What you need
You will need access to a computer with the latest version of iTunes and a Lightning cable, along with about an hour of your time (depending on the speed of your internet connection).
If you created an encrypted iTunes backup of your device before upgrading to iOS 12, you'll want to use the same computer to restore your device to iOS 11.
If you didn't create an iTunes backup of your device before installing iOS 12, odds are that you'll need to restore your iPhone ($930 at Amazon) as a new device. iCloud backups aren't backward compatible, meaning you can't downgrade to iOS 11 and use an iCloud backup created with iOS 12 to get your apps, messages and photos back.
The restoration process
Connect your iOS device to a computer with iTunes open. Once you've authorized the computer to recognize your iOS device, put the device into recovery mode. The process involves holding in some buttons until the device restarts, but not letting go until you see an iTunes logo on the display of the device. Here are the button combos you need to know:
- iPhone 6S ($319 at Walmart) and earlier, iPad ($280 at Amazon), iPod touch: Press and hold the home button and the sleep/wake button.
- iPhone 7 ($371 at Walmart) and iPhone 7 Plus ($420 at Amazon Marketplace): Press and hold the sleep/wake button and the volume down button.
- iPhone X, iPhone 8 ($600 at Walmart), : Press and release the volume up, followed by the volume down button, then press and hold the sleep/wake button.
Once the iTunes logo appears on the device's screen, an iTunes popup on the computer will let you know a device in recovery mode has been discovered and ask if you want to Restore or Update the device. Select Restore to begin the download process.
If the download takes too long and your iOS device restarts itself to exit recovery mode, repeat the above steps and select Restore again. If you made a back up of in iTunes, select it from the list of backups to complete the restoration process. If not, then select set up device as new.
: Check out a sampling of the stories you'll find in CNET's newsstand edition.
CNET Smart Home: We transformed a real house into a test lab for the hottest category in tech.