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How to downgrade from iOS 8 to iOS 7, and how to reinstall iOS 8 on a broken iPhone 6 or 6 Plus

Apple iOS 8 has been in the wild barely a week and already there’s been a grovelling apology from Tim Cook’s firm after reports that it caused new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets to malfunction.

Fortunately, if you’re quick off the mark, there remains a way to remove the OS to downgrade back to the previous version of iOS or reinstall iOS 8 if you’re one of those unlucky iPhone 6 or 6 Plus owners.

Reinstall iOS 8 on iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Update iTunes

Be sure that the latest version of iTunes has been installed on the computer which is done by going to iTunes > Check for Updates. After this has been confirmed connect your iPhone to the Mac or PC.

Back-up to iTunes

It’s important to back-up to iTunes as iCloud backups won’t restore earlier files.

Download the iOS file

Apple has instructed users to download the file that corresponds to either the iPhone 6 (opens in new tab) or iPhone 6 Plus (opens in new tab)

Install the file

Select the file by pressing the Option/Shift key and click Check for Update inside iTunes and press update to install it.

Downgrade to iOS 7

If for some reason you've already had enough of iOS 8 then there is good news as iOS 7 can be reinstalled - for the time being.

Backup your device

Before doing anything make a backup of all apps and data from your iPhone or iPad, which can be done by using the facility inside iTunes or iCloud.

Get an iOS 7 file

Reinstalling iOS 7 is easy just so long as you have the relevant .ipsw file for the OS – which in this instance is 7.1.2.ipsw.

This may be installed on your computer’s hard drive and can be found on a Mac by navigating to youruserfolder/Library/iTunes and it will be inside the iPad or iPhone Software Updates folder. Alternatively simply use the computer’s search option.

If the file has disappeared then search online for “download ipsw” and there will be plenty of files available to download. Just remember to make sure it is the correct 7.1.2.ipsw file.

Open the iOS 7 .ipsw file

Before opening the file plug the iPad or iPhone into a Mac or PC and launch iTunes. Find your device in the iTunes sidebar, click on it and then select Summary.

Disable the Find My iPad/iPhone feature, if it’s on, and then hold down Option/Shift and click the Restore button.

From here find the iOS 7.1.2.ipsw file, click open, and the Mac or PC will reinstall iOS 7 onto the phone.

What if it doesn’t work?

There are a couple of reasons why the update might not work and luckily there’s a way around one of them.

If a message pops up in iTunes to state you are running the latest version of iOS then it could call for Recovery mode to be used. Close down the device in question and plug one end of the iPhone/iPad into the cable and then hold down the Home button before plugging the other end into the iPhone/iPad. Once Connect to iTunes appears on screen, let go of the Home button.

iTunes will politely inform you the device is in Recovery mode. Then hold down the Alt key, click Restore, find the iOS 7.1.2.ipsw file and install it on the device.

The other instance will be if Apple’s bringing iOS 7 signing to an end and this will have happened if you get an alert to state the iOS version isn’t compatible with your device. If this happens it means you’ve missed the boat and will have to battle on with iOS 8.Porthole Ad

Jamie is a freelance writer with over eight years experience writing for online audiences about technology and other topics. In his time writing for ITProPortal he wrote daily news stories covering the IT industry and the worldwide technology market, as well as features that covered every part of the IT market, from the latest start ups to multinational companies and everything encompassed by the IT sector. He has also written tech content for our sister publication, TechRadar Pro. Jamie has since moved into sports betting content and is Content Manager at Betbull.