Apple tightly controls which software can be installed on the iPhone and iPad in a way not seen on its Mac desktop computers. So is Apple right to prevent you from installing older versions of iOS or iPadOS on a whim, or is this an example of corporate overreach?
New Software Must Be “Actively Signed” By Apple
To install software on the iPhone or iPad, software must be signed by Apple. This means that other operating systems like Android or Linux cannot be installed on Apple smartphones or tablets, only Apple-approved software.
In addition to this requirement, the software must be actively signed, which means that Apple must approve the installation using an online check before it can be installed on an iPhone. Apple will only actively sign software for a limited time. When a new version of iOS or iPadOS is released, there is only a short window of time where the previous version can still be installed before the company will stop signing it altogether.
The signing window…
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