Apple doesn’t allow users to downgrade to an older version of iOS except for a week or so after a new version releases. After that, you’re usually out of luck.
While there aren’t a whole lot of reasons to downgrade to iOS 8 from iOS 9 now that an iOS 9 jailbreak is available, some users may still want to downgrade back to iOS 8 if they’re not having the greatest time on iOS 9, especially those with older devices.
The good news is that there’s a new tool out there that allows certain iPhones and iPads to downgrade to iOS 8.4.1 from iOS 9, which would otherwise be impossible.
The tool is called OdysseusOTA, and it’s actually been around for a few years now, and it once allowed users to downgrade to iOS 6 from iOS 7, even after Apple stopped signing the older version.
OdysseusOTA can downgrade certain iOS device models from iOS 9.0.2, iOS 9.0.1 or iOS 9.0.0 to iOS 8.4.1. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for iOS 9.1 currently.
If you have an older iPhone or iPad and are wanting to downgrade to iOS 8 from iOS 9, here’s how to do it.
The Fine Print
While it’s not technically fine print, there are a few things you’ll want to know about this method before you get started, as you’ll run into brick walls if you don’t know.
First of all, OdysseusOTA only works with the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 4s, iPad 3, and iPad 2. Furthermore the device needs to be jailbroken, which can be down easily and we have a great guide that takes you through the painless process.
Also be aware that this downgrade method uses OS X’s Terminal to make it happen, so if you aren’t comfortable with using Terminal, it might be a good idea to stay put. However, the tutorial that comes provided with the OdysseusOTA software has the list of commands that you can easily copy and paste into Terminal, making the process a bit easier than it may originally seem.
Downgrade to iOS 8
You’ll need two files and one jailbreak tweak for this process. First, you’ll need the OdysseusOTA .ZIP file, which can be downloaded from here. You’ll also need the iOS 8.4.1 IPSW file for your specific device, which can be downloaded from this website.
You’ll also need OpenSSH installed on your iPhone or iPad, which can be downloaded from within the Cydia app.
After you downloaded the OdysseusOTA .ZIP file, go ahead and unzip it to reveal the folder. Inside that folder will be the ReadMe file, which contains the instructions and the Terminal commands that you’ll need.
Below is a video tutorial of how to fully downgrade your iPhone or iPad to iOS 8. It’s fairly extensive process, but also very detailed.
Essentially, the commands in Terminal turn the IPSW file into a usable file that you can use to downgrade, and then a couple of more commands finish out the process of downgrading your iPhone or iPad. You actually don’t do anything on your iOS device except look up the IP address of your iPhone or iPad. Terminal uses this to connect wirelessly to your device from your Mac (which is why you downloaded the OpenSSH tweak from Cydia).
Again, it’s a fairly lengthy process and will probably take around 15-20 minutes to complete — maybe even up to a half hour if you take things slow, which is recommended if you’re not too familiar with Terminal. But again, the video does a decent job of guiding you through, and the ReadMe contains all of the necessary commands that you can just copy and paste into Terminal.