Apple is no longer signing iOS or iPadOS 13.4.1 as of this evening, a move that prevents iPhone and iPad users from downgrading from the iOS and iPadOS 13.5 software updates that the Cupertino-based tech giant released to the general public just last week.
Downgrading iOS device firmware isn’t a common necessity, but it can be necessary if or when Apple releases a software update that introduces bugs or instability to its devices. This isn’t a particularly common thing to happen, but it did transpire last October when iOS 13.2 was found to be ‘too aggressive’ with backgrounding restrictions, compelling many users to downgrade until a software update could be released to fix the issue.
Perhaps the more common argument for downgrading stems from the jailbreak community, a subset of users who quite literally rely on the security holes discovered in older firmware releases to enjoy third-party hacks and extensions that otherwise wouldn’t be allowed to run on Apple’s platform.
In most cases, this news would be a real doozy for the jailbreak community, as closing a signing window traditionally prevents jailbreakers from enjoying a clean restore and re-jailbreak on their handset(s). On the other hand, the unfixable checkra1n jailbreak lets users of handsets as old as the iPhone 5s and as new as the iPhone X jailbreak for life, whereas the unc0ver jailbreak just picked up support for the current iOS and iPadOS 13.5 release for all other devices over the weekend.
Given the aforementioned circumstances, today’s news doesn’t impact the jailbreak community as much as it typically would, and if you’re any bit into jailbreaking as I am, then this is particularly good news for you.
While this continuous cycle of un-signing older firmware versions may seem unfair to users on Apple’s part, it’s worth mentioning that Apple bears the sole responsibility of keeping its users safe from hackers that want to exploit these bugs for malicious purposes. We’ve seen just how easy it is to take control of our handsets through jailbreaking, and so that isn’t something we’d want to hand malicious hackers on a silver platter.
It should also be noted that compelling users to upgrade their firmware instead of restoring to an existing or older release is a great way for Apple to boost its software update adoption – these are numbers that Apple loves to flaunt in at its WWDC presentations, especially in comparison to software update adoption in the Android community.
As always, you can see what firmware versions are being signed for your iPhone or iPad with the handy IPSW.me online utility.
Are you disappointed that iOS iOS 13.4.1 isn’t being signed anymore? Let us know in the comments section below.