Oct. 3, 2013
Millions of people upgraded to iOS 7 within a week or two of Apple releasing it in Sept. 2013. Many people were thrilled by the new features and new design. Another group, however, hated the upgrade. If you're among the people unhappy with iOS 7, you may be wondering if there's a way to uninstall iOS 7 and return to iOS 6. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to downgrade iOS 7.
In order to understand why there's no way to downgrade from iOS 7 to iOS 6, you need to first understand something about how Apple distributes the iOS.
During the process of installing a new version of the iOS on your device--whether that's a major upgrade like iOS 7, or a minor update like iOS 6.0.2--the device connects to Apple's servers. It does this so it can check to make sure that the OS you're installing is "signed," or approved, by Apple. This is a very important step, because it ensures that you're installing a legitimate, official, secure version of the iOS and not something that is malfunctioning or has been tampered with. If Apple's servers confirm that the version you're trying to install is signed, all is well and the upgrade continues. If not, the installation can't continue.
This step is so crucial because if Apple stops signing its OS updates, then you won't be able to install the unsigned versions. That's what the company has done with iOS 6.
Whenever it releases a major new version of the OS, Apple continues to sign the previous version for a short period of time to allow people to downgrade if they prefer. In this case, Apple was signing both iOS 7 and iOS 6 for a little while, but stopped signing iOS 6 in Sept. 2013. This means that you can't install iOS 6 any longer on any devices.
What About Jailbreaking?
But what about jailbreaking, some of you may be asking. If my device is jailbroken, can I downgrade?
The quick answer, as of this writing, is no. This is because there is no jailbreak for iOS 7 right now. If one is eventually released, it may be possible to downgrade. That said, Apple has been making life increasingly difficult for jailbreakers, and the process of jailbreaking and downgrading requires extensive technical knowledge, so don't count on this becoming an option.
So, unfortunately, if you're on iOS 7 and don't like it, there's not much that can be done. That said, people often object to the idea of change more than the change itself. IOS 7 is a big change from iOS 6 and will take some getting used to, but give it some time. You may find that in 6 months the things you don't like about it now are familiar and no longer bother you.