Alright so you’ve had your fun playing around with the iOS 5 beta, but you’re tired of dealing with the quirkiness and bugs related to a beta OS. Now, contrary to popular belief, you can downgrade back to iOS 4.3.3 without much effort. Unlike downgrading from other iOS versions, Apple still signs iOS 4.3.3, so you don’t need to do anything funky. For the purpose of this walkthrough, we’ll assume you’re using an iPhone.
First a few quick notes and warnings. You probably noticed when installing iOS 5 beta the warning from Apple:
“Devices updated to iOS 5 beta can not be restored to earlier versions of iOS. Devices will be able to upgrade to future beta releases and the final iOS 5 software.”
In other words, Apple says iOS 5 beta is a one way street. Apple probably issues that warning for good reason, and it’s probably wise to take their advice and not attempt downgrading for whatever unspecified reason they give. While this should have no effect on your iPhone UDID assuming you activated it with a dev license, nobody knows for sure until the next beta comes out. Be sure you have a backup of your iOS device, and as alway, we are not responsible for you screwing up your hardware so proceed at your own risk.
So you’re comfortable ignoring Apple’s advice and all those warnings and want back to 4.3.3… here’s what to do:
How to Downgrade iOS 5 Beta to iOS 4.3.3
There are actually a few methods to downgrade back down to 4.3.3 from iOS 5, but we’ll cover the easiest way. For the purpose of this walkthrough we’ll reference iOS 5 beta 1 and iTunes 10.5 beta so be sure you have that handy before getting started.
- Put your iPhone into DFU Mode: turn the iPhone off, hold down the Power and Home buttons concurrently for 10 seconds then release the power button, continue holding Home button until iTunes tells you an iPhone in recovery mode has been detected – when you get that message and the iPhone screen is black, you know you’re in DFU mode
- Remove any host file modifications that you may have made in the past (like when fixing iTunes error 3194, etc) – if you haven’t made any changes to your hosts file related to Apple’s servers, don’t worry about this
- Within iTunes, click on “Restore” from the summary tab – now you have two options, you can either attempt to restore from backup which has limited success, or just restore directly to iOS 4.3.3 IPSW
Let iTunes do its magic and you should be back to 4.3.3 without issue. You can also do this through Xcode, but this method is by far the easiest. Yes, it does work with iPhones who used the Voice Over bug to skip iOS 5 UDID activation.
Alternatively, use TinyUmbrella
If the above method doesn’t work, you can always try downgrading with the help of TinyUmbrella, but you’ll still need iTunes 10.5 beta. You can grab TinyUmbrella (direct download links: Mac or Windows). The TinyUmbrella method is basically the same as above, but you can force TinyUmbrella to handle the hosts change for you by doing the following option within the app:
- Launch TinyUmbrella and go to the “Advanced” tab
- Uncheck “Set Hosts to Cydia on Exit” – this allows you to use Apple’s servers and is the same as manually removing any Cydia hosts from your hosts file
After that’s done, you can restore the iPhone as usual through iTunes 10.5 beta.