Apple has stopped signing iOS 16.3.1 and iPadOS 16.3.1, meaning iPhone and iPad users can no longer revert to that version of the operating system if they have already upgraded to a newer one. This move comes after the release of iOS 16.4 and iOS 16.4.1 in the last few weeks.
iOS 16.3.1 was initially released in February, offering bug fixes, enhancements to iPhone 14’s Crash Detection, and security patches. On March 27, Apple launched iOS 16.4 with dozens of new emojis, notifications for web apps, Voice Isolation for cellular calls, and other updates.
More recently, Apple released iOS 16.4.1 with “important bug fixes and security updates”. Among the fixes was the resolution of two exploits, one of which allowed third-party apps to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges.
The other vulnerability was found in WebKit, the Safari engine, and could lead to malicious code execution. Apple stated that it was “aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited”, and therefore urged users to update as soon as possible.
Downgrading to previous iOS versions can be useful for users who experience significant bugs after upgrading to the latest version of iOS or for those who jailbreak their iPhones and iPads. However, Apple has made it clear that it will not be possible to revert to iOS 16.3.1 after the recent releases of iOS 16.4 and iOS 16.4.1.
Users who wish to downgrade from iOS 16.4.1 or iOS 16.4 can still do so to iOS 15, as Apple is still providing security updates to users running iOS 15.7.4. However, downgrading to previous versions of iOS requires the use of a Mac or PC.
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Apple has previously offered the option for users to remain on an older version of iOS. Last year, users could choose to stay on iOS 14 for a longer time while Apple was still releasing security updates for it. However, this option was removed a few months later.
It is currently unknown how long iOS 15.7.4 will remain an alternative to iOS 16, but it is worth noting that users running iOS 16.5 beta can also downgrade to iOS 16.4.1 or iOS 15.7.4.