Enough with iOS 15 beta bugs. Here’s how to go back to iOS 14 right now

You can roll back to iOS 14 from the iOS 15 public beta. 

Patrick Holland/CNET

The iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 public betas have been out for a few weeks now, giving early adopters plenty of time to check out the new features. But as the name implies, beta software should be considered a work in progress, with features changing and sometimes breaking as Apple refines iOS 15 in preparation for its official release this fall. Apple typically releases an update every two weeks during the beta cycle; sometimes a release will fix bugs, other times it introduces new ones. 

Because it's unfinished, you're sure to continue to encounter bugs, poor battery life and other random issues.

I've been using the developer beta for over a month now, and I can personally attest to horrible battery life -- which is normal this early in Apple's beta release cycle. If you've taken the iOS 15 beta plunge only to decide that you can't live with a beta operating system on your iPhone or iPad, there's good news: You can go back to iOS 14.  Keep in mind, however, that reverting to the current official release will require you to factory reset your phone or tablet.

If you created a backup before joining the beta, you can use that to restore your iPhone or iPad, but any changes or new information since installing the beta will be lost.  With all of that out of the way, here's how to get out of the beta and back to a stable version of iOS. 

Now playing: Watch this: Installing (and uninstalling) Apple's iOS 15 public beta


How do I restore my iPhone or iPad to iOS 14?

In order to complete the uninstall process, you'll need a Mac or PC, the appropriate cable to connect your iPhone or tablet to the computer, and if you're on Windows, you'll need to install iTunes.  If you're on a Mac, make sure your Mac's software is updated by clicking on the Apple logo at the top of your screen, then selecting System Preferences > Software Update.

Start by connecting your phone or tablet to your computer, and then placing it in Recovery Mode. This will tell your computer that the connected device needs to have its operating system reinstalled. To enter receivers mode, you'll need to use the steps specific to your device listed below.

You'll know when you're in Recovery Mode when your device's screen is black and shows a cable pointing toward a MacBook.  When using the button combination below, your iPhone or iPad will restart during this process, but it's important that you don't let go of the button(s) until you see the recovery mode screen. If you let go too early, repeat the steps. 

  • If you have an iPhone 6S or older, an iPad with a home button or iPod Touch 6th generation or older, hold in the sleep/wake button and the home button at the same time until you see the Recovery Mode screen.
  • For an iPhone 7, 7 Plus or iPod Touch 7th generation, hold in the sleep/wake button and the volume up button at the same time until you see the Recovery Mode screen.
  • For iPhone 8 or later, quickly press the volume up followed by volume down buttons, and then hold in the side button until you see the recovery screen.
  • iPad Pro users will quickly press the volume-up, then the volume-down buttons, followed by holding in the top button until you see the recovery screen.

Hopefully you backed up your iPhone or iPad before installing iOS 15. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

When you put an Apple device into Recovery Mode, you'll see a prompt on your computer letting you know a device in recovery mode has been detected.

It will ask if you want to Restore or Update your device: Select Restore. Your computer will download and install the latest official version of iOS 14 on your device. (Currently iOS 14.6.) If you don't see a prompt, you'll need to open Finder (on a Mac) or iTunes (on a PC), select your device and then Restore.

If you're using the same computer where you created a backup of your phone or tablet before installing the beta, you'll be asked if you want to use that backup to restore your device after it's back on iOS 14. If you didn't create a backup, you'll have to start from a fresh install.  There's no shame in going back to iOS 14.

There are a ton of features we can't get enough of, and Apple keeps adding to them with regular updates.

My personal favorite are all of the hidden features we keep finding in iOS 14.

If you decide you want to take the beta plunge as the official launch gets closer, you can always do that, too.

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