Downgrading to another iOS from backup??

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viper69

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I have an XsMax with iOS12 (stock OS when released). I may want to update to the latest iOS, my concern is I'll end up with a brick or some other issue. My phone works just fine now.

I have a complete backup of my phone on my computer. IF I update to the latest iOS which is 14.4 and I don't like it, will I be able to go back to iOS12 using my complete backup I have on my PC? This backup was done via iTunes, phone is not jail-broken.

Thanks in advance!
 

cjmnews

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The answer is unfortunately no.

Apple is no longer validating the signed IPSW file for iOS 12 (which you don't have since it is stock). They only validate it while that is the current version and for about a week after a release of the next version.

If you jail broke the phone, then possibly you could do it with a backup of the phone in iOS 12 (after jail break), and if you can find iOS 12 IPSW file somewhere on the net.

Here is an example of the revert back to previous release:
If you had used iTunes to upgrade your iPhone to iOS 14.3 last month, there is a file in your folders (C:\users\<login>\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Update) named something like iPhone_4.0_64bit_14.3_18B123_Restore.ipsw

If you today heard iPhone to iOS 14.4 is available and wanted to try it but have the option to go back to 14.3, there is some prep work needed.

You need to make a backup of the iPhone while in 14.3.
You MUST have a backup of the device in the older operating system BEFORE upgrading or lose all your data.
This is because an older operating system cannot restore from a newer operating system backup.

This backup needs to be copied from the usual location to a location (C:\users\<login>\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\<Hex ID of the device>) where it will not be overwritten by the upgrade. You can determine which device is which by looking at the Backups in iTunes in Edit->Preferences, Devices Tab. The date on the backup in iTunes will match the date on the Hex ID of the folder. Copy the folder to a new location (make a Save folder in the Backup folder and copy it there)

Now you can start the upgrade to 14.4, then the file iPhone_4.0_64bit_14.3_18B123_Restore.ipsw is automatically deleted (in your Recycle Bin) and a new file will be put there named something like iPhone_4.0_64bit_14.4_18B12_Restore.ipsw
Now if you hated iOS 14.4, you can revert back to iOS 14.3 (in the first 5-7 days after release of 14.4) by:
  • Delete the iOS 14.4 IPSW file
  • Restore the iOS 14.3 IPSW file
  • Delete the iOS 14.4 backup of your iPhone
  • Restore the iOS 14.3 backup of your iPhone
  • Force the iPhone to go into Recovery mode
  • Hold Shift and click the Restore button in iTunes.
  • Select the iOS 14.3 IPSW file
  • Restore the backup.
Ugly process.
 

viper69

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Hey CJ..glad you are still around. Your knowledge is appreciated as is your time and quick responses. One of the best mods ever!
This sucks- why don't they let users keep what works for them. There's too many cases of some phone not working when updated.

I don't update because I've always felt whatever iOS comes w/that phone model, that is likely the best OS for it.

Now at 14.x, and 2 years later, I'm not so sure the software, and my "old" hardware is up to the task for such a large update- meaning I feel something will not work.

I'll stick with 12 then until all my apps that I use regularly require an update.

Let me ask you a related question. IF I do decide to update my phone to current iOS, and for some reason data gets lost, like my pictures, songs etc get wiped or some integrity is not maintained...what is the best way to put such data back onto my phone without using Apple's servers. I ask because the backup I have is with a iOS12. Is there a different way to back up the data. Or can one pick through a complete backup and add to their phone their pictures etc?
 

cjmnews

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I am the only moderator now. 15 years and counting.

There are benefits to update. New features, and security fixes. Some of the security fixes between iOS 12 and iOS 14 are important to have. For example a remote website can hijack (take over or insert spyware) your iOS 12, where iOS 14 has several fixes to prevent that. Now the likelihood you would hit such a site (there are several) is highly unlikely as these attacks are typically targeted to specific groups.

My iPhone X runs iOS 14 (and graphics heavy games) just fine. It is older than your Xs Max. Battery life is my only issue with it, and at that age that is normal. I recommend updating iOS for security, but I have a bias toward security and privacy.

On to the questions.

If you backup with iTunes, NONE of the data is on Apple servers. The backup file (which is a ZIP in essence) is written to the hard drive and contains all the data from your device except Music files as it is assumed the files are stored in iTunes or Apple Music/iCloud Music. The file can be accessed by default, and things can be obtained from it. I have at least 1 post helping someone recover photos from a backup.

You can encrypt the backup so no one without the password can peruse the backup data. Another benefit of encrypted backups is they store some passwords like WiFi. This way a restore puts more of your data back onto the device. I use iTunes encrypted backups, being a security nut.

If you backup with iCloud, all of the data is on Apple servers. The backups have less data there, as they don't get data that is located elsewhere like photos and messages. Apple assumes you will use their cloud services for all of your data, so there is no need to keep it in the backup. These backups are not encrypted.

All the backups have integrity, a check to ensure the set of data is complete. It is part of the underlying ZIP structure.

I encourage iTunes backups. Mostly because they are more complete than iCloud backups and can be backed up off the computer for even more recovery options.
 

formikehome

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"For example a remote website can hijack (take over or insert spyware) your iOS 12, where iOS 14 has several fixes to prevent that." Incredible, I just checked back to this forum and wrote in another thread that I actually have had a redirect problem (not in iPhone, in MacBook) and browsed to this thread to read a warning on what may happen unless you update your OS/software LOL.
Updating is essential, but security tools are not to be disregarded tp prevent hijacks.
 
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