Apple stops signing iOS 14.4.2, preventing downgrades from newer firmware

After officially launching the highly anticipated iOS & iPadOS 14.5 update a week ago with support for Face ID authentication while wearing a mask and 5G connectivity whilst utilizing dual SIM mode among other things, it should come as no surprise to anyone that nearly one week later the Cupertino-based company is pulling the plug on the previous iOS & iPadOS version — 14.4.2.

Apple’s decision to stop signing iOS & iPadOS 14.4.2 means that iPhone and iPad users will be unable to downgrade to this particular version of Apple’s mobile operating systems under most circumstances, with the lone exception being that users have their .shsh2 blobs saved from a time when that firmware was being signed.

Many question why Apple stoped signing older versions of iOS and iPadOS, as it should be the user’s choice to install whatever firmware they want on a device they own much like you can perform a factory restore on a PC to return to the original software it shipped with.

The primary reason for the aforementioned circumstances is apparent: downgrading makes jailbreaking more accessible because jailbreaks typically support older versions of iOS and iPadOS. Apple doesn’t want users to jailbreak, so blocking downgrades makes this much more difficult for the masses. But other reasons for unsigning older versions of iOS and iPadOS also exist, such as ensuring that users are taking advantage of the latest features and are protected by the latest security patches to name a few.

It’s worth noting, however, that the latest jailbreak(s) for all devices can only pwn handsets running up to and including iOS & iPadOS 14.3, so the change doesn’t affect jailbreakers all that much this time around. Older devices with A7-A11 chips ranging from the iPhone 5s to the iPhone X can jailbreak any installed version of iOS or iPadOS with the checkra1n jailbreak, which is powered by the unpatchable hardware-based checkm8 bootrom exploit.

Still, jailbreaking isn’t the only reason why an iPhone or iPad user might want to downgrade their firmware. In some instances, software updates introduce bugs that can make day-to-day usage burdensome on users. A fine example is when Apple released iOS & iPadOS 13.2, in which the operating system handled backgrounded apps too aggressively, resulting in unwanted interruptions to backgrounded processes. Under circumstances like these, downgrading a device’s firmware can offer temporary refuge until Apple can release a software update to resolve the problem.

It’s unlikely that Apple will ever intentionally open the floodgates for unlimited firmware downgrading, so those who’d like to know what particular version(s) of iOS or iPadOS are being signed for their device can visit the handy website to find out. Furthermore, all versions of iOS and iPadOS are available on our downloads page.

Are you sad to see that downgrades below iOS & iPadOS 14.5 are no longer possible? Let us know in the comments section down below.