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How-To: Downgrade iOS 9.1 public beta to current iOS 9.0 release

iOS 9 iPhone 16-9

iOS 9 marked the first major version of the iPhone and iPad software that Apple opened up for public beta testing after a similar trial run with iOS 8.3 last year. As many users have noticed, Apple’s public beta program is continuing with the upcoming iOS 9.1 release available as an OTA (over-the-air) update for non-developer testers, but many users will surely want to hop off the beta train and onto the stable release cycle with today’s iOS 9.0 release.

Several readers have already asked about downgrading from the iOS 9.1 public beta to today’s iOS 9.0 release, and while it’s possible it does come at a cost: potentially losing some important data. If moving from iOS 9.1 public or even dev beta to today’s official iOS 9.0 release is worth it for you, read on for a detailed guide for doing just that.

Step 1: Ensure iCloud Is Backing Up and Syncing

While there doesn’t seem to be an official path from iOS 9.1 public beta to today’s iOS 9.0 release that keeps all of your data intact, iCloud is mostly version-agnostic in that it usually syncs and backs up important data like contacts and notes for use on older versions of iOS. Using the iOS device that you plan to downgrade, go to the Settings app then iCloud pane to ensure important information like Contacts, Reminders, and Notes are all toggled on if you plan on keeping this information.

Likely due to privacy concerns, Apple has not enabled syncing data from the Health and Activity apps through iCloud so expect to lose this information if downgrading. Backing up to iCloud does preserve Health and Activity, but you won’t be able to restore to iOS 9.0 using your iOS 9.1 backup unfortunately. Still, I recommend creating a full iCloud backup just in case you have second thoughts after moving down to iOS 9.0 and want to recover your data with iOS 9.1. While connected to power and on a Wi-Fi Internet connection, go to Settings > iCloud > Backup and ensure iCloud Backup is toggled on. Then tap Back Up Now to begin a full backup to iCloud.

Step 2: Disable Find My iPhone/iPad/iPod touch

While you’re in Settings > iCloud, you’ll want to disable Activation Lock in iOS 9.1 to save some time when restoring to iOS 9.0. Do this by going to Settings > iCloud > Find My iPhone/iPad/iPod touch (depending on which device you’re using) and toggling off Find My iPhone/iPad/iPod touch which should prompt you for your Apple ID and password used for iCloud.


Note: this may differ from your App Store password if you use a separate account for iCloud and purchases.

Step 3: Backup Purchases and Data to iTunes

Now that we have a few safety nets in place, it’s time to connect your iOS device to iTunes on your Mac or PC using your charging cable and put up a few more before downgrading from iOS 9.1 to iOS 9.0. After plugging in your iOS device, you may have to give your computer and device permission to “trust” each other, then click the icon in the top left corner of iTunes for managing your device.


From here you can create a local backup to iTunes and transfer any purchases not already saved to your computer. Even if your device is set to backup to iCloud, you can still choose to do a manual backup here. If you opt to encrypt your backup and protect that file with a password, most passwords from iOS will remain intact if you decide to restore to your iOS 9.1 backup in the future.

iTunes backup

This process may take several minutes, especially if you opt to transfer any purchases from your iOS device to your Mac or PC using iTunes. Note that iTunes will need to be authorized with the same account used on your iOS device before transferring purchases.

Step 4: Put iOS Device in Recovery Mode

Now that you have a couple backups in place in case anything goes wrong, it’s time to downgrade from iOS 9.1 to iOS 9.0. iTunes doesn’t allow devices to easily rollback from a higher version of iOS to a previous release, so you’ll need to first put your device into recovery mode. Apple offers a guide for putting a device into recovery mode, but it boils down to four steps:

  1. Turn off your device and leave it off.
  2. Plug in your device’s USB cable to a computer with iTunes.
  3. Hold down the Home button on your device as you connect the USB cable. Keep holding down the Home button until you see the Connect to iTunes screen.
  4. When you see [the screen with iTunes + Lightning cable], release the Home button. If you don’t see this screen, try steps 1 through 3 again.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 3.16.55 PM

Step 5: Restore iOS Device to Factory Settings

Once your device is in Recovery Mode and connected to iTunes, you should see a prompt to Restore and Update. Following this prompt will show you the latest official version of iOS, specifically iOS 9.0 in this case, then begin downloading the full operating system after you follow the on-screen prompts.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 3.21.38 PM

You can follow the download progress in the upper right hand corner for an estimated time before the install begins.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 3.21.57 PM

Once iOS has finished downloading, your iOS device will begin installing the operating system. You’ll notice a progress bar beneath the Apple logo on your device’s display while iTunes says Restoring iPhone/iPad/iPod touch Software/Firmware.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 3.39.59 PM

Next you’ll notice iTunes no longer displays your device as it completes one more cycle of fulfilling a progress bar after a restart. Upon rebooting, iTunes may still prompt you to activate your device

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 3.44.29 PM

Step 6: Restore iOS Device From Non-iOS 9.1 Backup or Set Up As New

Once your iOS device is wiped clean and restored to iOS 9.0, you can either choose to setup your device as new or restore content and settings from an iTunes or iCloud backup saved from iOS 9.0 or earlier. Welcome back to iOS 9.0.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 3.45.53 PM

Backups from iOS 9.1 will not be compatible and are only used for returning to iOS 9.1. Using your computer, iTunes will offer the option to restore to a previous backup, or you can start the setup process on your device to choose restoring through iCloud if you have a compatible backup.

Whichever route you take, restoring or starting clean, you can still sign in with iCloud to bring back the information it syncs including contacts and notes. The downside here is that not restoring will erase any Health and Activity data not present in an older backup or completely if you start fresh. Note also that many apps including some games will lose data when setting up as new or using an older backup.

Alternatively: Await Official iOS 9.1 Release Later This Fall

If you’ve already updated to iOS 9.1 public beta and decide that losing data isn’t worth the hassle, Apple’s official path for public beta testers seems to be this: continue to test future iOS 9.1 releases on your device, then update to iOS 9.1’s official release when it comes later this fall. There’s no exact date for when iOS 9.1 will be available, but it’s likely it will arrive with the iPad Pro which is shipping sometime in November. Have anything to add to this tutorial? Let us know below in the comments!

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  1. iSRS - 8 years ago

    I chose the Update method instead of Restore and to my surprise, it worked.

    • countyourbeans - 8 years ago

      I wanted to second this option and clarify how awesome it is.

      When you put your iOS device running 9.1 beta into recovery mode, you’ll see two options, Restore and Update. If you choose Update, it will replace your 9.1 beta OS with the official 9.0 release OS, without deleting any of your user data. In other words, no time-consuming restore from backups are necessary. Once your phone completes the update, all of your data is still in place.

      I’m not sure when this new option showed up, but it’s real, and it’s spectacular.

      • Trevor James - 8 years ago

        +1 Life saver. Works here with iTunes

      • Landy (@Soydepr) - 8 years ago

        Thank will try because I don’t want to loose my sky gambler rating Did you remove beta profile before doing ?

      • Kris404 - 8 years ago

        OMG.. when was this option added?

        It works downgrading from 9.1 Beta 1 to 9.0 GA (keep hitting Update button instead of Restore)

        Thank you.

      • eodell001 - 8 years ago

        Thank you! It worked for me but I had to follow the directions and when software was downloaded I had to go back and put my device back in recovery mode and then it downgraded me to the iOS 9 official releas.

      • nathany - 8 years ago

        Thanks. It still took some time to backup and download iOS 9.0, but this “Update” mode worked nicely.

        I had left the download overnight, so I had to go back into recovery mode and choose “Update” again in the morning.

      • Landy (@Soydepr) - 8 years ago

        even when i had downloaded the firmware its downloading it again :-(

      • chow23 - 8 years ago

        It’s worked out to my iPhone 6Plus & iPad Air 2 as well.. I am really thankful to you..

      • shinkyo81 - 8 years ago

        This also worked for me. I downgraded from iOS 9 public beta 3 to iOS 9.0.2 and keeping all my apps and settings intact. THANK YOU VERY MUCH! :)

      • nickmartin78 - 7 years ago

        Pure awesome! Thanks man!

      • Danny Littledee Gray - 7 years ago

        i have beta 9 not 9.1 and looks like its working for me will update when its done but theses instructions where great

    • pnhawaii - 8 years ago

      Awesome man! Thanks a lot

    • transmatrix - 8 years ago

      THANK YOU! They really need to update this article, not everyone reads the comments…

    • averynkh - 8 years ago

      hi, do you mean i can just jump to recovery mode step, and choose Update, then it will install the official ios 9 and i will be get rid of beta 9.1 completely? as in ios 9.1, i still cannot transfer purchase to computer.

      i have another question, each time i need to manual do the purchase transfer to my computer, but why did my friend’s iphon6 will transfer automatically while sync and backup the phone? (in fact my phone used to be like this, but i forgotten since when it couldnt transfer automatically anymore during backup phone)

    • thejustinporter - 8 years ago

      Yeah… don’t bother restoring! Just choose “Update” and it saves everything! Amazinggggg!!!

  2. lmjwoww - 8 years ago

    I really want to downgrade to 9.1 but am worried about the process as my laptop is quite old and I’m not sure it would complete the update once my phone is in recovery mode. Hope the public beta testing will expire at 9.1 and my phone will go back to normal. Battery life is awful on my 5s (but I was expecting it) but it’s starting to annoy me now…

  3. taoprophet420 - 8 years ago

    Apple needs a way to downgrade through the cloud instead of iTunes. Enough people rely on on iPad or even iPhone as a computer now.

    • mpias3785 - 8 years ago

      That’s a mistake. A corrupt update could put your phone into DFU mode and without a computer a trip to the Apple store would be required. iDevices are not meant to be standalone devices and require a real computer for many tasks.

    • Exactly what I thought.

  4. Sebastian Viteri Noguera - 8 years ago

    Do i need to erase my beta program profile to get the official 9.1 release? or will it be as a normal software update? Thanks!

    • Pierre de la Cruz - 8 years ago

      Well, with the official 9.0. I got notified of a 9.1 update when I was still on the beta program. I didn’t install it. I deleted the profile and opted out of the program. The option to install 9.1 beta disappeared. However, every time I wake the phone up, I keep getting notified of a non existing 9.0 update. Today the official 9.0 release popped up and was able to install it, no problems. The notifications also disappeared.

  5. dcj001 - 8 years ago

    What if an iPhone is running iOS 9.1, and the only back up is the latest iOS 9.1 beta back up, and some has ordered an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus? Will a migration to the new device from the previous device’s iOS 9.1 beta back up be possible?

    • Devin (@KingHopson) - 8 years ago

      It will not be possible! Unless you change the version of the backup which is possible

    • Robert F Corbin - 8 years ago

      I’m in the same boat. I’m thinking, when I get my new phone, I’ll have to immediately upgrade it to 9.1 before installing my backup…

  6. Landy (@Soydepr) - 8 years ago

    No where does it say delete beta profile

    • countyourbeans - 8 years ago

      Settings – General – Profile – Select “iOS 9 beta software profile” – choose delete profile

  7. Harshil Varsani - 8 years ago

    I did the exact same process as above and it seems like my iOS 9 beta profile has been put back onto my phone. When I go to software update it prompts me to update to iOS 9.1. I was on iOS 9 beta 3, I didn’t update to 9.1 and my latest back up was made on iOS 9 beta 3. Any thoughts would be much appreciated

  8. cheema08 - 8 years ago

    I need to know the answer to dcj001’s question please. I’ve got an iPhone 6 on iOS 9.1 beta. When I get the iPhone 6s that will be on iOS 9. Will my iOS 9.1 back up still work on my iPhone 6s running iOS 9. If not can I update my iPhone 6s to iOS 9.1 beta. Thanks in advance.

    • eodell001 - 8 years ago

      Yes you can go through the beta instructions and add beta profile and install beta 9.1 and then backup from your iTunes back that is saved.

  9. Shantanu Bhave - 8 years ago

    Wasn’t able to transfer purchases to iTunes. Now they are all gone, any ideas on how to get th0se back?

  10. Collin James - 8 years ago

    I just went from iOS 9.1 public beta to 9.0 public release using iTunes. Just held down both buttons plugged into iTunes, selected update. It downloaded iOS 9.0 and installed keeping all my apps etc. Confirmed running iOS 9.0 at the end of the process.

    • akshitrajbhandari - 8 years ago


      Could you describe in detail as to how you managed to go from iOS 9.1 Public Beta to iOS 9.0 Public Release and didn’t have to go though restoring back the apps and the data.

  11. Chad Duerksen - 8 years ago

    Doesn’t work at all, neither Restore not Update replaces 9.1 with 9.0. Tried it 4 times in different ways and 9.1 always goes back on.

    • eodell001 - 8 years ago

      I followed the directions and when the software was downloaded, I went through the process again and iTunes did downgrade me to iOS 9.

    • Robert F Corbin - 8 years ago

      Me neither… When I get my new 6s, I’ll have to immediate;y upgrade it to 9.1… augh…

  12. Marisa Isenberg - 8 years ago

    Did the whole process yesterday of downgrading from 9.1 beta to 9.0, deleted my beta profile, deleted the 9.1 update it prompted with after restore, and now im still stuck with a “1” next to software update but when I click it, it says I have the latest version 9.0. Apple support said to wipe my phone which I did…and restore from icloud, still have “1” software update. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

  13. Akter (@akter8) - 8 years ago

    This is the process you should follow to go back to 9.0 from 9.1 beta.

    1. Switch off your Iphone and go to recovery mode (press home button + plug in lightning cable)
    2. iTUNES will pop up a message showing whether you want to update or recover. Select update.
    3. Then it will download ios 9.0 beta to your phone and install
    4. Once 9.0 beta is install…take a backup thru itunes for ios 9.0 beta
    5. follow step 1 again.
    6. Now choose restore
    7. it will bring the iphone to factory settings and install ios 9.
    8.once it is installed…it will ask for whether you want new or recover from backup…chose recover from backup that you took recently
    9. it will then restore your phone just like 9.0 without deleting any single information

    • Chad Duerksen - 8 years ago

      Doesn’t work, sorry. Deleted beta profiles, updated back to 9.0 and it put beta back on. So followed your instructions, restored to 9.0, that worked as well. Made a backup. Went to restore from backup, and 9.0 beta went back on. There’s no way to do this unless you just set up the iPad as brand new. It won’t do it with any type of restore and will always put the beta back on. Tried it 3 or 4 times now.

  14. Robert Plonka - 8 years ago

    The above is not true, had the „1“ issue also. Dont bother with backups 

    Do the following if you are stuck having now official 9.0 with the „1“ on settings, and not been able to upgrade as it says you are on 9.0:

    1, make sure to install 9.1 beta AGAIN going with the same procedures (download profile, upgrade etc). After, it still will be showing the „1“ in update.
    2, delete ios 9.1 beta profile in settings
    3, go to DFU (restore mode) and press Update (assuming you have latest iTunes)
    4, it will restore ios 9.0 official, „1“ will go away and you will have your data

    Completed now from in my environment.

    • averynkh - 8 years ago

      hi, may i know does it need to restore from any backup or what? or it is just merely switching the ios version from 9.1 to official 9? i got a bit confused, i wanted to downgrade back to official ios 9 too, i can backup my phone to both icloud and itunes, can you give me some suggestions? because people didnt seems mention about does it have restore or what… thanks :)

  15. Christopher Hagerup - 8 years ago

    What is the actual difference between 9.1 and 9? I currently have 9.1 installed

  16. Juan Genao (@JuanGenao) - 8 years ago

    I ordered a new Iphone 6s, I figure it will come with iOs 9.0, Im using 9.1 and all my itunes and icloud backups are 9.1, will I be able to restore my info to the new phone running 9.0 ??

  17. I am running 9.1 on my iPad Air2 with no issues. Any real reason to downgrade to 9.0? Doesn’t make sense to me.

  18. If you’re like me and you’ve downgraded to iOS 9, I think the only way to restore your iOS 9.1 beta is to reinstall the beta, then restore, otherwise it says the current software on the iphone (9.0) is too old.

  19. cheema08 - 8 years ago

    I’ve gone from iOS 9.1 Public Beta to iOS 9 Public Release. But when I try to back up my iPhone 6 running iOS 9 Public Release it comes up with an error saying something like ‘ cannot sync or back up iPhone because the iPhone is disconected’. Anyone know a fix around this?

  20. Manideep Nagulakonda - 8 years ago

    my iphone6 is unlocked 1 what happends if i restore? wil my mobile bricks?

  21. Have tried three times. Get to the connect the cable bit it starts to download the the iPad comes back into play and the download fails.
    Any suggestions?

  22. Karris Lee Gentile - 8 years ago

    I tried the “Update” method, once it was done it was stuck on the Apple Logo. I then tried again with the “Restore” Method and it wont finish restoring.. It will get about a quarter of the way into the restoring and then stay there.. no matter how long i leave it there.
    Now what do i do? I need help asap!

  23. Keith Ainsley - 8 years ago

    Gee. It’s not hard guys. Just follow the instructions. I have iOS 9 getting installed on my iPhone 6 Plus and it’s easy as cake.

  24. if I already have iOS 9.1 beta, will I get upgrade to iOS 9.1 official?

  25. cpunktb - 8 years ago

    What countyourbeans said really works. So easy. Thanks for this tip, man!

  26. Roman Alifanov - 8 years ago

    You can also downgrade your device from iTunes, download the final iOS release, hold shift and click update, choose the file and downgrade. Saves you the hassle… :)

  27. Shemar Mason - 8 years ago

    this didnt work for me it keep saying 9.1 an then a error pops up

  28. Craig Madden - 7 years ago

    Thank You :)

  29. Alenaa (@aalenaaaa_) - 7 years ago

    I lost all my photo! ): I back it up but still lost…. ):

  30. Bruno Dias - 7 years ago

    Cara, você salvou minha vida. Nem sei como agradecer. Tinha cansado dos bugs do iOS Beta, e enfim consegui mudar para a oficial. Valeu!

  31. Deniz Terzioğlu - 7 years ago

    it downloaded the update on itunes but then did NOTHING. can you please help?

  32. Enver Hoxha - 7 years ago

    Brilliant – this has saved me hours. The Update option is superb – well done Apple (surprising this is not more widely advertised as opt-in opt-out beta testing with no loss of data)

  33. Wendy Fritz - 7 years ago

    I have lost messenger. There is a lot of important messages on it. What did I do wrong as it is just a grey page now?

  34. Brian Cole - 7 years ago

    did not work at all, just updated me to a newer version of the beta…


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Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.