While it’s usually pretty easy to upgrade from one version of iOS to the next as long as you have a supported device, Apple has never made it all that easy to downgrade to an earlier build. But iOS hackers have been offering tools for years that let you roll back after an update you’re not pleased with. But it looks like that could change with the launch of iOS 5.
The folks at the iPhone Dev Team have posted an article explaining that iOS 5 uses a different system of checks which will make the earlier downgrading methods obsolete. You can’t simply save the SHSH blobs from your device and use a third party utility to downgrade that same device anymore if you’re trying to downgrade, say, from iOS 5 beta 2 to iOS 5 beta 1.
That said, you will always be able to downgrade to iOS 4.x or earlier. So if you upgrade to iOS 5, don’t like it, and want to roll back, you can still use TinyUmbrella or a similar tool to do that.
It’s possible that hackers will figure out a way around Apple’s latest changes. But it’s unlikely that we’ll see anything released to the public until after iOS 5 graduates from beta testing.