Apple just last week released iOS & iPadOS 14.4 to the general public with new features, bug fixes, and niche improvements, and as you might come to expect from the Cupertino-based tech company after having released a software update, the previous iOS & iPadOS 14.3 firmware is no longer being signed.
Apple closed the iOS & iPadOS 14.3 signing window just this evening, a move on the company’s behalf that prevents iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users from being able to downgrade their handset’s firmware from the newer iOS & iPadOS 14.4 release. This should come as no surprise to anyone, as Apple generally follows this rhythm of signing and un-signing after each software update it launches, no matter how large or how small.
By blocking downgrades to older versions of iOS & iPadOS, Apple effectively regulates which firmware its users can download and install on their individual handsets. This helps Apple ensures that its users are taking advantage of the latest bug fixes and improvements, as well as important security patches that prevent malicious hackers from exploiting personal data.
For the most part, the jailbreak community pays more attention to whether a particular firmware version is being signed or not than anyone else does, and this is because jailbreak tools tend to exploit bugs in older firmware. In this instance, neither iOS or iPadOS versions 14.3 or 14.4 are specifically vulnerable to any one jailbreak tool. Instead, only certain devices susceptible to the hardware-based checkra1n jailbreak can be pwned on these versions of iOS & iPadOS, so the jailbreak community isn’t missing out on much with this particular un-signing cycle.
Jailbreaking aside, another reason someone may want to downgrade their handset’s firmware is when a software upgrade introduces an unbearable bug that hinders usage. A prime example involved iOS & iPadOS 13.2, which made background memory handling on Apple’s mobile platforms so aggressive that it would inadvertently force-quit backgrounded apps and media playback on users without their permission.
Apple takes great pride in corralling users into using the latest and greatest firmware for their devices. Not only does it give them the peace of mind that their users’ personal data will be protected from hackers, but it also provides the company something to show for when executives take the stage during Keynote presentations to share iOS software update adoption compared with the competition. Not that users have much of a choice…
If you’re ever curious as to what version(s) of iOS or iPadOS are being signed for your particular device, then you can visit the handy IPSW.me website to find out. Simply click on your device from the list to see a list of signed firmware.
Has the unsigning of iOS & iPadOS 14.3 affected you in any way? Be sure to let us know down in the comments section below.