How to uninstall iOS9 public beta – I needed to

Yesterday morning I decided it would be interesting to install the new iOS9 public beta on my iPhone. Apple doesn’t usually release a public beta and so I thought I’d give it a try.

I first backed up my phone via iTunes (I normally back up to iCloud) and then went through the process of registering my account and device in the beta program.

The install process was not very smooth as it seemed to hang a few times. When I reset my phone however, the installation seemed to have worked just fine and so it must just be issues with the installation routines.

iOS 9 looks good – nothing major. I am very happy about the changes to the keyboard so that you can more clearly see if the shift key has been enabled. Also, Siri seems quicker and has a new UI similar to the Watch now.

But then I noticed that a number of my more important apps crashed when loading them. I tried restarting, but these apps – mainly ones that used bluetooth oddly enough – were obviously not ready for iOS9 and it was clear that I needed to downgrade back to iOS8.4. Easy right?

Well, I have only just this morning completed the downgrade process back to iOS8. The main problem was with leaving the phone unattended during this process as it kept reinstalling iOS9 (three times!). When I did get it restored last night, none of my apps were set up properly and so I did the whole thing again this morning.

So, here are the steps to get your phone downgraded back to iOS8.4 if you happened to install the iOS9 public beta.

  1. Switch off your phone and leave it off. Sometimes when you restart using the home and power keys it reboots.. you want it to be off and so will need to press home and power again.
  2. Load iTunes and plug a USB cable into your computer – but not the phone yet.
  3. While holding down the home key on your phone, plug in the USB cable to your phone.
  4. You should now see a message on iTunes that reports that your phone is in recovery mode and asks if you want to “Restore and Upgrade”. Now this is the killer and why it took me so many times to get it work. You don’t get – just restore, you only have one option – restore and upgrade.
  5. Even though it says Restore and Upgrade… select that option. This will be a two part process – it will first restore and THEN upgrade. And so you will need to interrupt the second step.
  6. Once it has finished restoring, it will restart (you’ll see the Apple logo). As soon as this happens, unplug your phone from your computer. It will then load up as a new install and will ask you for language, region, wifi, iCloud details etc.
  7. Restore from iCloud. I tried twice yesterday to install from my iPhone back on iTunes and it always either reinstalled iOS9 or didn’t work properly. Now that you have the phone to a fresh iOS build, simply restore from iCloud and all will be back to how you left it.
  8. Also, if you have an Apple Watch – you will need to reset the Watch too and pair to your phone again.. after which, you can restore from back up. Please note that I would wait until all of your apps have restored onto your phone before doing so.

iOS9 looks great, this really isn’t a criticism of the new OS. But it is a beta and some apps won’t work – no one said that they will work. And so if you install iOS9 and everything is good for you, then great. But if you find that apps you need are crashing, then downgrade to iOS8 using the steps above. And good luck.