iPhone and iPad

How To Access iOS 7 Beta (And Downgrade To iOS 6)

Tim Brookes 13-06-2013

How To Access iOS 7 Beta (And Downgrade To iOS 6) featured ios 7The web is awash with talk of Apple’s new mobile operating system in the wake of WWDC 2013. As with all new iterations of iOS, Apple developers get access before the rest of us who will have to wait till “fall” for the official build. This isn’t to tease excitable fans, but to provide developers with a chance to get their wares up to date before the final release.


While having your own developer account is one way to secure early access to the iOS 7 beta, it’s not the only way of doing so. There are a couple of ways for impatient iPhone owners to try out the new software for themselves – but remember this is pre-release software: things can and will go wrong.

If you lack patience and absolutely need to get your mitts on iOS 7, read on.

But First, A Warning

Heed this warning, for if you decide to take a chance on iOS 7 and things don’t go swimmingly then I will not be offering >step by step recovery procedures in the comments. Everything that needs to be said has been said in this article, so read it carefully first – not afterwards.

iOS 7 is pre-release “beta” software, and is not yet ready for public consumption. Through the use of such software there is a good chance you will encounter software issues, bugs, incomplete features and problems running third-party software including apps you might use on a daily basis. Apple does not recommend running the beta builds on your primary device, particularly because the betas will expire and leave your device useless until you can update to the next version. For iOS 5 and earlier this required a PC or Mac running iTunes, but since iOS 6 updates have arrived over the air. Regardless, the initial iOS 7 install must be performed with a USB cable and Mac or PC running the latest version of iTunes – you cannot install this beta over-the-air.

Apple’s official word is that you cannot downgrade your device to iOS 6 after installing the beta. This means you shouldn’t install iOS 7 unless you are happy running buggy software for a few months.


With that said, some users have reported successfully downgrading to iOS 6, which is covered in the final Downgrading to iOS 6 section of this article. These techniques may stop working at any time, so don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Now that you are aware what installing the iOS 7 beta means for your device, let’s go through the various methods of doing so.

Get A Developer Account

Apple has always limited iOS pre-releases to developers alone, and for legitimate access you’ll need a developer account. Unlike Google’s Android SDK, the iPhone developer tools are placed behind a $99 annual paywall. In order to have access to the developer side of the App Store or Newsstand, developers must pay the yearly fee – and that includes those of you who want to access iOS 7 early too.

How To Access iOS 7 Beta (And Downgrade To iOS 6) ios dev


According to Apple documentation [Broken URL Removed] developers who cough up the $99 are “allowed to register up to 100 devices for testing and Ad Hoc distribution per membership year”. This means you can’t revoke access to a device once you have granted it access, but that you have 100 single-use tokens instead. This is ideal for businesses, blogs or groups who share a number of devices.

You can sign up for an Apple developer account and start registering your devices here.

Find A Developer Friend

While this might seem obvious, as previously mentioned each developer account can grant up to 100 devices access to the iOS 7 beta. So, if you have a friend who develops iPhone apps for a living then you might want to buy them a beer and flutter your eyelashes, or something.

How To Access iOS 7 Beta (And Downgrade To iOS 6) ios dev paolo


As you can see, developers can be difficult to track down; but once they’ve granted access to your device you can install iOS 7 pretty much straight away.

Buy Access For A Token Amount

I can’t really recommend doing this, partly as Apple isn’t fond of the process and partly as it’s blatant profiteering, but it seems to work for many and for that reason I’d rather include it and let you decide. Many companies offer to register iDevices for the developer program, granting them iOS beta access with Apple, for a small fee. This fee can be from as little as $8 and only requires your device’s Unique Device Identifier (UDID) which you can extract using a simple free app. One such website is IMZDL though at present new UDID registrations have been frozen.

How To Access iOS 7 Beta (And Downgrade To iOS 6) imzdl

These companies grant access to your device using their own developer accounts. If you start to do the sums 100 devices at $8 is $800, which is $701 profit per account when you take the $99 developer fee out of the equation. Apple revoked developer access to a number of companies doing this last year, but more have sprung up and will surely continue to do so. There’s no doubt they’re cheaper than registering your own $99 developer account, but the practice of selling consumers access to free, unfinished software meant for developers isn’t exactly ethical.


Install iOS 7 Straight Up

At the time of writing, this is a genuine and working method of trying out iOS 7. Confirmed by users on Reddit and the iClarified  blog, installing iOS 7 is as easy as… installing iOS 7 (yes, the same way developers do it).

How To Access iOS 7 Beta (And Downgrade To iOS 6) ipsw file

First users must get a hold of the .IPSW file for their device, models which are supported include the GSM and CDMA versions of the iPhone 4, 4S and 5. These are available directly from Apple as official downloads, and have also been mirrored via BitTorrent and on file lockers (but I’d never suggest you download from those, naturally).

With the correct IPSW file handy, connect your iPhone to iTunes and make a local backup, making sure you have everything you want to keep copied from your phone. Next, Option+Click (Mac) or Shift+Click (Windows) the Check for Updates or Update (should you need an update) button. A Finder or Windows Explorer window will open, locate your .IPSW, select it then confirm your choice. iTunes will install the new firmware and you can then restore from your local or iCloud backup in the standard manner.

How To Access iOS 7 Beta (And Downgrade To iOS 6) ipsw install

Note: It is not clear why this works for the moment, or how long it will continue to work for. As iOS betas go through a number of versions which expire before release, should Apple close this loop then users who installed without registering their device’s UDID will technically be “stuck” between iOS 7 beta 1 and iOS 7 official. This is assuming that it is not possible to downgrade your device to iOS 6 – the official line from Apple.

We’ve heard otherwise though, hence…

Downgrading to iOS 6

While Apple still maintains those who install the iOS 7 beta will be using it for for the forseeable until iOS 7’s final release, iClarified reports that downgrading is as simple as ever.

According to the blog, to downgrade users must first download the IPSW for their device (citing this location for downloads). Then connect the device in question to a Mac or PC with iTunes open. Next press hold the Home and Sleep/Wake button simultaneously for 10 seconds and then release the Sleep/Wake button until iTunes detects your iPhone has been put into recovery mode. While this happens, your iPhone’s screen will remain black.

How To Access iOS 7 Beta (And Downgrade To iOS 6) ipsw restore

With the device still connected, in iTunes Option+Click (Mac) or Shift+Click (Windows) the Restore iPhone… button. A window should open, in it locate the iOS 6 IPSW you downloaded, select it and confirm your selection. iTunes will now attempt to downgrade your device, after which point you can restore from local or iCloud backups.

Alternatively: Have Patience

Of course the other way to get your hands on iOS 7 is to just wait a few months until Apple announces the official release date. Maybe you’re just getting to grips with iOS 6 A Complete Beginner's Guide to iOS 11 for iPhone & iPad Here's everything you need to know to get started with iOS 11. Read More , find nothing in iOS 7 of interest or are just happy to wait. This is what the vast majority of iPhone users will be doing: it doesn’t involve updating beta versions, paying for a developer account or taking any chances – just patience.

Will you be upgrading early to iOS 7? Which route will you take? Or maybe you’ve opted to wait – let us know what you think in the comments, below.

Image credit: Paolo, the iOS Developer (Francesca Guadagnini)

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  1. Tim
    September 3, 2013 at 6:32 am

    I had ios7 beta on ipod touch 5th generation and it is wanting me to activate it now. If I hold off until the official release comes out , should I be able to update it from iTunes or would I have to downgrade to ios6.1.3 first? I have both the ipad and iphone so I could wait and let ipod sit a week or so because I have a passwords app I am really not wanting to lose. It was only on my ipod and hate to lose it. If anyone has an answer to this, it would be appreciated.

  2. martin
    September 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Hello! I downloaded the ios7 and it's really great but did anyone also notice the lags between sliding screens? is it a beta problem or is something wrong with my version? I reinstalled the beta beta from here : http://www.ios7down.blogspot.com seems to work ok but i liked the old iOS better!

  3. Ricardo
    August 27, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    I am having a problem with my iPhone 4S after instaling iOS 7 beta 6 and downgrading to iOS 6.1.3. After a week using iOS 7 the iphone was overheating and discharging too fast so i decided to restore it to 6.1.3.
    I did it using non DFU mode and also using it but the problem remains.
    Problem: after 2 days back to 6.1.3 my iPhone can't make/receive calls. The carrier signal bar is null even with others sim cards. The carrier name appears but without signal.
    I have called Apple suport and they told me to wait for iOS 7 oficial and i'm not covered by any warranty anymore because iOS 7 was supposed to be used only by developers.
    I think Apple has blocked my activation or something like that so my iPhone 4S is useless for now.
    Do you have any idea how to restore my iPhone and fix it?

    • Tim Brookes
      August 28, 2013 at 12:36 am

      If you already phoned Apple then there's your answer I'm afraid. Did you register your UDID with the developer program?

      The problem with downgrading is that the process is strictly not Apple approved. They never support downgrading officially, mainly due to the whole baseband/jailbreak thing where older firmware succumbs to exploits. There are also valid security reasons that Apple takes a stance against this, and I'm honestly not really surprised by their response when you got in touch.

      If you registered your device with the developer program (either you gave someone your UDID and they did it or you paid your $99 and got a developer account) then you should try installing iOS 7 again. I've been running it for the past 2 months and it's incredibly stable on my iPhone 5 these days. Sure, beta 1-4 were pretty bad in places, and some apps don't work, but I've not really had any problems with overheating or battery discharge, plus it wipes the floor with iOS 6.

      Then again if you didn't register your device then I can't really think what to suggest other than the fact that you should remember this when iOS 8 is on the horizon.

      I expect iOS 7 to be released sometime between the 10th and 20th of September, after Apple's announcement but before the iPhone 5S/whatever they're going to call it ships.

      • Ricardo
        August 28, 2013 at 1:16 am

        Thanks Tim.
        I did not register my device with my UDID with the developer program and didn't ask someone to do it for me until now.
        I really don't know what to do.

  4. Juliana S
    July 3, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Downgraded worked fine. iOS 7 download worked fine as well. The problem is when I try to backup my files from iOS 6 to iOS 7. I tried to restore back from iTunes backup, but then my iPhone 5 reboots and stays in boot loop! Someone could help me?

  5. Nadiia
    June 29, 2013 at 4:18 am

    i recently downloaded ios7 without a developers code and now i am trying to downgrade to ios 6.1.2 using the recovery mode and am receiving an error. should i try 6.1.3? my phone is now stuck in recovery mode

    • Tim Brookes
      June 29, 2013 at 8:05 am

      Yeah I'd definitely recommend 6.1.3 unless you have an iPhone 5 (in which case it'll be 6.1.4).

      Good luck, let us know how you get on.

  6. Bruno Pavão
    June 26, 2013 at 2:55 am

    I tried upgrading my A1332 (GSM) iPhone 4 to the beta using the method mentioned above, although when I connected it to wifi and tried to "register", it told me I was not registered in Apple's developer program. Trying now to put it in recovery mode to restore iOS 6, but the phone simply restarts when I simultaneously press home/sleep buttons. What can I do?

    • David
      June 26, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      If you want, I can register your phone. Shoot me an email at d . rhodes at me . com.
      If you want to downgrade to iOS 6, I can help you with that too.

  7. Jango
    June 23, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    I can't restore my information after downgrading from ios7 to ios6 its says the software is too old to restore from my last backup ! please HELP ME !! Thank you

    • Tim Brookes
      June 24, 2013 at 12:55 am

      Hmmm... well Apple's official line is that restoring to a previous version of iOS is not supported. I know it worked for you, but that's not to say it was a successful operation (because it would seem your phone thinks you are running a newer version than the backup you have).

      Have you checked your iOS version number in Settings? 6.1.3/4? I don't know if there will be any resolve (maybe try restoring from iCloud) as this is beta software, and comes with warnings for this sort of thing.

      • Nassim
        June 24, 2013 at 9:32 pm

        I am not able to downgrade to ios 6.1.3 only 6.1.4 but I can't restore my datas when I restore 6.1.4 I see my backup but only compatible with iOS 7.

        • Nassim
          June 25, 2013 at 1:00 am

          Tim Thank you!

          I want to restore my Apps, Contacts, all data, but impossible because the backup is associate to iOS 7. If I downgrade to 6.1.4 no restore is possible from my old backup reallyyyyy bad :-((

  8. eyal
    June 18, 2013 at 8:00 am

    I have rolled back to ios6 after my ios7 (was using it for a week, backed it up using itunes and all) was heating up and draining my battery like crazy. SO - my question is - my itunes backup which backed up the ios7 is not showing on the "restore from backup" option on itunes. I have located the files on my mac, but i have no idea how to hack this backup and have it shown on my itunes for the restore. any idea?

    THANK YOU SO MUCH !!! :)

    • Tim Brookes
      June 18, 2013 at 11:12 pm

      >> my itunes backup which backed up the ios7 is not showing on the “restore from backup” option on itunes.

      So you want to restore a backup you made after you installed iOS 7? Because I'm fairly sure that's not supported. If you upgraded to iOS 7, backed up, downgraded to iOS 6 and now want to install the backup you made in iOS 7 then that's never going to work.

      Otherwise I'm not entirely sure why it's not showing up, and you might want to ask what else you can do over at MakeUseOf Answers

      • eyal
        June 19, 2013 at 8:36 am

        no, Im looking to restore a previous backup I made for iOS 6

        • Tim Brookes
          June 20, 2013 at 12:57 am

          In that case I don't know - I'd recommend MakeUseOf Answers for any tech help you need :)

  9. Lukus
    June 16, 2013 at 1:19 am

    I am trying to downgrade my iphone from the ios7 (beta) to ios6 and it says: "We’re unable to complete your activation. This device is not registered as part of the iPhone Developer Program.If you are a member of the Program, please register your device in the iPhone Developer Program Portal." Someone please help me i have no idea what to do.

    • Tim Brookes
      June 16, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      You should do as the article says above. Enter DFU mode then try restoring that way. If your phone is still on to tell you that message then it means you've not enabled DFU (recovery) mode.

      Just follow the instructions above under "Downgrading to iOS 6".

  10. KidErdman
    June 14, 2013 at 2:21 am

    Your article is incorrect - iOS betas absolutely support OTA updates, and have done so since iOS 6 beta 2.

    • Tim Brookes
      June 14, 2013 at 3:02 am

      Ok, so there have been two iOS beta updates (iOS 6 beta 2 and beta 3) delivered OTA as the feature was introduced with iOS 6. There's no guarantee iOS 7 will use OTA as well, so we will have to wait and see (but I agree it's likely). I have changed the article to reflect this, though the instructions are exactly the same.

  11. Ruschil Sharma
    June 13, 2013 at 6:53 am

    I have decided to wait...
    And will only upgrade on its official release ..
    Thanks for making me sure about my decision :D

  12. Mike
    June 13, 2013 at 5:19 am

    This will tell you how to ensure that you can downgrade from iOS 7 Beta, to iOS 6.1.3 if you can’t get iTunes to accept your device.

    I was on iOS 6.1 with jailbreak and it had become buggy from all the nonsense I had put it through, so I decided to restore it through iTunes. When I did this, it automatically updated to iOS 6.1.3, which can't be jailbroken. So I figured I'd shoot for iOS 7, since I had heard Beta was out (Keep in mind that this is my only iDevice, an iPhone 4S 32GB).

    So while searching Blobs and how to downgrade and all that, I came across the ISPW for iOS 7 Beta on a jailbreak site. Great! This is where I made my smartest move; when you restore your device, it downloads the ISPW to your device in Library>iTunes>iPhone Software Updates (Mac). So I copied that file into a folder on my desktop and backed up my Time Machine.

    So with everything backed up, I went and installed iOS 7. The important part is just like you said, Option-click on Update, not on Restore. That’s very important if you’re not a registered developer. But as it was, everything worked great! iOS 7 ran smooth(ish) and has a beautiful design and interactive concept.

    But tragedy struck when I wanted to clear out my phone quickly and completely, and I decided I would go into my settings and press Reset>Erase All Content And Settings. It then began to run through the motions of taking my device to factory defaults, which it did successfully.

    After it finished, it asked my language and what Wi-Fi I wanted to connect to. after choosing the Wi-Fi, it stated that it was verifying the software. That’s when I got locked out of my phone. So I plugged it into iTunes and it said the same thing the phone did; that the device wasn’t registered and there was nothing I could do. But I had my ISPW saved! But how was I to install it when iTunes wouldn’t give me the option? That’s where the jailbreak app came in.

    Redsn0w has the ability to restore an iDevice by choosing the ISPW from your computer (like Option-click in iTunes). So I ran it to install my backup of 6.1.3 and it worked! Then I reinstalled iOS 7 (a few times, actually) through iTunes Update button, and it works just fine!

    So if you decide to do it; 1: Save your ISPW (if it’s not there, backup then do a full restore and it’ll download it).
    2: Update through iTunes, don’t restore.
    3: Don’t reset to factory defaults after installing iOS 7.
    4: If you do get locked out, get the latest version of redsn0w. It’ll save your phone.

    Best of luck!

  13. Eric
    June 13, 2013 at 4:48 am

    Just finished the recovery mode downgrade and it worked

  14. Eric
    June 13, 2013 at 4:35 am

    I paid $9 to some site to get my udid registered and it failed...

    I'm in the middle of doing the downgrade as described above and it seems to be working, waiting for the download to finish but its letting me do it whereas before taking those steps I was completely locked out of my phone.

    So be sure you have a backup incase your phone essentially gets bricked by a scammy udid registry.

    • Dave
      June 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm

      iOS 7 is definitely worth a try. I'm sorry to hear your $9 didn't get you anywhere. If you want, I can put your UDID into my developer account for you. Free. Just because it sucks you weren't able to try it.

      • Eric
        June 13, 2013 at 9:45 pm

        Thanks for the offer, could i shoot you an email?

        • Dave
          June 13, 2013 at 11:50 pm

          Yea, email me at d . rhodes at me . com

        • Tim Brookes
          June 14, 2013 at 6:46 am

          Aw shucks, you guys!

        • jobn
          June 19, 2013 at 3:08 am

          please add my uuid in yoUr develpor account
          i need activation :(

        • David
          June 19, 2013 at 6:23 am

          It wont let me reply to "jobn" directly....but on the off chance this is seen by "jobn"...email me at
          d . rhodes at me . com

          That is a generic statement. A lot of people have already emailed me since my last comment. And I now have a document to walk step by step what to do also. So...if you can see this "jobn" just email me.

        • Bruno Pavão
          June 26, 2013 at 2:57 am

          Would you mind registering my phone as well? Kind of bummed out by the fact that my phone might have bricked :l

      • Tim Brookes
        June 14, 2013 at 6:47 am

        Can I ask - did the downgrade successfully complete? I've not had to do it yet, and while there are other reports it would be good to hear it again

  15. Lee
    June 13, 2013 at 1:15 am

    Technically, you can still download most of the developer tools without having a developer account. Xcode can be downloaded free from the app store and you can run your apps on the simulator (just not on an actual device without jailbreaking).