Earlier this month Apple released iOS 12.3.2, a firmware update with a fix for the Portrait mode feature on the iPhone 8 Plus. Because the patch was aimed squarely at the 8 Plus, it was only released for that handset, which has left users that have moved to new iPhones unable to restore from their backups.
The problem with iOS 12.3.2
Put simply, iTunes/iCloud can’t restore from a newer firmware version. The problem is 12.3.2 is the newest (non-beta) version of iOS out right now, and it’s only available for the iPhone 8 Plus. So if you backed up your data on an 8 Plus running 12.3.2, and then upgraded to a new iPhone or simply switched to a different model, you’re going to get an error when trying to restore. iOS 12.3.1 is the latest update available for all of Apple’s other handset models.
Solutions to restoring
Speaking with Apple Support, it sounds like the company’s stance on this is for users hit by the restore issue to just sit tight. The next iOS update released will obviously be newer than 12.3.2, and thus fix the problem. But if you can’t wait that long, we thought it’d be worth pointing to a few workaround options that may be helpful.
One option would be to install a beta version of iOS. I know, I know, we usually tell readers not to install beta software on their main devices, but if you’re really desperate it’s worth a shot. There are two beta cycles going right now, iOS 12.4 and iOS 13, and both have public testing versions available. I’m using iOS 13 on my daily driver and it’s been fairly reliable for me, but if you’re worried about it just go with iOS 12.4. It’s a much smaller update, and it’s already in its fifth version. You can find a quick and easy guide to joining Apple’s public beta testing group here.
The other option doesn’t require you to install pre-release software, but it is a little more involved. We came across it on an Apple Support forum thread devoted to the issue, and it requires you to edit a .plist file on your computer. I can’t confirm that this works, as I don’t have an iPhone 8 Plus to test it out with. But other users in the thread marked it as ‘Helpful,’ so you might want to check it out.
Admittedly this issue has likely only affected a handful of users, but after seeing hundreds of people inquiring about it with us and around the web, we thought we should provide some possible fixes. It’ll also be interesting to see if Apple continues to offer one-off updates for standalone device models in the future, after seeing the [minor] problems this can cause.
Have you been affected by the iOS 12.3.2 restore issue? Did either of these workarounds help?