You’ve had your fun flouting Apple’s restrictions, and now you want vanilla iOS back in all its glory. Luckily the process is even easier than when you performed the jailbreak in the first place.
That’s not to say things don’t go wrong, and it might surprise you to learn there’s actually a “right way” to go about doing this. Here’s how to remove your jailbreak and restore stock iOS to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
Before You Restore
Your reasons for restoring will vary, but one reason people often choose to get rid of their jailbreak is to install the latest (not yet jailbroken) version of iOS. At the time of writing, that’s 7.1.2 and it’s already been jailbroken – but that doesn’t mean you can simply upgrade using the option in Settings > General > Software Update.
For most, that option simply won’t work and others have reported experiencing battery life problems and activation issues when updating on top of a jailbreak. More to the point, most iOS software updates modify your hardware’s baseband version, which means if you’re dependent on your jailbreak for an unlock, you will lose your unlock when you finally do upgrade.
One way of potentially restoring your unlock is to save your SHSH blobs, which is what is used to authenticate your iPhone with Apple. This process is only possible using a downgrade, which can be a fairly difficult operation to complete (Apple authenticates all new software installs using their own servers). SHSH blobs are in the process of being phased out in favour of the tougher-to-beat APTicket.
Important: For this reason, you shouldn’t upgrade the software on your phone or restoring to stock if you depend on your jailbreak for an unlock. Unless you’re making a warranty claim or passing the phone on to someone who can use it on the network it is locked to, you might as well keep an eye on the jailbreak scene to ensure you can still use your phone once you’ve upgraded and re-jailbroken.
This is probably why most people don’t bother jailbreaking, but that’s a whole other article!
Restoring The Right Way
Unless you want a headache, battery problems or an iPhone that won’t even turn on, don’t simply attempt to upgrade over-the-air. Do this instead:
- Download or update iTunes to the latest version.
- On the device, head to Settings > iCloud and disable Find my iPhone/iPad if it’s on.
- Connect your iOS device to your Mac or PC using the USB cable, and select it when it appears in iTunes.
- On the Summary tab, hit Restore.
- Decline the invitation to create a backup and continue anyway.
- Once the process has completed, leave the device connected until it is activated. You will need to connect your Apple ID at this point.
- Restore from a backup you made before jailbreaking if possible.
“But my iPhone won’t turn on!”
If you can’t get your iPhone to show up in iTunes when trying to restore, hope is not lost. You’ll simply need to put the device into DFU mode before restoring. This is done by:
- Power off your device.
- Press and hold the power button for three seconds.
- Press and hold the Home button but don’t let go of the Power button, for 10 seconds.
- Let go of the power button but keep holding Home for about 15 seconds.
- Your iPhone should appear in iTunes by now, and you can follow the instructions from step 3 above.
But What About Backups?
There are a lot of tales online – mainly anecdotal, which comes with the territory when it comes to jailbreaking – that creating a backup of a jailbroken device is a bad idea. There are a few reasons for this, one of which is that if you’re making a warranty claim it’s possible for Apple to tell that your device was jailbroken once some evidence of the jailbreak has been copied back to the freshly restored phone.
If you’re not making warranty claims, you still might want to hold off creating a backup. Jailbroken iOS firmware can run riot accessing different parts of the filesystem usually only reserved for apps and system components. If a tweak you were using has been storing data in an unorthodox place, and you create a backup of this data, when you restore the phone you might never be able to access (or delete) said data again.
This might not be a huge amount of data and pose little problem, or it might be a lot of temporary files that eats a good portion of your 16GB iPhone’s memory.
Do you jailbreak? Ever made a warranty claim for a phone you had previously jailbroken? Share your tales in the comments, below.