How to downgrade from the iOS 11 beta to iOS 10

Finding too many bugs in this early iPhone software? You can run right back.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops | Desktops | All-in-one PCs | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
3 min read
Watch this: Downgrade from iOS 11 public beta to iOS 10

Of the iOS public betas I've used the past number of years, the iOS 11 public beta feels particularly buggy. Animations are choppy. Graphic elements are often broken. Apps frequently crash. 

In one frightening episode, my entire photo library disappeared after I took a video (thankfully, it began to restore itself before panic set in). 

If you've had enough of this early version of iOS 11 and want to go back to iOS 10, you can. Apple will send you back to iOS 10.3.3. You will need to perform a fresh install unless you have an archived backup in iTunes that you created prior to installing the beta. 

Read more: 

Option A: Return to archived backup of iOS 10

An archived backup is a backup that will not be overwritten by subsequent backups. It's too late if you have already installed the iOS 11 beta, but if you haven't, you can archive a backup of your device running iOS 10 by connecting your iPhone or iPad to your computer, opening iTunes and going to iTunes > Preferences and clicking on the Devices tab. 

Enlarge Image
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

You will see your device backups listed. Right-click on a backup on the list and choose Archive. Boom, your backup is now archived. This process is to be done prior to installing any beta software.

Option B: Wait it out

If you don't have an archived backup and don't want to go back to the factory-default settings, losing your data and settings in the process, then you could wait it out until iOS 11 arrives, which is set to launch this September (likely, but not confirmed). Updating the iOS 11 beta to the final build of iOS 11 when it's out will let you ditch the beta without ditching your data and settings.

How to restore your device to iOS 10

If you have an archived backup, then you can follow these steps to return to iOS 10:

  • Open iTunes and check to make sure you are using the most recent version by going to iTunes > Check for Updates.
  • Connect your iOS device to your computer and put it into recovery mode. For everybody but iPhone 7  and 7 Plus owners, press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons. Don't let up when you see the Apple logo, keep holding until the connect to iTunes logo appears. This means you've arrived at the start of recovery mode. For owners of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus phones, press and hold the Sleep/Wake and the volume-down buttons to put your phone into recovery mode.
  • An iTunes pop-up window will appear on your Mac or PC telling you that there's a problem with your device and will give you the Restore and Update options. Click the Restore button.
  • Next, click Restore and Update when iTunes asks if you are sure you want to restore your device to its factory-default settings. Your device will reboot and when it completes the restore process, you will be able to choose to set it up as a new device or choose a backup you created when you were previously running iOS 10. 
  • After your iPhone or iPad reboots, iTunes will welcome you to your newly restored device. Choose Restore from this backup, select your archived backup from the drop-down menu and click Continue. iTunes will then restore your device to an earlier, more stable point with iOS 10.3.3 with all of your previous settings, apps and data in tow.
  • itunes-restore-from-backup
    Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Editors' note: This story was originally published on July 8, 2017, and has since been updated with new information.

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