How to Upgrade to iOS 9 (And Revert To iOS 8 If You Don’t Like It)

With iOS 9 rolled out, and there are still those who have not upgraded to the new operating system. For those who are not aware of what the iOS 9 brings to your iPad, iPhone, and iPod, you’re missing out on a barrage of new features which will definitely be to your liking.

Yes, we recommend upgrading to it, but if you somehow find your phone slower and more difficult to work with, you could revert back to iOS 8 – though the window for doing so is relatively thin. We’ll tackle how to do that later on.

Anyway, if you haven’t upgraded to iOS 9 since you don’t know how to, this guide will help you out:

First, learn if your device is compatible

Not every Apple device is compatible with the iOS 9. If your trusty iPhone, iPad, or iPod isn’t in this list, kiss your chances of having the new operating system goodbye.


  • iPhone 4s,
  • iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus

Note: the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will come pre-installed with iOS 9.


  • iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4
  • iPad Air, iPad Air 2
  • All iPad mini models

Note: the iPad Pro, set to be released on November, will be equipped with iOS 9.

iPod Touch

  • iPod Touch 5 and 6

Before you upgrade, back up your data

You can do this via iCloud or iTunes. Though you might consider this a waste of precious minutes, it’s a must if you don’t want your files to be deleted and only contain a handful of pre-installed stock applications.

Via iCloud – simply go to “Settings”, then “iCloud”, and an alert option will automatically pop out and ask you if you want to initiate the backup process.

Via iTunes – make sure that your iTunes supports the current version. After inserting the cable, click on your device, open the Summary tab, and click the “Back Up Now” option in the Backups area.

Regardless of the backup method, all of your apps, photos, notes, and multimedia will all be reinstalled back to your phone after it configures everything.

Downloading and installing iOS 9

Once you’re done creating backups for your files, proceed to the moment you’ve been waiting for: the installation process. There are two ways to install the operating system, directly or by plugging it to iTunes.

Direct installation

If your battery is below 50%, plug it in since the process might gobble up your battery. After doing so, tap “Settings”, then “General”, then “Software Update”. The “Software Update” may have a notification badge next to it: even if it does not, go ahead and tap anyway. After which, a screen will appear asking you to install iOS 9. Go through the usual the “Install” button and wait.

iTunes on Mac

First off, connect your device to the Mac and launch iTunes. A few seconds after doing so, a popup asking you to install the operating system will appear. If it does not show up, click on your device’s icon, then click the “Summary” tab on the left. Finally, click on the “Update” button.

Going back to iOS 8

If you somehow end up not liking iOS 9, act fast: there is only a limited amount of time to go back to the iOS 8.4.1. Since iOS 9 is fairly new, there is a large chance it will be slow, buggy, and is in dire need to be refined. Some of the apps may even crash. If you need to revert back to the previous version, here’s what you need to do:

Find the .ipsw file

You need to have this file in order to go back to iOS 8. To find it, first go to the “Library” folder, then open the iTunes folder. Open the “iPhone Software Updates” folder and if you found a file with your device’s name and an .ipsw extension, then that’s your key to iOS 8. Move/copy the file to your desktop.

Installing iOS 8

After connecting your device and launching iTunes, click on your device on the upper right corner, and then the Summary tab. Hold the Option key on your Mac (alt on Windows) and pick Restore. A box will then appear: pick the .ipsw file on the desktop and click “Open”. You’ll then go back to having iOS 8 in a jiffy.

iOS 9 Issues

It’s highly recommended not to jump the gun and download iOS 9 immediately. In the initial release, errors and bugs are guaranteed – and this could slow down your device. The four year old iPhone 4s is among the devices which will definitely take a hit: its overall responsiveness has slowed down and it becomes a bit laggy after installing iOS 9 (based from my own personal experience). This was also noted by some bloggers as well.

Apple is expected to roll out an update to iOS 9 (which will likely be called iOS 9.1) which will likely eliminate some of the problems encountered in the initial version.

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