iPhone OS 4 beta to 3.1.3 downgrade: the long road back

Posted: April 11, 2010 in Apple, iphone, software
Tags: , , ,

Thanks to a very generous friend i know from Twitter, I had the opportunity to try out the first Developer Beta of the next iPhone OS and so, like any geek worth his pocket protector, threw caution to the wind and jumped at the chance. Some of the new features are really wonderful to use and will make the iPhone experience that much better when the final release comes out.  For now though, there were a few minor glitches i found, mostly to do with certain apps not working which is expected since this is the first time developers are getting a chance to use the new OS.  Most apps worked, which is nice, and of the few that didn’t i could find ways around not having them available so it wasn’t a deal-breaker for me.  In fact it gave me the opportunity to give someone a heads-up that her app didn’t work in OS 4 so she could get her developer looking into it.  I played and tweaked screens and features happily while trying it out.  That was until another friend on twitter asked a simple question “is visual voicemail working for you?”

I hadn’t given it much thought, but as it turned out i had missed a call earlier that morning and got a message i had a voicemail, but nothing showed up.  I had chalked it to my daughter not leaving a message properly, but as I figured out after trying it myself, the voicemail was working fine but not being displayed on the iPhone.  This WAS a deal-breaker for me.  I tried resetting the iPhone a few different ways, including reinstalling and setting up as new, but nope, the beta was not having any of it.  I knew at that time i was gonna have to downgrade the OS.

For some reason i thought this was gonna be easy.  You just restore from a different ipsw file right? Wrong. oh so very, very, wrong as i was about to find out.  Because the firmware is updated in the beta, you can’t just go back to an earlier version, at least not if you have an iPhone 3G as i do.  You’ll get partway thru the process and get an 1015 error.  Doing a little reading and chatting with others, came across this link… http://jaxov.com/2010/04/revert-back-from-iphone-os-4-0-to-iphone-os-3-1-3-with-cydia-shsh/ …but it didn’t work for me.  I did the editing of the ETC/HOSTS file and tried it a number of different ways, including using iReb and iRecovery but nothing worked, it would always come back to giving me an error part way through the restore process and not being able to finish.  Hours and hours of playing and tweaking later, i eventually changed gears so to speak and thought, well, if i can do it the right way what about going the wrong way.  Yep, jailbreaking.

It seemed to me there must be a point during the jailbreak process that i could stop and revert to a standard install. Again, i was wrong. I won’t bore you with the details but suffice to say Pwnage couldn’t do exactly what i wanted, but it saved my sanity.  Its not a tricky thing to do, you just need the pwnagetool program and the unedited restore ipsw (for me it was iPhone1,2  3.1.3 7E18 Restore) file of the version you want to restore your iPhone to.  http://www.iphonehacks.com/2010/03/how-to-jailbreak-iphone-os-313-iphone-3g-pwnagetool.html It took me a couple of tries since i made the rookie mistake of not reading through all the comments on the site prior to starting the process.  Rogers, like AT&T works if you uncheck the “Activate the phone” box in the General settings tab of the Pwnage Tool as shown in the image below.  Otherwise you end up with the big red dot on the Phone icon indicating no service.


After creating the “custom restore.ipsw” getting the iPhone into recovery mode and installing it by going through the tedious restore and re-syncing process i was welcomed with a screen that finally gave me a sense of relief.  I was getting back to where i started, kinda.

It wasn’t quite factory settings, thats a bit of a stretch, since it is now “jailbroken” but is running OS 3.1.3 again.  The OS looks the same really, but now i have an extra APP on my iPhone, “Cydia”, or at least sorta.  i get errors when i launch that app and it never seems to finish Reloading Data, but since i don’t actually plan on keeping it jailbroke, i’m not concerned.

So for me that’s part one of the long road back.  I have a working copy of 3.1.3 and everything seems to be behaving as it should, the next step will be to deal with unjailbreaking.  I’ve read a few comments about how easy it is to unjailbreak, but so far i can attest to the fact that its not a simple case of letting itunes do a restore, all that does is set me back to the beginning all over again, stuck in recovery mode with errors.

But thats fun for another day, i’m just hoping its not the proverbial journey of a thousand miles with this being only the first step.


EDIT: i’ve had a questions about various parts of the jailbreaking etc, and one thing i left out was that yes i did indeed successfully go back to OS 3.1.2 with the thinking that by updating to OS 3.1.3 it would un-jailbreak my iPhone.  It didn’t, i got back into the same recovery loop with 1015 errors etc.  Ended up redoing the custom ipsw file with 3.1.3 in the hopes that the next beta of OS 4 or the final release will do the un-jailbreaking for me nice and easy.


EDIT: i threw caution to the wind one more time and tried iRecovery again. I figured what could it hurt.  It worked this time. Not sure what parameters were getting in the way when i first tried it and it failed, but as they say 3rd times the charm. iPhone is back to being unjailbroken and running Apple’s version of OS 3.1.3   Life is all about experiences.  Good or bad, difficult or easy, we can learn from everything we do and i take this long winding road i just travelled for what it is, a chance to learn.


  1. […] I downloaded PWNAGETOOL again and ran it in simple mode (i’ve used it before as mentioned in this post) and Jailbroke the old iPhone sucessfully this time.  It was a bit tricky getting into DFU mode […]


  2. Matters2much says:

    I just tried iRecovery after upgrading with a Pwnage tool modified IPSW 4.3.1. Did the Itunes upgrade to IPSW 4.3.2, then once stuck in recovery mode ran iRecovery, ran three commands: setenv auto-boot true, then saveenv then fsboot and then reboot.


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  8. […] I downloaded PWNAGETOOL again and ran it in simple mode (i’ve used it before as mentioned in this post) and Jailbroke the old iPhone sucessfully this time.  It was a bit tricky getting into DFU mode […]


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