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How to restore your iPhone from iOS 15 beta back to iOS 14

If you regret the upgrade, you can go back to where you started

iOS 15 comes with a number of new features and tweaks
Image: Apple

Beta versions of new software are great to try out, but sometimes you realize that they’re not so good for day-to-day usage. If you’ve upgraded your iPhone to the iOS 15 beta, which is now available to the public, and you realize that you need to go back to the stable world of iOS 14.6, you can do that.

The simplest way to go back to a stable version is to delete the iOS 15 beta profile and wait until the next update shows up:

  • Go to “Settings” > “General”
  • Select “Profiles and & Device Management”
  • Select “Remove Profile” and restart your iPhone

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to return to a non-beta version of iOS until a new update is available. (You can check if one is available by going to “Settings” > “General” > “Software Update.”) If you don’t want to wait, you can do a more thorough recovery — it’s more complicated, but it will get you back to where you were sooner.

The first thing you have to do is put your iPhone into Recovery Mode. This is done by connecting your iPhone to your computer (making sure it’s up to date first). I tested these instructions using a MacBook Pro, but they should work using a PC as well.

You then begin by doing the following (the following three bulleted directions are directly quoted from Apple’s support page):

  • For iPhone 8 or later: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button. Then, press and hold the Side button until you see the recovery mode screen.
  • For iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, or iPod touch (7th generation): Press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Volume Down buttons at the same time. Don’t release the buttons when you see the Apple logo. Continue to hold both buttons until you see the recovery mode screen.
  • For iPhone 6s and earlier, iPad with Home button, or iPod touch (6th generation or earlier): Press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons at the same time. Don’t release the buttons when you see the Apple logo. Continue to hold both buttons until you see the recovery mode screen.

Whichever iPhone you have, once you follow the above directions, you should see a symbol showing a cable connecting to a computer on your iPhone. Turn your attention to your computer.

  • There will be a notice asking if you want to update, restore, or cancel. Select “Restore.”
  • You’ll be asked whether you’re sure you want to restore your phone since you’re about to wipe out any personalization and go back to factory settings. Select “Restore and Update.”
  • You’ll be told that you’re going to be updated to iOS 14.6 (which is the most recent version of iOS 14). Select “Next.”
  • At this point, you’ll be asked to agree to all of the various licensing data that you agreed to last time that you began using your iPhone. Click on “Agree.”
  • You’ll then be told that your computer is downloading the software for the iPhone. It should take a while, maybe 15 minutes or so, depending on your system and your network.
  • Once the OS has been downloaded, you’ll be told that it is being installed on your phone (and the phone will visibly begin uploading the software and will probably restart once or twice). When it’s done, you’ll be told via your computer screen.

Okay, now you should have restored your iPhone back to iOS 14.6. That’s all well and good, but you’ve got what is essentially a clean slate — you want to restore all your apps, personalization, and other stuff, right? This is where your backup comes in. (You did back up your phone before you installed the iOS 15 beta, right?)

  • You’ll be asked if you want to set up your iPhone using the settings from another phone. If you’ve got another with all of your settings on it, well and good — just follow the directions. But assuming that you’re going to restore from a backup, tap on “Set Up Manually.”
  • At this point, you’ll enter your Wi-Fi connection.
  • You then choose how you want to restore your backup: from iCloud, from a Mac or PC, from an iPhone, or from an Android phone. You can also decide not to transfer any data at all. Let’s assume you’ve backed up to iCloud.
  • Once you’ve made that choice, you’ll be asked to enter your Apple ID name and password and to enter a verification code sent to your computer.
  • If you’ve made more than one backup recently, you’ll be able to choose which. (Hopefully it will not be a backup from iOS 15, which will not be transferable.)
  • Once you’ve chosen your backup, it will be transferred to your iPhone, and you should be back where you started before you installed iOS 15. You should be able to use your iPhone fairly quickly; however, it will take a few minutes before everything is uploaded from your backup.