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You can’t downgrade from iOS 13 to iOS 12 — here’s why

Apple’s iOS 13 has been available for a while now, bringing with it a number of awesome new features, like a system-wide Dark Mode, new gestures, and improved performance. Unfortunately, iOS 13 is also a little buggy — and as such, you might find yourself wanting to downgrade back to iOS 12.

Only one problem — while there was once a time when you could downgrade from iOS 13 to iOS 12, that’s no longer the case. Unfortunately, you’re simply going to have to live with the bugs in iOS 13, until Apple finally fixes them.

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There’s one main reason why you can no longer downgrade from iOS 13 to iOS 12. When you change to a different version of iOS software, your device makes sure it’s authentic by checking that it has been digitally signed by Apple, which confirms that Apple created it and that the code has not been altered. If it can’t check that signature, it won’t install the software.

To encourage people to stay on the latest version of iOS, Apple stops signing versions of iOS soon after a new version of the software is made available. Apple stopped signing iOS 12.4.1, which was the last iOS 12 release, early in October — meaning that, even if you download iOS 12.4.1 online, which is relatively easy to do, it can’t be verified, and thus your phone won’t install it.

There’s generally only a week or two-wide window after a consumer version of iOS is released before Apple stops signing it — so the ability to downgrade to an older version of iOS really applies more to beta testers than anyone else. Because of that, if you download a new version of iOS and find that you don’t like it, it’s worth downgrading to an older version right away, as Apple may stop signing the previous version of the software at any moment. Apple seems to stop signing software even quicker if a vulnerability is found in that software.

While iOS 13 is a little buggy, many of the major bugs have been ironed out over the last few weeks. Hopefully, the release of iOS 13 will be a learning experience for Apple, and it will put a lot more effort into ensuring that future versions of iOS are bug-free before they’re released.

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