Apple ends signing period for iOS 15.7, stopping downgrades from iOS 15.7.1

Following a move earlier this week by Apple to unsign iOS 16.0.3 about a week after launching iOS & iPadOS 16.1 to the general public, Apple on Friday appears to have also unsigned iOS & iPadOS 15.7 after subsequently releasing iOS & iPadOS 15.7.1 with bug fixes and security patches for the iPhone and iPad.

Downgrade iOS 15

Apple’s unsigning procedure prevents iPhone and iPad users from selectively downgrading or upgrading to deprecated firmware versions on their devices, generally because they’re outdated versions of iOS and iPadOS that have actively exploited security vulnerabilities. Those exploits can come by way of jailbreak tools, or worse, by hackers with malicious intent, but Apple doesn’t discriminate against the two because the company despises both.

In doing so, users can’t just open Finder or iTunes and either Option + click or Shift + click the restore button in the application to install the selected firmware, as it will throw an error message. This instead leaves users to non-traditional methods including FutureRestore for downgrades and DelayOTA for upgrades.

Attempting to block firmware downgrades and corralling users to the latest available version of iOS or iPadOS is a form of statistic manipulation on Apple’s behalf, as the company generally boasts about new firmware adoption at its keynote addresses in order to please shareholders. But what they don’t mention is how they don’t give users a choice, otherwise many would probably flock to older versions to enjoy the perks of jailbreaking where Apple falls short.

Jailbreaking aside, some people downgrade their device’s firmware for more legitimate reasons, such as to avert a new bug introduced in a software update. While such an idea may seem rare or unheard of given Apple’s extensive beta testing phases, they’re not unheard of. In fact, here are a few different examples where firmware downgrades could have helped users:

  • 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

We generally side with end users when it comes to firmware downgrades and wish that Apple would stop blocking them, but it doesn’t seem like the company has any willful intention of letting this happen without some form of government regulation forcing their hand. It’s sad that it comes down to this, but that’s the world we live in today.

If you’re ever interested in finding out which version(s) of iOS or iPadOS are being signed for your device, then you can head over to the insanely handy website to find out. You can also use our dedicated Downloads page to acquire any firmware file for any of your devices on demand.

Has the unsigning os iOS & iPadOS 15.7 affected you in any way? Let us know in the comments section down below.