In a routine move by Apple on Thursday, the Cupertino-based tech company stopped signing the iOS 12.2 firmware for its mobile lineup of devices, a move that hinders the iTunes-centric downgrade process to any firmware older than the recently-released iOS 12.3 update.
Apple first released iOS 12.2 nearly two months ago, and iOS 12.3 has been publicly available for a little longer than a week at the time of this writing. Given the circumstances, Apple’s decision to discontinue downgrades to iOS 12.2 isn’t particularly surprising.
There are several legitimate reasons why someone would want to downgrade their iPhone or iPad’s firmware version, such as disliking a change in the operating system or reverting to a stable release if the newer one is buggy. Those reasons aside, the most popular reason to downgrade an iOS device’s firmware is to make it more susceptible to exploits for the jailbreaking process.
Apple prides itself in providing a secure software and hardware experience, and so it should come as no surprise to anybody that Apple prefers not to leave its handsets open to exploits. By refusing to sign older firmware, Apple compels the bulk of its user base to upgrade to a newer, more secure firmware when restoring via iTunes.
This can be particularly irritating to jailbreakers, especially since newer firmware versions tend to patch the exploits used by hackers to achieve root access and tweak injection. On the other hand, this is mainly why prominent hackers in the jailbreak community frequently advise everyone to stay on the lowest possible firmware and avoid software updates.
In this particular scenario, the jailbreak community doesn’t lose out on much. Neither iOS 12.2 or 12.3 were jailbreakable, and the latest jailbreak tools only support up to iOS 12.1.2 at the time of this writing.
As always, you can track which versions of iOS are being signed for your device from the ever-so-useful IPSW.me website. You can also download relevant firmware files from the downloads page on iDownloadBlog.
Which version of iOS are you currently using and why? Let us know in the comments section below.