On Monday, Apple has pulled the signing plug on its iOS 9.3 firmware for its lineup of iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads.
As a result, downgrades through iTunes to iOS 9.3 are no longer possible, and there’s no way to upgrade specifically to iOS 9.3 from an earlier firmware.
Instead, users will be directed to install iOS 9.3.1 when restoring or updating their devices through iTunes.
Update: It seems that not all versions of iOS 9.3 have stopped being signed. It appears that iOS 9.3 is not being any longer for newer devices (i.e. iPhone 6s, iPad Air 2), but it is still being signed for older devices (ie. iPhone 5s).
Apple stops signing iOS 9.3
Typically, whenever Apple releases a new software version for its iPhones, iPod touches, or iPads, Apple gives it a couple of weeks and then calls its quits for the firmware version just before it.
In this case, iOS 9.3.1 is the latest firmware for iOS devices, and as a result, Apple has stopped signing iOS 9.3 after iOS 9.3.1 has been available to the public for just over two weeks.
iOS 9.3.1 was released as an update, both through iTunes and Over the Air (OTA), on March 31st to help fix a bug where users were experiencing a crashing bug that could render some devices unresponsive when opening certain web links in Safari.
This change affects everyone, as Apple has now made downgrades to iOS 9.3 impossible. Although it’s no big deal for most people, it does mean that anyone attempting a restore through iTunes will have to download and install iOS 9.3.1 instead.
What it means for jailbreakers
No jailbreak exists for any iOS firmware beyond iOS 9.1, so for anyone that was on iOS 9.2 or later, this change should not affect jailbreak eligibility in the future at all.
For those that lost their jailbreak on a firmware earlier than iOS 9.1, there would be no way to downgrade to a jailbreakable firmware anyhow, even prior to this change.
Conversely, it also means that those on a firmware prior to iOS 9.3 can’t upgrade to iOS 9.3 and will be forced to update to iOS 9.3.1 instead, which would really be a sad move if a jailbreak dropped in the future for iOS 9.3 only.
This means jailbreak teams are going to have to work to make a jailbreak tool that works with iOS 9.3.1 in addition to iOS 9.3, as many people are keeping up with iOS updates among the silence of the jailbreak community.
It is also worth noting Apple has iOS 9.3.2 in the pipeline, which will also need to be considered for any potential future jailbreak tools.
It’s nothing to panic over, but iOS 9.3.1 is now the only firmware you can restore your latest iOS devices to through iTunes.
You can continue to check and see whether or not a certain firmware is being signed for your device by using IPSW.me, a handy web-based tool that lets you check to see whether you can restore back to a certain firmware. You can also check your jailbreak eligibility from the jailbreak section of our site.
Did you have any intention of downgrading/upgrading to iOS 9.3 for any reason? If so, tell us why below.