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Apple stops signing iOS 16.3 following iOS 16.3.1 release

Published Feb 21st, 2023 6:48AM EST
iOS 16.3
Image: Apple Inc.

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With iOS 16.3.1 now available, Apple stopped signing iOS 16.3 to all users. This comes after the latest software version for iPhone users corrected several bugs affecting the latest major update. That said, it also means you can no longer downgrade to an older iOS 16 build version if you are experiencing any bug or unreliability – depending on your phone, you can downgrade to iOS 15 or download the public beta of iOS 16.4.

With iOS 16.3, Apple launched Advanced Data Protection in more countries. This feature expands the number of iCloud data categories protected using end-to-end encryption to 23 – including iCloud Backup, Notes, and Photos.

In addition, this update also brought physical Security Keys for Apple ID. With that, users can strengthen the security of their accounts by requiring a physical security key as part of the Two Factor Authentication sign-in process on new devices. 

One of the reasons why Apple stops signing older versions of iOS, such as iOS 16.3, is to prevent people from jailbreaking their iPhones and iPads. Although there’s no sign of any jailbreak tools for iOS 16 being developed for the new iPhones, it’s also a way to push users to stay up-to-date with Apple’s operating systems. That said, you can still downgrade to iOS 15 if you want.

Here’s how to downgrade from iOS 16.3 to iOS 15

Since Apple is not offering iOS 16 – nor iOS 16.3 – to several iPhone models, such as the iPhone 7, Apple is still releasing minor software updates to these older smartphones. Currently, iPhones that can run iOS 15 can support up to version 15.7.3, which you can use to downgrade from a device running iOS 16.

To do that, you must use a Mac or PC. It’s important to note that this isn’t the first time Apple has offered an older version for users to downgrade. Last year when the company released iOS 15, users could stay a little longer in iOS 14 by getting bug fixes and security patches.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.