How to Downgrade iOS 13.1 / iPadOS 13.1 & Revert to iOS 12.4.1 on iPhone or iPad

How to downgrade iOS 13 or iPadOS 13

Want to downgrade from iOS 13 or ipadOS 13 (or 13.1, 13.1.1, 13.1.2) and revert back to iOS 12.4.1 on an iPhone or iPad? If you want to downgrade and remove iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you can do so but you must have a computer ready, whether it’s a Mac or Windows PC.

Downgrading is considered somewhat advanced, so if you’re not comfortable with this idea then it’s best to not attempt to downgrade a devices iOS system software version. An improper or failed downgrade attempt can result in permanent data loss. Be sure you backup your device before beginning.

Important Note: you can not restore a backup made from iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 or later to an iOS 12.4.1 device. Thus if you only have backups from iOS 13 / iPadOS 13 and newer, you’ll want to stay on iOS 13 / iPadOS 13 or later to avoid any data loss. In other words, if you do not have an iOS 12.4.1 backup to restore to after the downgrade has finished, you would lose all data on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch (unless you decide to stay on iOS 13 or later and just restore that backup of course).

How to Downgrade iOS 13 / iPadOS 13 to iOS 12.4.1

Be certain you have a compatible iOS 12.4.1 backup available to restore to after downgrading, otherwise your device will experience data loss.

  1. Download the iOS 12.4.1 IPSW file that matches your iPhone and make sure the IPSW firmware file is somewhere easy to find
  2. Launch iTunes on the Mac or Windows PC, or open Finder in MacOS Catalina
  3. Using a USB cable, connect the iPhone running iOS 13 to the computer
  4. Within iTunes (or Finder in Catalina), choose the connected device by clicking the iPhone device icon in the iTunes menubar
  5. Under the device summary section of iTunes (or Finder in Catalina) do the following:
    • Mac: Hold the OPTION button and click the “Restore” button
    • Windows: Hold the SHIFT button and click the “Restore” button

    How to downgrade iOS 13 or iPadOS 13

  6. Select the iOS 12.4.1 IPSW file for your device that you downloaded earlier
  7. Let the downgrade process complete
  8. When the iPhone or iPad starts backup, go through the regular setup process and choose to restore from your backup, either from iCloud or iTunes *

* If the only backups you have available are from iOS 13 / iPadOS 13 or later then you will need to stay on iOS 13 / iPadOS 13 or later if you want to prevent data loss. Otherwise you could choose to setup the device as new but you’d lose all data on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

If you you do not have a backup compatible with iOS 12.4.1 then you will not be able to restore that backup to the device. You can not restore backups made from newer iOS versions to older iOS releases on any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

It’s worth remembering that downgrading is not generally recommended unless it’s an absolute necessity for compatibility or some other critical purpose. By downgrading you’ll be losing out on new features available in the latest versions of the operating systems, and you’ll lose whatever security patches were included in the iOS 13.x and iPadOS 13.x versions. Even if you feel like there is some more general issue and you therefore want to revert from iOS / iPadOS 13 to iOS 12.4.1, like iOS 13 drains battery fast or iOS 13 is slow, there are usually troubleshooting steps that can resolve those issues making downgrading not necessary.

The approach to downgrading covered here will work for as long as iOS 12.4.1 is being digitally signed by Apple. At some point, Apple will stop signing iOS 12.4.1 which will make downgrading impossible of an iPhone or iPad on iOS 13+ or iPadOS 13+. You can learn how to check IPSW firmware signing status here if you’re curious.

Have you downgraded from iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 back to iOS 12.4.1? How did it go and why did you downgrade? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.


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