Apple’s latest iOS 8.0.1 got you down? You’re not alone.
The first update to the week-old iOS 8, Apple’s new operating system for iPhones and iPads, ended up crippling cellular reception and the Touch ID fingerprint scanner for many users—primarily those with the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Apple yanked the update pending a fix.
In the meantime, you may be among those stuck with this dud of an update. But take heart: A few minutes with iTunes and you can revert your phone back to the previous version of iOS 8. Here’s how.
Restoration Hardware, iPhone Style
Essentially, you’ll be downloading and installing the old software, a process that will erase everything else on your device. That’s why it’s crucial to back up your phone first. This ensures you won’t lose stuff like messages, apps or settings.
In fact, the process is very similar to the way you’d downgrade your phone back to iOS 7. If for some reason you’ve decided iOS 8 just isn’t for you at this moment, it might be time to check out our guide to downgrading. (It might not be possible for much longer, though, so you may want to hurry.)
See also: How To Downgrade iOS 8 Back To iOS 7
For our purposes here, though, all you really want to do is get back the functionality iOS 8.0.1 slapped off your big new expensive Apple smartphone. Here’s how:
- Download the last official stable build of iOS 8, i.e. version 8.0.0, onto your desktop computer. Those show up as IPSW files, available for the iPhone 6 here and iPhone 6 Plus here. These are the official versions from Apple.
- Connect your iPhone to your computer using the USB/Lightning cable, and launch iTunes.
- On the iPhone page in iTunes, perform a backup by choosing “this computer” and tapping “Back Up Now.” This saves your current iPhone data to your computer. Forget this step and you’ll end up with a clean and empty, factory-fresh iDevice.
- Now use iTunes to restore. In the Windows version, you press and hold the Shift key while hitting “Restore.” Mac OS X users, do the same thing—just hold the Alt key instead of Shift as you choose “Restore.”
- In the window that pops up, pick the IPSW file for your specific device. Then follow the prompts. (If a nag warning tells you to shut off “Find my iPhone,” go to your iCloud settings and deactivate it for now.)
- Now tap “Restore backup,” pick the iTunes backup you just made a few moments ago and let the program do the rest.
Voila! When you’re done, you should have an iPhone running iOS 8.0.0 with full cellular reception and Touch ID fingerprint scanning. And maybe, just maybe, a new wait-and-see approach whenever Apple sends out new software.
Photo courtesy of Apple, adapted by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite
Update: iOS developer Devran Ünal reached out to say that a full restore isn’t even necessary. He states that simply getting the older iOS 8 files and choosing “Update” in iTunes instead should do the job.
— Devran (Cosmo) Ünal (@maccosmo) September 24, 2014
If this doesn’t work for you, and performing a restore doesn’t help, you have one more option: putting your device into recovery mode. Apple outlines the steps for that here.
Let us know which method works for you in the comments below. (Thanks, @maccosmo!)