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Apple iOS 6 woes: Save the blobs if you need to downgrade

Gina Smith reports on the numerous issues some users are having with iOS 6, which may lead to the decision to downgrade to a more stable version. Bear in mind you can't do it without saving the SHSH blobs first. Here's how.

By all accounts (check out the Apple Community Support boards) the just released and hotly awaited Apple iOS upgrade 6.0 is causing major problems, users report. Many, though not all, users of devices that now have the upgrade available at the push of the button, including the Apple iPhone 4S, the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, the new iPod touch and the Apple iPad 2 and iPad 3 are reporting issues such as Wi-Fi bugs, performance problems, the lack of Google Maps and YouTube, battery drain, Passbook compatibility problems, and other issues, just for starters.

Without an official Apple-supported method to downgrade, IT pros hoping to downgrade enterprise users who've already upgraded to the new iOS 6 back to the more stable Apple iOS 5.1.1 are out of luck -- unless they borrow a page from Apple jailbreakers and use tools like TinyUmbrella or CYDIA to back up essential files known as SHSH blobs.

As it turns out, upgrading to Apple iOS 6 automatically wipes the blobs for Apple iOS 5.11, making a downgrade, should problems arise, impossible. Before you let anyone else upgrade, here's how to make sure you've got those blobs. It isn't pretty, but it's the only way, at least for now, to guarantee you can downgrade unhappy Apple iOS 6 users later.

But doesn't Apple save older iOS versions - especially the latest (the current one until just last week) iOS 5 - on its servers? That's what everyone else is wondering in the support forums.

"It's true Apple does host the old iOS version on its servers -- here is the IPSW file for an iPad 2, for example -- but unless your users thought ahead to save the blobs, restoring it will just throw a 3194 error back at you. Your problem will be missing SHSH blob files and tech pros need to do those backups before users upgrade, given the problems reported with Apple iOS 6", says Dino Londis, an IT pro at a large law firm in NYC.

Londis, a technologist at aNewDomain.net, emphasizes the problems IT pros face if users upgrade to Apple iOS 6 before the Apple iOS SHSH blob files are backed up.

Otherwise, there's likely no going back, as Apple iOS 6 is not signing in with firmware. So how to back up the blobs before issues with Apple iOS 6 plague your help desk?

One option - the best, in Londis' view and other tech pros, I interviewed - is Notcom's TinyUmbrella. It is a free, lightweight utility familiar to jailbreakers, which will save the crucial SHSH blobs. Upgrading to Apple iOS 6 via air or Wi-Fi iTunes destroys those Apple iOS 5.1.1 files, making a downgrade practically impossible unless a backup of the blobs is available.

The free TinyUmbrella utility will let you save the critical SHSH blob files for Apple iOS 5. Only with those files is it possible, if necessary, to downgrade users from Apple iOS 6. The install of iOS 6 wipes those files, making a downgrade impossible. Apple has sealed its firmware.

Another, albeit more hairy option, is to get for the beta version of the redsnOw iOS 6 jailbreak tool, which will let you restore Apple iOS 5.1.1 provided you've saved SHSH blob files with Tiny Umbrella or another recognized SHSH blob-saving tool, like Cydia.

Find the link for the beta RedSnow jailbreaker before your users find it. It's free from developers at iPhone Dev Team (not related to Apple Inc.).

Developers at iPhone Dev just released the beta version of RedSn0w, a jailbreaking tool for Apple iOS 6 that will let you restore Apple iOS 5.1.1 to users' devices. The catch? Aside from all the issues associated with jail breaking - i.e., customer support from Apple down the road - it won't work until, you guessed it, you've backed up SSH blob files with SHSH blobsaving freeware Tiny Umbrella, which Londis recommends above, or another utility SHSH blobsaver like Cydia.

So why the big problem?

Apple reps have as yet to return calls for comment, but as Charlotte, NC tech pro Ant Pruitt points out, there's no real mystery here. Apple iOS warriors in BYOD shops know and have known for awhile that Apple has pretty much locked up the ability to downgrade from Apple iOS 6 by deleting those key files and not "signing" the firmware inside.

Tiny Umbrella unveiled its tool for backing up the SHSH 5.1.1 files for Apple iOS 5.1.1 this week. It is available for download from here in two versions: TinyUmbrella [OSX] and TinyUmbrella [WIN] (These are zipped executable files).

We'll keep you updated on an Apple fix for this issue if it arrives. If you have tips we missed, please leave them in the comments below. In the meantime, back up the blobs, or your users will find that like the Eagle's song, "Hotel California," you can check in, but you can never leave.

About

Gina Smith is a NYT best-selling author of iWOZ, the biography of Steve Wozniak. She is a vet tech journalist and chief of the geek tech site, aNewDomain.net.

19 comments
kellyburby1
kellyburby1

battery consumption is quicker under IOS6

Szasz
Szasz

also problem with wifi on my ipad 2

acruiz
acruiz

I didn't save the blobs or whatever that is , ios 6.0 sucks. I want to install some free apps for my kids and search doesn't work . Ipad is a toy anyway, now is a bit more dumb toy...

VT 4Wheeler
VT 4Wheeler

I just upgraded my iphone 5s and have no issues with wifi or anythng else. My battery life is the same. So maybe it's just the user.. LOL

kordon
kordon

I have found that it not takes longer to recharge the ipad 3 then in 5.5.1

T3CHN0M4NC3R
T3CHN0M4NC3R

Could this be the "thermo-nuclear war" Steve Jobs meant? BTW, there is no better maps than Google Maps, period. While Apple is trying so hard to try to hire Google Maps staff for help, who dare say Apple Maps is awesome?

belgvr
belgvr

someone PLEASE resurrect Mr. Steve Jobs!!!!!!!!!!!

ianbsnelling
ianbsnelling

I have found the ipad2 drains its battery quicker under IOS 6 than it did on 5.5

George Kriza
George Kriza

This is a lot of paranoid baloney. It works fine. At one point I lost my iTunes playlists but a telephone restart resynced with the iCloud. Also... the Apple maps feature is truly outstanding. Far better than google maps. Whatever bugs there are are no big deals. So... no reason to go backwards.

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

Tho I prefer Google Maps to Apple Maps :(. Baby duck syndrome more than usability so far.

Intrepld
Intrepld

I have an Ipad 2 upgraded to IOS 6 downloading first, installing after. I need badly to get back to 5.1.1. Haved saved my .shsh with tiny umbrella previously. Still get the 3194 error, worse, Ipad goes into DFU and requests a full 2 hour restore back to IOS 6. Read elsewhere the problem was with Itunes 10.7 (latest). Found a 10.6.3 Itunes, installed it in another machine along with tiny umbrella and my saved shsh files, Still get the 3194 error. So far, I don't think anybody else has succeeded downgrading from IOS 6. If I'm wrong please let me know how to do it.

abc123a
abc123a

I have an iPhone4, iPad3 and iPhone5 and so far I have not had a single problem with any iOS feature or the maps.

guillermogarciajr
guillermogarciajr

I haven't noticed any WiFi issues on my iPad3 after the upgrade but I have noticed that the battery life is definitely less than with iOS5.

rhonin
rhonin

You sleep with your iPad, take your iPhone everywhere, and put the white Apple stickers on your undies. You are quite obviously not a biased Apple user. /s

Intrepld
Intrepld

Obviously you do not jailbreak any of your devices

rhonin
rhonin

Count yourself in the minority. Good luck.

rhonin
rhonin

Same on the iPad 2 (16gb wifi) - I find doing the same tasks I am reaching for the cable an hour or more earlier with iOS6. Other items: Less app crashes from LackaRam - the app just freezes and sometimes returns instead. Keyboard occasionally inserts errors - mostly driven by the spell checker. Apple Maps - enough said..... EarBuds - poor for use in noisy areas - like a train or subway. More to come....