Apple iOS 5 offers a number of killer new features including wireless synchronization, improved notifications, and web browser and camera improvements. Unfortunately the software isn’t really ready for public consumption just yet. But plenty of folks are trying out the beta, either by having signed up for developer accounts or by getting access to developer tools through some slightly shadier methods. Long story short, while you can test out iOS 5 by downloading the beta, there’s a catch: Apple doesn’t officially offer a way to downgrade to an earlier version of iOS.
That’s because if you’re running a beta version of iOS you’re supposed to be testing it for development purposes — presumably on a development device, not your primary phone. You also can’t downgrade from say, iOS 4.3 to iOS 4.2, because by the time new OS builds are released to the public Apple is convinced their stable enough that there’s no reason you’d want to downgrade. You’d also probably lose all the security fixes included in the latest build.
OK, that’s all well and good. But what happens when you do upgrade your primary phone or tablet to iOS 5 than then decide you want to downgrade until a more stable version is available? According to Apple you’re out of luck. But according to Funky Space Monkey, there’s a way to do it.
You’ll need to grab an IPSW file, TinyUmbrella, iTunes 10.5 beta, and a bit of patience. You’ll also probably wipe most of your data, so you’ll want to have a backup handy. But the upshot is that you’ll be back to the latest stable version of iOS that you’re comfortable using.
You can find step-by-step instructions at FSM.