Apple no longer signing iOS 16.0.2, blocking downgrades from iOS 16.0.3

Apple just last week released iOS 16.0.3 to address a multitude of bugs affecting various handsets in the iPhone 14 lineup. And as expected, the company is now leveraging its firmware signing mechanism to stop downgrades to the previous iOS 16.0.2 firmware.

iOS 16 firmware downgrade.

By unsigning iOS 16.0.2, iPhone users are no longer able to use Finder on macOS or iTunes on Windows to downgrade from the newer iOS 16.0.3 firmware. Despite this, less traditional methods to upgrade or downgrade to the now-unsigned firmware still work, including DelayOTA and FutureRestore, just to name a couple.

This predictable behavior on Apple’s part makes it more challenging for users to have any choice in the version of firmware that their device runs unless they explicitly go out of their way to avoid software updates, which many jailbreakers and prospective jailbreakers do. That’s because it’s typically older firmware that contains the bugs and security holes necessary for jailbreak tools to exploit.

Apple has a lot to gain from blocking users from downgrading their firmware, such as ensuring that users always take advantage of the latest and greatest firmware and that the company pleases company shareholders like seeing impressive adoption numbers after Apple drops a major software update.

But jailbreaking alone is a far cry from the only reason why users might stay on a lower firmware or avoid software updates. For example, Apple sometimes pushes buggy firmware that necessitates further updates to fix, so a lot of users will actually avoid updates to ensure that they’re on a stable firmware.

Examples of buggy firmware released in the not-too-distant past include the following:

  • iOS 16 over-prompting users on clipboard access when pasting copied content into another app
  • iOS 14.7 breaking the Apple Watch’s ability to be unlocked with the host iPhone’s Touch ID sensor
  • iOS & iPadOS 13.2 imposing incredibly aggressive background management on backgrounded apps

iDB is always vocal when it comes to the concept of user choice, and that’s one of the chief reasons why we would like to see Apple let users choose which firmware they want to run on their iPhone or iPad. Regardless of our position, it’s clear from Apple’s hostility toward user choice that this won’t happen any time soon.

As always, you can see what version(s) of iOS or iPadOS are being signed for your device(s) at the online utility. We also have any firmware you could possibly need for any of your devices on our Downloads page.

Are you upset to see that iOS 16.0.2 is no longer being signed, be sure to let us know in the comments section down below.