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IPSW restore tool

An IPSW restore tool is an application that lets you restore the IPSW files on an iOS device. An IPSW file is a file for iOS devices and is an Apple Device Software Update file which means it is the file responsible for the software version on your iOS devices. This means you can use the IPSW file to roll back updates or flash iOS on your iPhone. The tools required to do so are known as IPSW restore tools.

IPSW files are released by Apple via iTunes, but older versions can be downloaded and installed using other websites. If you have previously updated your iPhone via iTunes, then it will have been updated using an IPSW file.

You may have also heard of the term unsigned IPSW. These are IPSW files that could be thought to be “incomplete”. Unsigned IPSW files are missing a “signature” so every time you try to install new firmware on an iOS device using an unsigned IPSW via iTunes, iTunes will contact Apple servers and ask for approval of a signature. An unsigned IPSW will not get this approval so cannot be used.

There are many reasons why you might want to use an IPSW restore tool to get older features or switch to a more secure version of iOS. We won’t talk more about that and let’s start to know what the IPSW restore tool is and how to use it.

Restore iPhone IPSW using iTunes

iTunes is the only official method that you can use to restore IPSW files. Before outlining how you can use iTunes to restore IPSW on an iPhone, we will evaluate this method first. Using the restore function in iTunes will use a signed IPSW file. This means the file can be trusted and it comes directly from Apple. It is also verified with Apple before being restored so you can be sure that your phone is safe. iTunes is also free to download and available widely. This means you do not have to pay anything to restore your iPhone.

However, there are some downsides to using iTunes to restore IPSW on your iPhone. For example, iTunes is not the most intuitive software to use, so you cannot find the function of IPSW restore directly. You also cannot use unsigned IPSW files with iTunes since iTunes will reject the file and not allow it to be restored to your iPhone. Some users have reported that iTunes occasionally crashes when it is being used to restore the IPSW, especially if their iPhone is older.

To use iTunes to restore IPSW on your iPhone, or other devices such as an iPad and iPod touch, you will need to download a signed IPSW file from an online website. There are many sites available, such as www.IPSW.me. Once you have located the correct IPSW file for your device, download it and store it at the location that you can easily find. After that, follow the steps below.

  1. Download and install the latest version of iTunes on your PC.
  2. Launch iTunes on your PC and connect your iPhone to your PC via its data transfer cable.
  3. Choose to trust the device if prompted.
  4. Locate your iPhone in iTunes, which is usually represented by a phone symbol in the left top corner, and click on it.
  5. You will see Update and Restore iPhone now. If you don’t want to lose the data on your device, choose Update at the next step. If you want to restore your iPhone to factory settings, choose Restore iPhone.
  6. Hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click Update or Restore iPhone button if you are using Windows. Press the Option key instead if you are using Mac.
  7. Locate your downloaded IPSW file and open it through iTunes.
Use iTunes to install IPSW

Once you have waited for iTunes to restore that IPSW file on your iPhone, you will be able to set up your phone and use it.

Additional Tip

If iTunes doesn’t work smoothly during the process, you can try a third-party tool – iMobie AnyFix to restore the IPSW file. AnyFix offers 3 modes. If you want to install the IPSW files on your iPhone without losing any data, choose the first mode -Standard Repair. If you don’t want to keep the data, just choose either of the other two modes.

iMobie AnyFix interface 2

When you are on the screen below, you will see the option to upload your IPSW file. Then the tool will do the rest job after you upload it to AnyFix.

Upload firmware to AnyFix

Restore Unsigned IPSW without iTunes

As explained before in this article, an unsigned IPSW is missing a signature so it can be seen as incomplete. However, there are ways to restore your iPhone using an unsigned IPSW if you would like to do so. This is a complicated method and it may not work for newer iOS versions and iPhone models. You should only do this if you trust the file and you are experienced with iPhones and technology in general because sometimes it will brick your iPhone.

If you still want to have a try, we recommend that you backup your iPhone first and then you can refer to this video guide.

FAQs about IPSW Restoration

Q1) Which IPSW files are signed by Apple?

Generally, Apple is signing the latest version of IPSW files, unlike previously when they signed a few older versions too. However, the closest version prior to the latest version will be available for a few weeks when they have just released the latest version.

Q2) Will IPSW remove the iCloud activation lock on my iOS device?

IPSW restoration does not remove the iCloud activation lock on your iOS device.

Q3) Which Apple devices will IPSW restoration via iTunes work on?

IPSW restoration should work on almost any iOS and iPadOS device, including older iPhones such as the iPhone 5.


This article has introduced an IPSW restore tool and has also shown you two different ways you can restore your iPhone using IPSW files. We recommend you only use the first method if you are not experienced with technology since you risk bricking your phone with the second method. The iTunes method can be used by a majority of people. We hope this article has been informative to you.

Joel Wilson

Joel Wilson

Joel is a fan of technology. He uses both iPhone and Android phones. Being interesting in exploring new features, he likes to share his experiences on how to use the devices in a better way. Because of his enthusiasm for technology, he becomes an "expert" to fix problems with phones and computers.

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