How to switch from the iOS 16 beta to the public release

Are you done with iOS 16 beta and want to switch back to the official public release? While leaving the beta program is quick and easy, you might be stuck with beta software for some time. We walk you through your options.

Switch from iOS 16 beta to iOS 15 or iOS 16 public release

It can be tempting to install a beta version of iOS to have an initial peek at upcoming features, especially when brand-new software is being released, such as iOS 16, which offers a number of significant new features. But by definition, these pre-release versions of the operating system can be unstable and take a toll on the performance of your iPhone or iPad.

In that case, going from the iOS beta to a public release is the best solution to get things back to a stable state. But how do you go from iOS 16 beta to the public version of iOS 16?

In this post, we will detail a couple of ways how you can switch from an iOS beta to an official iOS release. These steps are identical for switching from iPadOS 16 beta to the public version of iPadOS 16.

Option 1: Downgrade to the latest public release of iOS

Probably the most common way of going at it is to downgrade the operating system to a previously released public version of iOS. For example, if you decided to play with the new iOS 16.1 beta and want out of it, you can always downgrade to the latest public version of iOS, which at the time of writing is iOS 15. (But a few days after iOS 16 is publicly released, Apple will stop signing iOS 15.)

In that situation, you should be ready to restore your iPhone and probably lose any data you have on it, such as your custom settings, email accounts, downloaded apps, etc. The reason you will likely lose all the new data is because iOS backups are not backward compatible with previous versions of the operating system. However, if you had created a backup before getting the beta version and archived that backup, then you can restore it.

How to downgrade from iOS 16 beta to the latest public version of iOS 15

1) First and foremost, make sure you back up your data, especially the most important ones, such as photos. Unless you use iCloud Photo Library or backed them up locally or via a cloud service, these photos will be lost. The same is true with much of your data, so make sure you back up your iPhone or iPad.

2) Download the latest public version of iOS available on your computer. You can find public releases of iOS on our Downloads page. From there, look for the latest iOS release for your specific device, and download the firmware to your desktop.

3) If you have Find My iPhone enabled on your device, go to Settings > Apple ID > Find My > Find My iPhone, and turn off Find My iPhone.

4) Launch Finder on your Mac (or iTunes if you are on Windows), plug your iPhone or iPad into your computer via the USB cable, and click on the iPhone tab to show general device information.

Select iPhone in Finder

5) Hold down the Option key of your Mac (or Shift key of your Windows computer), and click Check for Update. Make sure to hold down on the Option key (or Shift) while clicking Check for Update. This is a very important step.

6) A new window will appear, allowing you to select a specific firmware to downgrade to. In our case, we want to select the firmware version that we previously downloaded in step 2 above.

Select public version of iOS

7) iTunes will now restore your iPhone or iPad and install the latest official version of iOS available for your device.

8) Once the restore is complete, your iPhone or iPad will be running a clean operating system. From there, you will have to set it all up again. If you had made a backup of your device on that software version or an older one, you will be able to set up your iPhone or iPad from that backup. However, as mentioned before, you will not be able to restore the device using the backup you might have made from the beta version.

Depending on your available options, you will now have an iPhone or iPad running the latest public version of iOS.

Option 2: Update to official iOS 16 public release

This second option is probably easier, but it depends a lot on timing.

With this option, you can actually update from beta software to the public release of that software version. Are you lost yet? Let me take an example to illustrate the situation.

Let’s imagine you have downloaded the iOS 16 beta to your iPhone, and at some point in the future, Apple actually releases iOS 16 to the public. You will have the opportunity to update from beta to public release.

If you are on, say, iOS 16 beta 5, and Apple releases iOS 16 to the public, you will be able to update to that official version because it is a newer release.

In option 1 above, you were downgrading to a previous public version of the software because the current version of the beta you were running was not available to the public yet. In this option 2, because the public version of the beta software you are running is now available, you can update to it. Think of it this way:

  • Downgrade = go back
  • Update = go forward

That said, this method is particularly handy if you are running the iOS 16 beta 5 release, for example, and want to update to the standard public version of iOS 16 when it becomes available.

How to update from iOS beta to the newest public iOS release

1) On your iPhone or iPad running the beta software, go to Settings > General > VPN & Device Management > Profile. Tap the iOS 16 Beta Software Profile.

Remove iOS 15 beta profile

2) Tap Remove Profile. Enter your passcode to confirm the deletion. Your iPhone or iPad will reboot.

At this point, you are still running the beta software, but because you deleted the profile signing certificate, the device is not eligible anymore to receive beta updates.

3) On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > General > Software Update. If there is a software update available for your device, it will show up there, and if you go through with the update, you will then be downloading and installing the public iOS release.

As you can see, you do have a few options available depending on your situation. If you are running beta software and want to go back to an older official software version, then you will have to downgrade using method 1. If you are running the latest beta and want to get out of the beta and onto software versions equal to or above the beta version you are running, then updating using method 2 is your best bet.

And if you want to do the same thing with your Apple Watch, check out our article on how to switch from watchOS beta to the public release.

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