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How to downgrade from iOS 7 to iOS 6

Andrew Harrison | Sept. 23, 2013
Unhappy about iOS 7? Has it slowed your iPhone or iPad down? Looking for a way to downgrade to iOS 6? We have it.

iOS7

According to our Macworld poll, 64% of our readers think that iOS 7 is great. However, there are some people who are not so keen. Like many Apple mobile users, I pressed the big Upgrade button on Wednesday night this week to install Apple iOS 7. By the following evening, I'd had enough and was desperately seeking a way to turn back the clock and return to iOS 6. Here's how to downgrade from iOS 7 to iOS 6.

To downgrade from iOS 7 to iOS 6 is actually ridiculously easy, under certain conditions at least. But why would you want to turn your back on all that translucent bright and shininess? In my case, and in two words, iPad 3.

Otherwise known by its formal title of Apple iPad with Retina display, the first Retina-class iPad was launched by Apple in March 2012, and based on my experience at least it does not run iOS at all well.

It runs, yes, but with a sticky interface punctuated by cheap Android-like judders and stutters instead of the usual Apple oil-on-glass slickness. I realise my expectations are ridiculously high - you may have an iPad 3 with iOS 7 and be entirely happy with it. I did, and I was not.

In fact, it's made me realise that the graphics engine in the third-generation iPad is only just quick enough to run the highly optimised iOS 6 with sufficient speed that you barely see any micro-second hesitations.

I've seen iOS 7 running on the current iPad 4th-generation model, and there's little complaint about its performance. So it seems there's a very good reason Apple was keen to introduce the iPad 4 model with its faster Apple A6X chip and PowerVR SGX 554MP4 graphics processing unit, just six months after the iPad 3.

Where the iPad 3 is just fast enough to run Retina graphics, the iPad 4 has power to spare, and certainly sufficient to give iOS 7 its required swish.

Can I remove iOS 7 and install iOS 6?
In certain cases, yes you can officially remove iOS 7 and install iOS 6. For this relatively simple tast, you will need an iPhone or iPad that Apple will still authorise installing older iOS software. You also need a Mac or Windows PC with iTunes software, and the necessary Lightning or 30-pin cable for your device.

With credit to 9to5mac.com, I found JustaPenguin, a site that lists all Apple devices that run iOS software and importantly, their Apple Signing Status.

Contrary to what I and many have been led to believe, Apple does allow limited backgrades for some of its mobile hardware; typically to the latest version of the previous integer release.

 

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