How to Use IPSW files Tutorial and Steps
So here we discuss the How to Use IPSW files, and after a lot of requests from our users here is a guide about How to Use IPSW files.
IPSW stands for iOS software quite simply, and IPSW files are basically just individual firmware downloads for specific iOS devices. These files can be used to manually update iOS devices using iTunes. If you recently downloaded an iOS IPSW file, you may be curious how to use it to update your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Using IPSW is often considered advanced, but it’s actually quite simple, just follow these directions and you’ll be on your way.
Before using a firmware file to update, you will want to make a backupup of the iOS device.
How to Use IPSW files
You can use IPSW files on Mac or Windows, both require iTunes to work properly. If you want to use the latest version of IPSW firmware files to update or restore an iOS device, make sure that you also have the latest version of iTunes installed.
- Connect your iPhone or iOS device to your computer
- Select the device in iTunes
- On a Mac, hold the “Option” key and then click “Update”
- On a Windows PC, hold the “SHIFT” key and then click “Update”
- Select the IPSW file you downloaded and click “Choose”
- Let the iOS device update as usual
Following the IPSW route may take longer to update than using the newer OTA (over the air) method, the reason being that OTA uses smaller delta updates than the larger IPSW files, which download downloads at full size and are often literally 10x the download size.
You can also click “Restore” and select an IPSW instead, but you will lose the existing files and settings on your iOS device. If you go that route, don’t forget to back up in advanceup to make.
Why use IPSW?
While the average user is better off taking the easy routes of updating iOS with iTunes or OTA, IPSW can also be very practical to use. A significant benefit of using firmware files can be found for users with limited broadband internet access, where downloading a software update over a faster remote connection makes more sense. Typically, you then copy that IPSW file to a USB stick or DVD to bring it home to update a device manually. For users with many of the same iOS devices, a single IPSW download can save bandwidth by applying a single update to many devices.
In rare cases, firmware files are required to restore a faulty iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that is essentially bricked, but still functional. This is somewhat rare, but if an iOS update is interrupted it can happen, usually requiring a device to be put into DFU mode and manually restored with firmware. Normally, a normal iTunes-based restore is sufficient, which is why it’s quite rare.
Finally, there are some cases where IPSW is required to create custom configured firmware for future recovery operations. This typically ties in with the “Restore” method of updating, which allows for the use of custom IPSW files, and is generally something created with a third party application such as PwnageTool or sn0wbreeze. However, this is almost exclusively relevant to those who jailbreak and unlock their hardware, and for the average user, the standard IPSW files available from Apple work fine.
Where do you get IPSW files?
We have several comprehensive lists of iOS IPSW files hosted on Apple’s servers, you can view all of them and access the downloads from the following places:
- Browse IPSW files for all iOS versions here
- iPhone iOS firmware
- Older iPhone ISPW
- Older iPod touch IPSW
- Older iPad IPSW
Note that each list includes all iOS versions after 3.0. Not all versions of iOS IPSW will work on all devices, so make sure to select the correct version for your hardware and use the latest version supported.
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