In what can only be described as a kick in the teeth for jailbreakers, Apple has removed the ability for iTunes users to force iOS device to reinstall older versions of their software via a manual IPSW file. This change started with the latest iTunes 12.9.4.61 beta and will presumably make its way to the release version soon enough.

With this now in place, anyone restoring an iPhone or iPad will only be able to restore using the current, shipping version of iOS. As an example, Apple is currently still signing iOS 12.1.1 and iOS 12.1.2, but with the current iTunes beta installed, users will only be able to install iOS 12.1.3 because the option to manually select an IPSW file has been removed.

The way around this right now is to not upgrade to the version of iTunes that implements this change, but it’s highly likely that future versions of iOS will require a specific version of iTunes in order to work, meaning those who remain on older versions of the app will eventually have to relent. From a Reddit thread on the matter:

Discovered this as I was trying to update my XS to iOS 12.1.1 (signed), using an IPSW I downloaded from IPSW.me.

iTunes 12.9.4.61 (the latest beta) and Apple Configurator 2.8.2 have seemingly disabled Option+Click (MacOS) update and restore, forcing you to use the latest iOS version – currently 12.1.3.

I replicated this on another machine and spotted another person asking about it on Twitter. Instead of trying mobiledevicerestore (futurerestore) I opted to use my other Mac. iTunes 12.8 still works a treat while the IPSW is still being signed.

Where this leaves the jailbreak community is an interesting consideration. The cessation of signing older versions of iOS was intended to decrease the chance of people downgrading to jailbreak-able releases of iOS, and this will certainly prevent it entirely once Apple’s new mechanisms are in place.

It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that jailbreakers will find a way around this, but for now, it’s a pretty big deal, indeed.

(Via: Reddit)

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