Apple on Wednesday stopped signing both iOS 10.3.3 and iOS 11.0, the first official public release of iOS 11 since the software came out of beta on September 19th. With this change, it’s now impossible to downgrade iOS 11 devices back to iOS 10.
The company regularly stops signing older firmware versions to prevent downgrades and keep users on the latest firmware possible. It’s also a measure to thwart jailbreaking, which often requires an older firmware version where Apple hasn’t patched the vulnerabilities used in the jailbreak process.
Since there have been two new iOS updates since the initial public release, iOS 11.0.1 and iOS 11.0.2, Apple’s choice to stop signing the original firmware isn’t too surprising.
When Apple stops signing a particular firmware version, iTunes won’t allow users to restore to it anymore. Instead, they’re prompted to upgrade to the latest available firmware. In this case, that’s iOS 11.0.2, but users can also still downgrade to iOS 11.0.1 as Apple continues to sign it as of this writing.
This news isn’t too significant for jailbreakers considering there isn’t a public jailbreak for any firmware newer than iOS 10.2, but it still underscores how Apple isn’t letting up on efforts to put everyone on the latest firmware possible and keep them there.
Those already using an older firmware won’t be forced to upgrade unless they try restoring their device from iTunes or allow an OTA update to complete. Anyone with a jailbreak or that doesn’t like the iOS 11 update is advised to stay away from the OTA update mechanism in Settings > General > Software Update and to avoid updating through iTunes.
From a jailbreaking perspective, the cat-and-mouse game between hackers exploiting iOS and Apple releasing updates to patch them makes things more challenging. It becomes a chore for hackers to keep jailbreaks current as a result, and this is part of the reason why jailbreaks aren’t released as often as they used to be.
On the other hand, given how much of a person’s life is stored on a mobile handset today, Apple has a moral responsibility to close security holes with updates. Forcing everyone to update to the latest firmware helps keep everyone safe from malicious attacks that could expose this precious information.
You can actively track what versions of iOS are being signed by Apple with the nifty IPSW.me website.
Have you already upgraded to iOS 11.0.2, or are you using an older version of iOS? Share below!