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How to go back to iOS 11 if the iOS 12 public beta isn't for you

A beta iOS can be rough, here's how to get back to stability.

After installing the iOS 12 beta, you may find yourself wishing you hadn't. The good news is you can go back to iOS 11 with a little bit of work. The bad news is you're probably going to lose some data.

What you need


A computer with iTunes will help you roll back to iOS 11.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

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 ($335 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

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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:

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.

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