Just, what is happening to Apple recently?! If it’s not severe security problems created by themselves, if it’s not bugs and inconsistencies in their software, if it’s not dreadful management of everything they touch recently, they go and surprise us with this one! However, if you were able to take advantage of this, quite frankly, embarrassing slip up by Apple, you will likely be better off anyway!
For those who don’t know, following the release of any version of iOS, Apple, to provide the update safely and securely over the Software Update mechanism, signs the software with a certificate, which once the device installing gets the nod from Apple’s servers, is able to install the update safely. What isn’t typical of this, however, is having the ability to install older iOS software, essentially granting you the ability to downgrade, but that’s exactly what Apple unintentionally allowed users to do yesterday.
To over-simplify the process, when an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, is updated, an .IPSW file is what’s sent from Apple servers to the device, to install. However, you also have the ability to manually download the firmware using iTunes, which can be located on both a Windows PC or a Macs respected file viewers. The server link to all major version of iOS is also continuously available on Apple’s servers, on the off chance it is required from the device itself to provide an update to a version after it, or if the user simply is still on an older version of iOS.
However, despite being able to download iOS 6 for an iPhone 5, since the software was released back in 2013, Apple stopped signing the update, as they do with all versions plus 1, they stopped signing iOS 6 since the release of iOS 7.0.1. They do this for a myriad of reasons, mainly to keep devices both up to date and most secure, much to the dismay of the jailbreaking community, or even just the average joe who wants their device to feel as fast as it did brand new!
That certainly wasn’t the case yesterday, however, with the website ipsw.me, confirming that a surprising number of versions of iOS were currently being signed, meaning if you downloaded them manually, using iTunes, you could install any of those versions to your compatible iOS device.
You could install any of these firmware, the same way you can install any, disable Find My iPhone was required especially if you went back as far as iOS 6, by downloading the IPSW file, and with your iOS device plugged in to iTunes, selecting Restore whilst holding the ALT/OPTION key on a Mac, or CONTROL on Windows, then selecting the file from your Files.
It is worth noting that the iPhone 5 was, by far, not the only iOS device able to be downgraded, near all iOS devices were able to be brought back to a previous version. Though, interestingly, the iPhone 4S didn’t have one available signed software, which pretty much clarified to everyone that this was a mistake, and, as you can imaging, a sea of downgrades begun to take place.
Were users successful, well, yeah;
Just one example of a successful downgrade, was this one shared by a Twitter user @KhaosT, who shared their iPod touch, back running iOS 6.1.3, and, as you can imagine, the iPod has never felt faster … well, not since it was last running iOS 6.1.3!
Users also successfully downgraded iPhone 5S, 6, 6S and 7 series devices, iPads were also able to be downgraded, with the majority taking this as a very satisfactory late Christmas present from Apple, due to the majority of users definitely not being a fan of iOS 11.
If you woke up later today, however, you will have realised, the issue was fixed. Just to highlight, just how big of a difference it was, this (above) is the list of ‘Signed IPSWs’ available for the iPhone 5 now, down from a massive 10 to just the 1 latest version.
Were you able to downgrade your iOS device during the 6 hour blunder by Apple? If so, we envy you as it’s no secret that iOS 11 has continued the trend of iOS releases getting more and more buggy, and we hope you’re enjoying your trip down memory lane, we expect your iOS devices themselves will be more than breathing a sigh of relief.
It’s pretty incredible that such a mistake could even happen at Apple, though it just adds to the many problems slipping through the ever-growing cracks at the company! The still present App Store bug in macOS High Sierra, allowing you to reset the entire App Store using any password you like, just one example of Apple’s infamous Software Quality Control, now been a clear thing of the past.