I have two iPhone 8,

  • src: iOS13.6.1. ( I will not update to latest iOS for some softwares only works in this version)

    backed up to my Macbook(Catalina 10.15.7).

  • dst: iOS12.4

    which is connected to my Macbook

I want to copy src to dst exactly, without updating iOS version of either side.

When I restore the dst iPhone with the backup of src iPhone, it failed with error like "the backup is not compatible, you need update the iOS".

It is a hassle to update the dst iPhone to 13.6.1 since it is not the latest version.

So I come to the "Recovery mode", I put the dst iPhone into "Recovery mode", then chose "Restore", however, this just meant restore to factory status.

I have tried to press the "Option" key while click the "Restore" button, it did show Finder and seemed allow me to choose file, but I could not choose the backup file of src iPhone (~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/...), I have tried all dirs and files, just were not accepted by the "Restore", the "OK" button was always grey color.

Can anyone help me to achieve my goal: How to copy a iPhone(iOS13.6.1) to another iPhone(iOS12.4) without updating iOS of either side to latest iOS?

  • You cannot restore an iOS backup to a version earlier than the version it was created from. In this case, the backup created with 13.6.1 is incompatible with 12.4 on the destination phone.
    – Ezekiel
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 1:51
  • @Ezekiel I can update dst iPhone to latest iOS, but I want all my iOS13 data be moved the dst iPhone, is it possible?
    – osexp2000
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 5:09
  • I have updated the dst iPhone to iOS15, but when I restore from the iOS13 data, the OS still be iOS15, and many apps just being downloaded from Apple Store without bringing their settings, really useless!
    – osexp2000
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 5:10
  • The backup does not include the operating system, which is why it stays as iOS 15. If you completed an encrypted backup, everything should be included. Did you set a password on the backup?
    – Ezekiel
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 14:09
  • Yes, I did set a password on the backup. The most frustrating thing is that some app settings were not restored regardless of that both were same os, same app versions. Here is what I did, updated the dst iPhone to latest iOS, updated all apps, then back up again. Then both iPhone became same iOS, same app versions. Then restore from that backup. Most apps lost settings, such as gmail, chrome, Authenticator, … I guess them are purposedly implemented to not reatore setteings inthis way.
    – osexp2000
    Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 1:12


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