iOS 6 is not yet available to the general public for a reason: it’s not ready for everyday use as of now. However, despite all the broken things within the OS, there would still be those out there who’d venture to try out the new version as soon as it became available – whether through legitimate means or otherwise. Perhaps you’re a developer who installed iOS 6 beta on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to ensure the compatibility of your apps with the 6th major iteration of iDevice operating system, or you may be a tech enthusiast like me who just had to install the operating system to see how it felt. If you belong to the latter, chances are high that you’d be looking for means to go back to the 5.1.1 firmware version, for many reasons. The good news is, it’s very much possible, and fairly easy. Interested? Continue reading.
The need to go back from iOS 6 beta to current-stable firmware, iOS 5.1.1, may stem from a lot of factors. For tech enthusiasts like myself, losing the jailbreak is a huge downside. Although iOS 6 is jailbreakable even in beta state through redsn0w 0.9.13dev1/2 (read our comprehensive guide), it’s pretty much useless unless you’re a Cydia developer. You don’t get Cydia (through the conventional method, anyway), and even if you do install it, packages will mostly be broken. Combine it with the problems that iOS 6 comes with it its beta form, like pathetic battery performance, broken search in App Store, inability to install most apps from App Store directly on the device and more like this (these are just some of the major annoyances that I discovered – there might be more), and you would definitely want to revert back to trusted old iOS 5.
The downgrade process is fairly simple and straightforward. All you need to do is connect to iTunes and Restore, as you normally would. This is because, as of this writing, latest public version of iOS is 5.1.1, and doing a restore in iTunes will revert to that, irrespective of your device’s state.
Connect your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 6 beta to iTunes, and from the left sidebar, select your device. Under Summary tab, you should see the device’s general information, as well as Check for Update and Restore buttons in the second panel.
If you already have the iOS 5.1.1 IPSW downloaded for your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, hit the Restore button while having the Shift key pressed (Option key on Mac OS X), and navigate to the respective IPSW. If not, simply clicking Restore will download the IPSW and then flash it.
Wait for the restore to finish, and viola, you are now back on the stable and jailbreakable iOS 5.1.1. Should you wish to jailbreak your device after this, you can check out our detailed guides on jailbreaking (iPhone 4/4S/3GS | new iPad). The same guides are also applicable to older versions of iPad, as well as iPod touch.
It may be noted that although the downgrade process should work like this, if it fails, try putting your iDevice in DFU mode before doing a restore. If you don’t know how to get your device in DFU mode, we have detailed the process for you.
Did this post help you? Did the method work, or did you encounter any issues? Let us know in comments.