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Recently I upgraded my iPad 2 from iOS 7 to iOS 9 which made it slower and buggy (apps frequently crashing). I have regretted ever upgrading to iOS 7 let alone iOS 9. Recently I found some sites (eg this one) which offer ways to do exactly what I want: get my iPad 2 back to iOS 6.

(I'm not sure what sites / instructions to trust but I do generally trust StackExhange advice. I am concerned what the effect would be downloading software from some of these sites.)

A few parameters:

  1. I don't have backups (eg SHSH)
  2. I would prefer to keep some data (eg saved games)
  3. Idiot proof instructions would be a huge plus
  4. I am prepared to jail break as part of the procedure but want to be left with an unbroken iPad

Can anyone tell me a fool-proof and trustworthy way to downgrade?

Edit, why I don't think this is a dupe: I don't think that is a duplicate because there the answer to that general question is that it is no longer possible. But this specific case does appear to be possible in light of recent developments. Plus one answer mentions many devices but not the iPad 2. Finally, that same answer has SHSH as a pre-requisite, my question excludes that.

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  • @Tetsujin: I don't think that is a duplicate because there the answer to that general question is that it is no longer possible. But this specific case does appear to be possible in light of recent developments. – Wikis Feb 6 '16 at 16:54
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    I'm the downgrade info guy from the "possible duplicate" question. You can use OdysseusOTA to do what you want but ONLY if you're jailbroken. If you're not, then you can't. Simple as that. And only iOS <= 9.0.2 can be jailbroken currently. Read my answer on that question for more information about OdysseusOTA. I would argue that this question is an exact duplicate of the other question since I already go over this information there. All tools that claim to be able to downgrade are simply forks of Odysseus. Odysseus is the only tool that can do such things at this time. – Andrew Larsson Feb 15 '16 at 22:18
  • @AndrewLarsson That comment really needs to be an answer proper to this. Great info and then linking back to the main post. +1 for the excellent work here. – bmike Feb 16 '16 at 0:35
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Apple is currently signing iOS 6.1.3 for the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. Simply download the appropriate IPSW and Shift+Restore (Option+Restore on MacOS) in iTunes. The signing status of iOS 6.1.3 for these two devices is unlikely to change because they are installed with iOS 5 out of the box. iOS 5 on these devices cannot update over-the-air to any iOS above 6.1.3 due to some technical limitation. So the update path for an out-of-the-box device over-the-air is iOS 5 -> iOS 6.1.3 -> latest iOS.

Note: At the time I answered, only the OTA for 6.1.3 was signed (because the limitation doesn't exist when updating through IPSWs). For some unknown reason, Apple now signs the IPSW for 6.1.3 (perhaps to be consistent). I don't know when this changed and I cannot find any information about it. The whole reason OdysseusOTA exists is because only the OTA used to be signed. Below you can find my original answer according to the circumstances of early 2016.


The lowest version you can go with an iPad 2 and without SHSH blobs is iOS 6.1.3. This is because Apple still signs OTA (over-the-air) iOS firmware for this version. You can use OdysseusOTA to downgrade to this version, but only if you're jailbroken. If you're not, then you can't. And only iOS <= 9.0.2 can be jailbroken currently. Read my answer on this question for more information about OdysseusOTA.

All tools that claim to be able to downgrade are simply forks of Odysseus and/or its process. Odysseus is the only tool that can do such things at this time.

For a video explaining how to use OdysseusOTA, watch this YouTube video from its author.

  • Can I back up files eg saved games and then restore them, will that work? – Wikis Feb 16 '16 at 18:20
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    No, you cannot. The backups only work going forward in versions, not backwards. Even if you edit the backup to claim that it's for iOS 6.1.3, the backup will likely fail. You are welcome to try this method, but there are absolutely no guarantees about any part of such process. – Andrew Larsson Feb 16 '16 at 19:10
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    Remember to take into consideration the fact that many apps no longer support iOS 6. Most now require at least iOS 7, or in some cases, iOS 8. – CSstudent Feb 16 '16 at 19:28
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I found the answer via this video. No Jailbreak is necessary.

I have added instructions below using italics where it differs from the video.

  1. Back up anything you wish to keep; this will (unfortunately) wipe the iPad. (The easiest way to back up photos on a PC is to unplug and replug in your iPad to your PC; this will then allow you to browse to your photos on your iPad using Windows Explorer.)
  2. Go to ipsw.me (not ipsw.me.com as in the video).
  3. Choose the iOS download which you need for your device (there are three different ones for iOS6). If you are not sure which one you want, you can enter your device serial number here and that will tell you which one to download.
  4. On your PC, start iTunes.
  5. If you have previously connected your PC to your iPad, you may need to cause your iTunes to forget your iPad to continue1.
  6. In iTunes, press the little iPad button: Little iPad button in iTunes
  7. Then (on a PC) hold down Shift as you press Restore iPad.... This will open a file browser dialog in which you can select the file you downloaded, above. (According to the video, on a Mac you should hold the Option key instead of Shift.) Then this happy message will appear: Restore iPad to iOS 6.1.3
  8. No further user interaction is necessary; you just need to wait 10-20 minutes during which the iPad will restart.
  9. When the iPad restarts it will be in the iOS you selected (in my case 6.1.3). You will need to answer the new iPad setup questions.

Note: you will need to reinstall apps since they are all deleted. Some apps can be reinstalled (they may give you the option to download an older, compatible version). Many apps require a later iOS and therefore cannot be reinstalled.

1 I will try to make this step more clear later.

  • At the time I answered, only the OTA for 6.1.3 was signed. Apple now signs the IPSW for 6.1.3. I don't know when this changed. The whole reason OdysseusOTA exists is because only the OTA used to be signed: theiphonewiki.com/wiki/OdysseusOTA – Andrew Larsson Oct 9 at 23:24

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