How to re-install iPhone OS 3.1.3

June 28, 2010

Have you found iOS 4 not all it’s cracked up to be? Perhaps you bricked your iPhone 3G or your beloved iPhone 3GS now can’t hold a call? Hey, these things happen, but there is a way out and it’s not too difficult to get back to iPhone 3.1.3.

iOS 4 has been hailed as a great advance. However, with some users experiencing bricked iPhones and (even more) dropped calls, this mobile operating system clearly isn’t for everyone — here’s how to get back to iPhone OS 3.1.3. And, yes, this method works for the iPod touch, too.

First, you’ll need to see if the previous version of the software is still stored on your computer. On the Mac, check in ~/Library/iTunes/iPhone Software Updates and look for iPhone1,2_3.1.3_7E18_Restore.ipsw. PC users should check C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates.

If you don’t find it, download it here.

Next, you’ll need to download RecBoot Mac or RecBoot Windows

Back up n’ restore

Plug in your iPhone in to your computer and let it go through the backup and update functions. If you’re feeling a little paranoid, select it in the device sidebar, right-click on it and select Backup just for good measure.

Now, with your iPhone still attached, power it down by simultaneously holding the Home and Power (top corner) buttons. Slide the slider to Power off.

Now, you’ll need to power back up with a twist: Press and hold the Home and Power buttons for 10 seconds, and then release the Power button while continuing to hold Home button. iTunes should, if you did it right, pop up a dialog saying that it has detected iPhone (iPod touch) in recovery mode (i.e. the device’s screen will be black).

If you performed this step incorrectly, the iPhone will start up as it normally would.

Dismiss the dialog. Then select the iPhone under in the Devices sidebar, press the Option key (Shift on PC) and click the Restore button. A dialog will pop up asking you to locate the restore file (see above).

Whoa, Nelly…

This process will take about 10 minutes. Whereafter you will be presented with an error message (Error 1015) and your iPhone will boot up and display Connect to iTunes screen.

Now, open RecBoot, and click Exit Recovery Mode. In a few seconds, RecBoot will take your iPhone out of plug-me-into-iTunes recovery mode and your freshly downgraded iPhone (iPod touch) 3.1.3 will boot right up.

Now, all you need to do is restore your settings, apps, etc. from backup and Apple’s got that bit covered here.

Gotta suggestion or a tip? Sound off in the comments below…

via FindTut

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39 Responses to “How to re-install iPhone OS 3.1.3”

  1. Spideydog:

    Nah, my iOS4 worked fine on both the iPhone and iTouch. Feel sorry for those it didn’t work for ….. If the antennae issues are as bad as they report, glad I got the 3Gs !!!

  2. Yousuf:

    hello. I have an iphone 3GS with the new bootrom. I updated it to ios 4 and now want to go back to 3.1.3. When i restore with itunes it gives me error 1604 etc.. It does not go through the process of restoring the firmware on the iphone.. Please advice what to do. Thanks.

  3. adam:

    I followed the steps, but now when i want to restore it to get all my info back on it. It saids cannot restore Iphone because the version is to old for the restore :(

  4. David:

    adam do the other option – restore as new iphone.
    It’ll go through a complete sync of all apps music etc.

  5. chris:

    I got to the point where you have to open RecBoot but for some reason it will not open and run on my computer. Any suggestions?

  6. David:

    Guys, I’ve just done 2 installs of 3.1.3 from 4.0 not from choice but because after the successful 1st one I tried to jailbreak the phone again – something went wrong and the phone seized up.
    So i had to restore and update to 4.0 again.
    Each time I clicked a different option for the restore.
    The first one I selected “restore as new iphone” – when you do this you get all your apps, but no songs, pics etc. You also have to enter all your details for things like Facebook, Gmail etc all over again. This is OK because all you have to do then, is to restore your files from itunes.
    The second time I selected ” restore from previous backup” and bingo everything was good.
    Chris – make sure you open Recboot from Finder or the Windows equivalent.
    If it doesn’t work delete it and download it again – and try again, and make sure you click on “exit recovery mode”
    Hope this helps – now back to jailbreakin’

  7. Daniel:

    I have not the restore option, just “restore and update” and lead me to the upgrade, again…any ideas?

  8. Jordan:

    Will this work to downgrade to 3.1.2 as well? I have a 3GS(old bootroom) that I would love to downgrade from 4.0 to 3.1.2 because it is easier to jailbreak than 3.1.3.

  9. Daniel:

    Well, finally worked fine. Just a couple of remarks: it is important to read the .txt file once RecBoot unzipped because a specific .dll is needed. Also, you need to install usblib. But take care if you are running Windows 7 or Vista, once downloaded and before unpack the installer, go to properties and select to run the program in XP compatibility as administrator, otherwise any device plugged in any USB port will NOT work. Personally, I strongly suggest to do create a restoring point before do anything. But works fine, I’m now with the “old” iPhone OS. Good luck!

  10. MWC:

    When I followed the steps without issue, I ended up getting Error code -1015, and it said i could not restore the iphone.

  11. stuartgw:

    FYI, On windows 7 my firmware copies were stored in C:\Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates
    sadly not OS3, despite having backed the phone up prior to the ugrade so I did the downoad.
    thanks for the link.
    now to try the instal

  12. stuartgw:

    These instructions are dodgy (at least for Windows).
    Go here for more reliable instructions.

  13. mattie:

    i am not getting exit recovery mode to work! can any one help me out?

  14. kevsahl:

    Just tried it….followed to the “T”….notta!! Phone screen showed a connection required to itunes and the option button never gave me anything but “open in new window” or “eject”.

    Oh well, I’ll look for another solution. OS 4.0 on the 3G is a PIG.

  15. corey:

    Thank you! I followed all the directions and it worked!!

  16. Jason:

    All went well except that my photos, notes and contacts are gone. I was sure to back up. Due to the ‘the version is to old for the restore’ error, I had to restore as new iphone. Can I recover this data?


  17. ilkontisa:

    I’m confused

    I don’t know how to open the RecBoot

    and I can’t countinue the Restore steps becouse it pop up this message “the iPhone could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (3014)”

  18. ilkontisa:

    I’m confused

    I don’t know how to open the RecBoot

    and I can’t continue the Restore steps becouse it pop up this message “the iPhone could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (3014)”

  19. Andy S:

    Well, it worked for me first time – brilliant! My 3G ran like a dog with OS 4, I was desperate to get back to OS 3.1.3, and now, thanks to you, I’ve done it! Many thanks.

  20. td:

    ok so i did everything and got to the end and opened recboot and clicked exit recovery mode (yes my iphone showed connect to itunes) but nothing happens, it just stays like that and eventually turns off

  21. Aamer.K:

    hi i reset my iPhone 3G 3.1.3 but it’s not getting on just showing
    apple symbol how can I get started it ny 1 assist me d entire process

  22. Karen:

    Hi, I hope you can help. I didn’t already have the restore file, so downloaded it, but the restore file does not appear to be in the downloaded folder, so still have nothing to select when iTunes asks me to locate it. I have tried downloading it twice. I am using Windows 7. Thanks

  23. Marshall:

    Im having one problem not concidered. Im using itunes 9.1.2 and it wont recognize the itouch 3g except to say I need to upgrade to itunes 9.2 first, and I really do not want to upgrade my xp with sp2 is unstable enough without the problems I will get from an itunes and quicktime upgrade now. the new ipod is preloaded with 4.0 and I dont have anything on it that I need to backup. how can I do a clean install of 3.1.3 and keep my itunes. i believe my itunes will work fine with the touch running 3.1.3. thanks

  24. Aaron:

    Worked great for me, received the Error after the restore completed…ran RecBoot and selected Exit Recovery Mode… a moment or so later my iPhone moved past the Error and was up and running on 3.1.3 as a new phone, and then I was able to Restore my iPhone in iTunes from the Backup I had done prior to starting the Restore to 3.1.3 process.

    All, be sure to read and understand and follow each step outlined above step by step, no skipping allowed

  25. Reaper3224:

    i have a iphone 3g and i accidently formatted it and now i downloaded the os 3.1.3 from a website and i open itunes and i hav option restore when i click restore, itunes start to download os but i already hav downloaded os from a website so how shold i make itunes use that os? plz someone help

  26. Vip3r666:

    Hey gents and ladies alike:) If recboot isnt working,try tiny umbrella. Much easier and you dont need usblib to use it:)

  27. nzstars:

    Thank you guys :) back to 3.1.3 until the have unlock + jailbreak on 4.x for windows

  28. Sean:

    I did it… followed the instructions on my mac… and my iphone is running smoothly with 3.1.3! Brilliant stuff. Thanks for the clear step by step guide!!! If you’re wondering if this will work…. it did for me!

  29. lala:

    is the last step of restoring needed? so i blive im able to restore my iphone3gs from IOS4.2 back to 3.1.3 using tis? replies any1 thx! =D

  30. drew:

    Just wanted to tell you all NOT to listen to David in the 4th post. I got the “cannot restore, as backup is on a newer system than the current system” or whatever error, then followed David’s advice and clicked on “restore as a new phone.”

    This promptly overwrote my old backup, and I’ve lost everything.

    Whatever you do, go to the old backup file and keep a copy of that old backup. And thanks a lot for the crappy advice.

  31. Kris Koster:

    I’m sorry, but these are EXTREMELY long winded instructions. It’s REALLY easy to restore to any previous version. All you do is this:

    On Windows:
    Hold the SHIFT key while clicking the “Update” or “Restore” button in the iPhone tab in iTunes

    On Mac:
    Hold the option key while clicking the “Update” or “Restore” button in the iPhone tab in iTunes


  32. Chad:

    yeah, i just lost all my tax information for 2010 which i was stupid enough to keep as a note, which i was unable to restore. awesome…

  33. usman:

    i restore my 3g 3.1.3 by using this
    but it says insert correct simcard inorder to activate.
    wat to do

  34. Brent:

    I bought a used iPhone 3GS from a guy. Not jailbroken. I tried to restore from the Settings menu on the phone, but it asked for a password. Also said that the wrong password had been entered 11 times. So I figured I would restore from iTunes. I downloaded the 3.1.3 firmware from the link above, enter iTunes, hold shift and click on Restore, when it asks me to find the file it does not recognize the file I downloaded. The file was a zipped file, so I unzipped it. That time I found the file, but apparently it is not in the right format or something. I am going to try to re-download it, and try again. Any help would be appreciated. Also, I would really enjoy some JailBreaking pointers.

  35. Edgars:

    Thanks a lot.

  36. brandon:

    omg that is so much easier. iv been tryin all day to do all those steps and just did that in 30 seconds

  37. Montana:


    Try this (the phone will lose all its data):

    1) Put your iPhone in “recovery mode.” Then, when iTunes detects an iPhone in recovery mode, it will tell you the phone needs to be restored before it can be used with iTunes.
    2) Click “OK.”
    3) Click “Restore.”
    4) iTunes will prompt you to update to the newest available firmware. Click “Update” or “Install”.
    5) iTunes will then download and install the update.
    Leave your iPhone connected to your computer.
    6) If you have a backup from an iPhone, iTunes will ask you if you want to restore from a backup or set up the phone as a new phone. Choose to set it up as a new phone, unless you had previously owned an iPhone.

  38. Subbu:

    I just did what you asked me to do and Volia it WORKED!!! Awesome thanks a world guys. You rock!

  39. Ian Muir:

    How do i do it without the home button? thats my whole problem (NO home button)??? I don’t want to spend $200 to get it fixed

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