Apple has quickly corrected a mistake that allowed iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users to downgrade to older software versions on early Thursday.
The situation began on late Wednesday when Apple suddenly stopped signing all iOS versions for select devices, including the iPhone 4s and some very old iPad and iPod touch models, according to the website IPSW.me.
Next, it appears that when Apple went to flip the switch back on, it accidentally began signing several older software versions between iOS 6 and iOS 11.1.2 for any compatible iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models.
Not entirely sure why the signing window has opened for iOS 6–10 on various iOS devices, but not gonna complain. Have some iOS 6 pic.twitter.com/Ixfpn8waU6 — Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) January 11, 2018
Apple routinely stops signing older iOS versions, which effectively closes the window on downgrading. The company stopped signing iOS 11.1.2 in December, for example, while many older versions haven't been signed in years. Yet, suddenly, users found themselves able to downgrade to over five year old software.
Many users turned to Reddit to discuss the bizarre turn of events, which transpired briefly during the early morning hours in the United States.
I literally ran into my parents room to grab my dad's poor old iPhone 5s and iPad mini 2, both of which were suffering on iOS 11. Now I managed to downgrade them to iOS 7.1.1. I then downgraded my old iPhone 5 to iOS 7.1.1 as well and now my iPhone 7 to iOS 10.3 to jailbreak. I'm so happy right now!
While some users rushed to downgrade for the nostalgic factor, the mishap provided others with an iPhone 6 or newer a brief opportunity to revert to iOS versions that aren't affected by Apple's power management changes introduced in iOS 10.2.1 and/or iOS versions that have a publicly released jailbreak.
Apple has yet to comment on the matter.