How to upgrade to iOS 9 (and, if you need to, reinstall iOS 8)

Ready for the new version of iOS? Here's how to install it on your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. And just in case, we also tell you how to revert back to iOS 8.

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How to revert back to iOS 8

You installed iOS 9. Whoo-hoo! But then you noticed that your device is behaving badly. Boo! You want to revert back to iOS 8.

If that’s what you want to do, don’t hesitate. Apple “signs” each version of iOS, which is a way of approving the software for each device. When a new version is released, the previous version remains signed for a short period of time, and then Apple stops signing the previous version. This means you can’t go back to the old version. (If you waited, say, a week after iOS 9 was released, there’s a good possibility that Apple stopped signing iOS 8 and you can’t go back.)

Find the .ipsw file

To see if you can revert back to iOS 8, look for the .ipsw file on your Mac. Here’s how to find it.

  1. In the Finder, hold down the Option key and select Go > Library. (The Library folder is usually invisible in your Home folder. If you don’t hold down the Option key, the Library selection will not be available.)
  2. Open the iTunes folder.
  3. You may see an iPhone/iPad/iPod Software Updates folder. Open it.
  4. iphone software updates

  5. You should see a file called “[yourdevice]_8.4.1_[firmwarenumber]_Restore.ipsw” or something similar. This is the file that will allow you to revert back to iOS 8.
  6. Drag that file to the Desktop.

If you don’t see a file, you can try searching the Internet for ipsw download. There are a few websites that have old software available.

Install iOS 8

Once you acknowledge that you have the ipsw file, here’s how to revert back to iOS 8.

  1. Connect your iOS device to your Mac using the sync cable and then launch iTunes.
  2. Click on the device icon in the upper left and then click on the Summary tab in the left column.
  3. In the right window, click on the Restore iPhone button while holding down the Option key.
  4. A navigation window will appear. Navigate to the .ipsw file on your Desktop, select it, and click Open.
  5. restore ios8 navgation

  6. A confirmation dialog will appear. Click the Restore button.

iTunes will perform a restoration of your iOS device, and in a few minutes, iOS 8 will be up and running.

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