How to downgrade iOS4 to 3.1.3 on iPhone 3G

Frankly, I think there needs to be a class actions suit against Apple- for making a software upgrade that you can’t *officially* revert from.

After “upgrading” to iOS4 my 3G iPhone bricked. Went into an infinite loop on sync- so that my contacts would never load- nor anything else.

To make matters worse- after a few tries- Apple Mobile Sync overwrote my immediate backup of data.

This nightmare started on Tuesday 22 July at 10am. I worked until 1:30 AM to try to restore. In the morning- I called Apple- and spent over 6+ hours on the phone with support. They told me there was no way to go back to iPhone 3.1.3 and restore my data from an older backup that I had from CC Cloner. The only hope was to get iOS4 to play nice with my phone and – then reinstall from iTunes- losing all settings, sms, etc.

From 9am to 11:30 pm I worked on my phone. They tried to tell me it was corrupt data in my Contacts- which I spent hours “grooming” and “cleaning”- yet- the reality is that same data had worked with my old OS- and it STILL worked with my iPad.

After watching many comments deleted on the Apple discussion forums- including people who said it was possible to do the downgrade- recovery- I found the right stuff.

Here are my steps:

Adapted from THANKS!

Step 1) Download iTunes 9.2 version (current version)

Step 2) Plug in the iPhone to PC/Mac

Step 3) Put the iPhone in DFU mode (MUST BE IN TRUE DFU MODE) Screen should be black but still be showing up in itunes with a warning “iPhone is detected in recovery mode” To go into DFU mode- press both buttons for exactly 10 seconds then release top- and hold the home button for exactly 10 seconds- screen will be black-

Step 4) Download a legit version of an older ipsw from Apple untouched,2_3.1.3_7E18_Restore.ipsw

Step 5) In iTunes- Option- click-restore on MAC, or Shift-click-restore on WIN for iPhone and select the Legit Apple firmware 3.1.3 you downloaded in step 4.

Step 6) Watch how Apple confirms that its legit Firmware your trying to restore to on their servers, (HAHA cause its Legit software from Apple so why wouldn’t they let you DOWN Grade to it) The Firmware then gets applied to your iPhone watch as the progress bar moves across and no error pop up.

Step 7) After the restore finishes you should be hit with a 1015 error. That’s expected. Your phone should be in Recovery mode now and iTunes will tell you to restore again. Click OK then hold option + click on restore again – this time you do not have to go into DFU mode – and navigate to the 3.1.3 FW.

At the end- you’ll get yet another 1015 error- you can ignore it.

Step 8) Success! You just took your iPhone3G from iOS4 to 3.1.3 Firmware!!!

Then do backup to your old data from an 3.1.3 backup- from time machine- or a CC cloner copy – hopefully you find it in the same place you have to place it:

put it in LIbrary/Application Support/Mobile sync on a Mac- (Sorry, I don’t know where it goes on a PC) The file will have a super funky name- looks like encrypted code

Do a restore.

The restore will take hours- but in the end- no brick. Hopefully I can save you some time.

Apple really needs to do two things: Make the process easy to revert- and to lock the backup from any major upgrade so you don’t lose it in the infinite loop that happened to a lot of people with this upgrade.

UPDATE: 25 JUN 2010 another option using another software tool, iRecovery: note- this was used with Beta’s of iOS4.

After my revert- I’m still running version 3.1.3 (7E18) and Modem Firmware 05.13.04 Supposedly- the modem firmware is what “can’t be downgraded” and won’t work- however, my 3g iPhone seems to be working fine (thankfully). I won’t upgrade again until ios4.0.1 is released.

UPDATE: Jun 27- here is an illustrated guide via LifeHacker:

and – btw- Apple support still won’t tell you this can be done.

28 Jun: a tip from Apple support forums if you want to be brave before iOS4.0.1 upgrade is up:

1. Full manual backup of iPhone (speed up by removing unnecessary app, music, video etc.)
2. Copy the backup from ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup to (very) safe place - this is for possible fail
3. Uncheck the Address Book sync in iTunes; select Removing contacts from iPhone
4. Sync; after sync the Contacts on the iPhone has to be empty; check it
5. Remove the previous backup and perform full manual backup again; this create fresh backup without data with contacts
6. Install iOS 4 via Restore procedure
7. Restore data from backup - this is THE moment! It should end this time without infinity loop
8. If restore from backup is OK, switch on the sync with Address Book in iTunes
9. Sync; after this sync the Contacts should be restored too

Update- 22 AUG 2010- Apple’s Steve Jobs supposedly says there will be a fix for iOS4 on the 3G

Here is a parody video- and, hey- at least his phone didn’t brick:

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