’t access the backup, then do an iTunes sync?

    Reply

  34. Time Wasted

    09/30/2015 at 9:10 am

    Thanks for this waste of time. You can’t restore to a iOS 9.0.1 backup after you re-install iOS 8.4.1. Your incompetence only magnifies the arrogance of Apple. Thanks again for nothing!

    Reply

  35. laozisailor

    10/16/2016 at 6:46 pm

    is this thread dead?
    Apple killed the option of restoring an app that is no longer on iStore in iOS 9 because the backup does not backup the app, only data.
    Having an app on my iPad (also running 9.x) I need to downgrade both to recover Notestree (the app in question)

    Reply

  36. laozisailor

    10/16/2016 at 6:49 pm

    The restore process in 9.x resorts to reloading apps backed up from iStore.

    Reply

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