For some reason my iPhone 4s (running on latest iOS 6 and never jailbroken) has crashed and is stuck on a rebooting loop. I tried to restore my iPhone from a backup I made about a week ago. iTunes prompted me to install the latest version (11.1) and I went ahead and did this, remembering that I saw somewhere that you need to be running the latest version of iTunes to be able to restore.

However, as soon as it picks up the iPhone in recovery and I press "Restore" it forces me to update to iOS 7. At this point I have pressed "cancel", as I'm concerned that if I go ahead and update, I won't be able to restore my phone with last weeks backup, because this was backed up under iOS 6.

How can I restore the phone to iOS 6 and recover my backup?

  • What is your goal here? Do you want to upgrade to iOS7 if this still allows you to restore your iOS6 backup? Or do you want to stay with iOS6 for now?
    – nohillside
    Sep 19, 2013 at 18:16
  • 1
    Thanks for the prompt response. My goal is to stay with iOS 6 for now, and just get my iPhone up and running to how it was before it started crashing.
    – wedge197
    Sep 19, 2013 at 19:18
  • Is this the same device / computer pair that's having issues here: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/102654
    – bmike
    Sep 21, 2013 at 17:30
  • Are you sure that your phone just doesn't need a hard reset? Maybe letting it run down completely before turning it back on again would fix it? It seems strange that a non-jailbroken iPhone 4 would suddenly get stuck in a boot loop. Doing so would negate the need to restore from a backup, too. Oct 11, 2013 at 12:36

4 Answers 4


You may be stuck on iOS 7 if you don't have a way to get that software from Apple's servers. Typically only registered developers can download several versions of software, but if you search - there are many places that archive these software ipsw files. It's always a bit of a risk downloading software from a place other than the vendor, but I don't know of a better option.

Typically, when a new OS is released, iTunes will only download the latest software if you don't already have an older version of the software stored locally. Is there any chance that computer (or another computer) downloaded iOS 6 and still has it on the hard drive? If so, you can decline the offer to upgrade and restore the device from that version of firmware.

As was covered in the comments - there is no restriction to load iOS 6 backup on iOS 7. Also - this is more about the computer and iTunes having the old iOS file already downloaded than something that's inherent on the device. Any change you have a backup copy of the iOS files iTunes downloaded?


I have a similar answer here. Essentially, you want to hold shift when pressing the Restore button in iTunes, then it will prompt you to locate an IPSW firmware image to restore. You must provide your own IPSW image to do this, though they're not hard to find online. As bmike said, you may also have old IPSW files cached somewhere (use a drive space visualization tool, such as WinDirStat, to locate these, as they're usually several hundred MB in size).

As bmike also said, you should be able to restore a backup made on iOS 6 to iOS 7, so that makes the entire problem moot anyways.


You can't. Apple does not sign any iOS 6 version for that device anymore. ANY iOS 6 and 7 version before 7.1.1 does have SERIOUS security flaws. So you should upgrade to the latest iOS version no matter what! You can use your backup from iOS 6 to get your data and settings back with ease.


I don't know how but, my 4s was 7.1.1 and 7.1.2 was already out. however i had the 7.1.1 firmware and held shift to select it and somehow it allowd me to restore to 7.1.1 without giving me errors to update to 7.1.2.

  • 1
    Did you do this just as 7.1.2 came out? It can take a few hours for Apple's changes to propagate.
    – grg
    Jul 25, 2014 at 16:46

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