Apple unsigns iOS 16.0.3 following iOS 16.1 launch, halting firmware downgrades

Apple has stopped signing iOS 16.0.3 on Monday following the official public release of iOS & iPadOS 16.1 just over a week ago.

iOS 16 firmware downgrade

This move on the Cupertino-based tech giant’s part prevents ordinary iPhone users from downgrading from the newer firmware using ordinary means through Finder on macOS or iTunes on Windows.

While the traditional methods above are now barred from use, it’s important to note that non-traditional downgrade methods like FutureRestore with saved SHSH blobs still works whole non-traditional upgrade methods like DelayOTA also work. The latter method lets someone using a firmware older than iOS 16.0.3 to install it without being pushed to install iOS 16.1.

Apple’s unsigning of older firmware is nothing new; in fact, it has become something of a ritualistic practice by the company ever since jailbreaking came to be. By preventing firmware downgrades, Apple can prevent more people from installing exploitable firmware, which is a user control game for the company.

Apart from this, Apple benefits from blocking downgrades by artificially boosting new firmware adoption stats that please the company’s shareholders. It also helps to ensure that most users are taking advantage of the latest features and security patches, which keeps users safe from potential hacks in the wild.

But jailbreaking aside, some iPhone and iPad users choose to downgrade their firmware for other reasons, be it personal preference or to avert bugs introduced by newer firmware releases. The latter has happened a number of times in recent memory, including the following notable instances:

  • iOS 16.0 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 takes a firm stance on the right to install any firmware you want on your iPhone, but despite Apple’s disagreement with that concept, governments tend to lean in the peoples’ favor on this one. With that said, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a future law or court order barring Apple from blocking users’ attempts to install their preferred firmware version, but this means waiting for the right challenge to Apple’s policies to pop up.

If you’re interested in seeing what version(s) of iOS and/or iPadOS are being signed for your device(s), then you can head over to the online utility to find that information. You may also utilize our Downloads page to acquire any firmware file you might need for your device(s).

Are you upset to see Apple unsigning another older iPhone firmware? Discuss in the comments section down below.