Downgrade tvOS 13 GM to tvOS 12 [How to]

Uzair Ghani
Downgrade tvOS 13 GM

We’ll show you how you can downgrade tvOS 13 GM to tvOS 12 on the Apple TV.

We’re really, really excited about the tvOS 13 GM update. It’s fresh out of the oven, packs some wonderful features including multi-user support and whatnot. However, if you updated to tvOS 13 GM and think to yourself that you might have made a mistake, then you will be pleased to learn that you can undo it all as long as Apple is signing tvOS 12.

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The only downside to the process is that you’ll lose all your files and settings, but you will be back on tvOS 12 in a matter of minutes. Furthermore, this tutorial is only applicable to the Apple TV HD, which is the 1080p model of Apple’s set top box. If you have an Apple TV 4K, this tutorial is not for you at all.

  • First and foremost, download the tvOS 12.4.1 firmware file for your Apple TV HD and save it to your desktop.
  • Connect a USB-C cable to your Apple TV HD and plug the other end to your PC or Mac.
    Launch iTunes.
  • Click on the Restore Apple TV button while holding down the left Shift key (Windows) or the left Option key (macOS).
  • Select the tvOS 12.4.1 IPSW firmware file you downloaded in step 1.
  • iTunes will quickly extract the firmware and restore the Apple TV.
  • Once the restoration is complete, iTunes will ask you to unplug the Apple TV and connect it back to your television set.
  • Turn on the Apple TV and set it up like brand new on tvOS 12. That’s all.

In all honesty, I wouldn’t really recommend to downgrade tvOS 13 GM back to tvOS 12. The update is pretty solid and is packed with great features which are only there to enhance your living room experience. But if you believe this update is not for you, then it’s completely your choice to revert back to how things were.

It’s somewhat sad that there is no way to downgrade tvOS 13 GM to tvOS 12 due to the lack of any sort of port behind the Apple TV. Even with the lack of a USB-C port, maybe Apple could implement an over the air installation method for downgrading back to the public release of the software.

Maybe that’s a feature which is not far off.

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