PSA: to downgrade iOS11 public beta 1 to iOS 10.3.2, you must first go to iOS10.3.3 beta

I got the 10.5 inch iPad Pro recently and installed iOS11 on it. Feature-wise it’s great and really makes the new hardware shine but I wanted to go back to the shipping version of iOS because:

  • As is expected with the betas, the battery life took a hit — the official specs claim ~10h for the currently shipping iOS 10.3.2 but I was getting 5–6h. Worse, the Pencil’s battery life seemed to suffer as well.
  • While Apple’s own apps were remarkably stable, my experience with 3rd party app landscape was a bit more varied. It’s unfair to expect 3rd parties to get their house in order for a public beta that only a fraction of their audience will use.

In my enthusiasm to go to the public beta, I did not backup my iPad via iTunes. It’s the first thing I installed on the new iPad so there wasn’t much to back up anyway. So in order to go back to the currently shipping version of iOS, I put the iPad in the recovery mode and clicked the “Restore” button from iTunes. At this point iTunes would download the right iOS image for your device and restore it. However, in this case, after the restore finished, the iPad booted up in recovery mode again. Turns out, that in order to go to iOS 10.3.2, I first need to restore to iOS 10.3.3 beta. The iOS 10.3.3 beta image for your device can be downloaded from the Software Restore Images page (sign in required).

Also, you need to hold down the Alt/Option key when you click the “Restore” button in iTunes at which point it’ll ask you for the location of the 10.3.3 image.

The full instructions are clearly documented by Apple here:

Play close attention to the point 2 or you’ll be stuck in a recovery mode loop.

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