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I have an iPad 6 that I've held back to iOS 12 since it can sync with my iTunes on 10.10 Yosemite. I have a substantial and carefully curated music library.

I'm now upgrading to a newer computer running 10.14 Mojave (where I am stuck because I need 32-bit support for costly software and drivers for costly equipment I can't replace.) The computer can run 13.5 Ventura, but 10.14 is fine for my needs, and I don't want to break my workflow to reboot everytime I need to do a legacy thing.

10.14's iTunes unfortunately will only talk to iOS 15, not iOS 16 (or about-to-arrive iOS 17).

So here's my question. How do I get iOS 15 onto this iPad?

I have already downloaded the iOS 15.7 IPSW file from Apple, and placed it in my (Yosemite) iTunes' ~/Library/iTunes/Device Support/iPad Software Updates folder, and iTunes completely ignores it. Would it help to migrate my iTunes library to the computer running Mojave?

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  • It would "ignore" it anyway, that's not how updates via iTunes work. You would instead option-click the button and when the file picker displays, you would choose the IPSW file. But it won't apply, that device can run iOS 16 so there is no signed version of iOS 15 you can apply to it. Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 0:53
  • Mojave's iTunes [12.9.5.5] has no issues with iOS 16, though I can't check iPadOS 16.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 5:55
  • See also this Q&A which may invalidate my premise apple.stackexchange.com/questions/463410/… Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 18:10

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You cannot upgrade that iPad to iOS 15 (unless you have happened to have saved specific data from Apple in the past, which you likely didn't do, or you would have mentioned it).

Installing iPadOS requires the combination of that specific iOS version and that specific iPad to be cryptographically signed by Apple. Apple only creates signatures for very few iOS releases at a specific time - typically the very latest version supported on that hardware, or the very latest version and the version just before it.

So at this time, long after iOS 15 was superseded by newer versions that are available for your iPad model, it is no longer possible to upgrade to iOS 15.

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