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iOS 15 beta on iPhone not working out? How to go back to iOS 14

Whether it's too many bugs, poor battery life or some other reason for iOS 15 developer preview regret, the good news is you should be able to restore iOS 14 on your device.

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You can roll back to iOS 14 from iOS 15 developer preview. 

Sarah Tew/CNET
This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

If you have an Apple developer account and installed the iOS 15 preview on your iPhone, you may find some bumps in the iOS 15 road that leave you yearning for simpler iOS 14 days. That's to be expected. The public beta for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 won't arrive until next month, and the final versions are due this fall, likely in September if Apple's release cycle holds. 

Here's the good news: You can go back to iOS 14 or iPadOS 14. However, keep in mind that reverting to the current official release will require you to factory reset your phone or tablet. If you created a backup before joining the beta, you can use that to restore your iPhone or iPad, but remember that any changes or new information since you installed the beta will be lost. 

With all of that out of the way, here's how to get out of the beta and back to a stable version of iOS. 

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How can I restore my iPhone or iPad to iOS 14?

In order to complete the uninstall process, you'll need a Mac or PC, the appropriate cable to connect your iPhone or tablet to the computer, and if you're on Windows, you'll need to install iTunes

If you're on a Mac, make sure your Mac's software is updated by clicking on the Apple logo at the top of your screen, then selecting System Preferences > Software Update.

Start by connecting your phone or tablet to your computer, and then placing it in Recovery Mode. This will tell your computer that the connected device needs to have its operating system reinstalled. To enter receivers mode, you'll need to use the steps specific to your device listed below. You'll know when you're in Recovery Mode when your device's screen is black and shows a cable pointing toward a MacBook. 

When using the button combination below, your iPhone or iPad will restart during this process, but it's important that you don't let go of the button(s) until you see the recovery mode screen.

If you let go too early, repeat the steps. 

  • If you have an iPhone 6S or older, an iPad with a home button or iPod Touch 6th generation or older, hold in the sleep/wake button and the home button at the same time until you see the Recovery Mode screen.
  • For an iPhone 7, 7 Plus or iPod Touch 7th generation, hold in the sleep/wake button and the volume up button at the same time until you see the Recovery Mode screen.
  • For iPhone 8 or later, quickly press the volume up followed by volume down buttons, and then hold in the side button until you see the recovery screen.
  • iPad Pro users will quickly press the volume-up, then the volume-down buttons, followed by holding in the top button until you see the recovery screen.
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Hopefully you backed up your iPhone or iPad before installing iOS 15. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

When you put an Apple device into Recovery Mode, you'll see a prompt on your computer letting you know a device in recovery mode has been detected. It will ask if you want to Restore or Update your device: Select Restore. Your computer will download and install the latest official version of iOS 14 on your device. (Currently iOS 14.6.)

If you don't see a prompt, you'll need to open Finder (on a Mac) or iTunes (on a PC), select your device and then select Restore.

If you're using the same computer where you created a backup of your phone or tablet before installing the beta, you'll be asked if you want to use that backup to restore your device after it's back on iOS 14. If you didn't create a backup, you'll have to start from a fresh install. 

There's no shame in going back to iOS 14. There are a ton of features we can't get enough of, and Apple keeps adding to them with regular updates. My personal favorite are all of the hidden features we keep finding in iOS 14. If you decide you want to take the beta plunge as the official launch gets closer, you can always do that, too.