If you’re as much of an Apple fan as I am, then you probably go through the same internal debate around this time every year: Have fun beta testing the latest Apple software, or protect my devices and the data on them?
Unfortunately, my willpower often fails, and I install the betas on my devices only to realize that I am not prepared to run buggy software for the next several months. If you, too, lack self-control, have confessed the error of your ways, and are ready to go back to stable software, this guide will walk you through the downgrade journey.
How to uninstall iOS 14 and iPadOS 14
The slow way
If you’re not in a rush to return to iOS 13 or iPadOS13, here’s the slower method for downgrading your device.
First, open the Settings app, tap General, then Profile. Here you’ll find the iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 profile you installed on your device when installing the beta. Tap it, then tap Remove Profile.
Once it’s removed, restart your device. This will prevent you from receiving future iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates and, when the next stable version of iOS and iPadOS is released to the general public, you’ll be able to install it and return to the general version of iOS and iPadOS.
The fast way
If you’re looking to get rid of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 immediately, you can do so, but it’s going to be a bit more complicated and costly. Essentially, it requires wiping your device and restoring it from a backup with a previous version of iOS and iPadOS on it.
If you don’t have a backup of your iPhone/iPad with iOS or iPadOS 13 on it, then don’t erase your device unless you don’t mind losing all of your data. If you only have iCloud backups of your device after the iOS 14 installation, then you’ll only be able to return to an iOS 14 version of your device. In other words, the slow version described above is right for you.
That warning out of the way, let’s move ahead with the assumption that you’re ready to erase your device and restore it from an archived backup.
Put your device in Recovery Mode
This will allow you to wipe and restore your device to factory settings. It will differ slightly depending on which device you’re using, so follow the correct directions for your device:
- iPad with FaceID: Press and release the Volume Up button, then again with the Volume Down button. Then press and hold the Top button (the button that turns your device on and off). As you hold this button down, your device will restart, and then as you continue to hold it, your device will enter Recovery Mode. At this point, you can let go of the Top button.
- iPad with TouchID: Press and hold the Top button and Home button at the same time. As you hold these buttons down, your device will restart, and then as you continue to hold them, your device will enter Recovery Mode. At this point, you can let go of the buttons.
- iPhone 8 and later: Press and release the Volume Up button, then again with the Volume Down button. Then, press and hold the Side button. As you hold this button down, your device will restart, and then as you continue to hold it, your device will enter Recovery Mode. At this point, you can let go of the Side button.
- iPhone 7: Press and hold the Volume Down and Side buttons at the same time. As you hold these buttons down, your device will restart, and then as you continue to hold them, your device will enter Recovery Mode. At this point, you can let go of the buttons.
Restore from backup
From the options that appear, tap Restore. This will erase your device, return it to factory settings, and then install the general public version of iOS. From here, go through the process of setting up your device as if you had just purchased it from the store.
When you get to the point where your device asks if you want to restore from a backup, follow the options to restore from an archived backup. If restoring from a backup on your computer, you’ll need to plug your device into your computer.
And that’s it!
How to uninstall macOS 11 Big Sur
The slow way
The fast way of uninstalling macOS 11 involves unenrolling your device from macOS 11 and waiting for the next general release of macOS to be released, at which point your device will downgrade to that release and you’ll be back on the public version of macOS.
This is the slow way because you don’t know how long it’ll be before the next version of macOS is released, so you’ll be stuck on Big Sur for an indefinite amount of time. But it’s the easier method, and it doesn’t require having a backup, which makes it well-suited for lots of users.
To get started, open System Preferences and click Software Update. On the left side of the window, click Details… and then Restore Defaults. This will remove the beta profile from your device. The next time a general release of macOS is available, your Mac will downgrade back to that general release.
The fast way
For those who have a Time Machine backup of their Mac and want to downgrade back to Catalina immediately, you’ll have to wipe and restore your Mac to factory settings, then reinstall your latest Catalina backup from a Time Machine drive.
Bear in mind that you will lose all of your files created after you updated to macOS Big Sur. So if you’ve done any important work since updating to the Big Sur beta, consider moving these files to iCloud or an external drive.
With those warnings out of the way, let’s get into it.
Prepare your Mac
Backup any files that have been created or modified during your use of macOS Big Sur to an external drive or iCloud. Backing these files up in Time Machine will not prevent them from being deleted during this process.
Next, open System Preferences, click your Apple account, uncheck Find My Mac and enter your Apple ID password.
Restart and reformat
Open the Apple menu by clicking on the top left of your Mac screen. With this menu opened, press and hold command and R until the Apple logo appears. When it does, release these keys. This will restart your Mac in Recovery Mode.
Once logged into your Mac in Recovery Mode, you’re going to partition and reformat your startup disk. This will reset your Mac to factory settings, deleting all of your files.
To do this, click Disk Utility, then choose your startup disk by clicking View, Show All Devices. Select your startup disk and click Partition. Under Format, choose AFPS for macOS Mojave or later (including Catalina) or macOS Extended (Journaled) for older versions of macOS. Finally, click Apply.
Restart and restore
Once this is done, you’re ready to restart your device again and reinstall your Time Machine backup. Make sure your Time Machine drive is connected to your device. Then click the Apple logo in the top left of your screen and choose Restart.
When your Mac begins to restart, hold down the option, command, and R keys. Hold these keys down until you see the Apple logo again. This will once again bring up Recovery Mode. This time, though, you’re going to choose Restore From Time Machine Backup and Continue.
On the next screen, your Mac will ask you which backup you want to return to. To return to a version of macOS before Big Sur, choose any backup that begins with “10.xx”. All backups that start with “11.xx” will return you to Big Sur. The backup just before the first 11.xx backup will be your most recent backup before macOS 11.
All that’s left to do is wait for your Mac to restore to that backup, and you’ll be right back where you were before installing the macOS Big Sur beta. If you had files that you moved to iCloud or another external drive before reverting to macOS Catalina, you can copy these back to your device and back them up with Time Machine like normal.
And that’s it!
How to install iOS 14 / iPadOS 14 / macOS 11 Big Sur
All of these software versions are currently in beta, so it is not recommended that you install them on your primary devices. macOS Big Sur is particularly unstable right now, so it isn’t recommended for anyone other than developers right now. If you would like to install these betas, you can do so by using the following guides:
Is iOS 14 / iPadOS 14 / macOS 11 stable?
iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 are relatively stable for betas, though certainly not as stable as iOS 13. You will notice occasional crashes, bugs, and will have a few third-party apps that don’t behave as they should. However, they are relatively safe for most people to use, especially if you have a spare device to test them on.
macOS 11 is not currently stable at the time of writing, with many people reverting just a few hours after updating. This is because this update is a much more extensive overhaul, so it is not recommended that you update to this version unless you have a spare Mac or are a developer.
When will iOS 14 / iPadOS 14 / macOS 11 be released?
All three of these software versions are expected to be released sometime this Fall. This could potentially be delayed if they aren’t deemed ready, however. In our opinion, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 appear stable enough that you can assume they’ll be released as usual this Fall. macOS 11 is a little less stable, so there is a possibility that it’ll be delayed when Fall comes around.