Apple has made it technically impossible for most people to install an older version of iOS on iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices, so you can now use any version of iOS as long as it’s version 8.1.1. 9to5 Mac reports that Apple has closed the signing for iOS 8.1, which was publicly released on October 20 and included Apple Pay. That means unless your phone or tablet is jailbroken, you can’t revert to older iOS software.
This isn’t uncommon in practice but [company]Apple[/company] seems to have closed the software restoration window fairly quickly, in just six weeks or so. With security updates in the latest version, that’s not necessarily a bad thing but it’s a curious situation for a couple of reasons.
First, Apple typically enjoys strong adoption rates with new iOS versions. This time around the numbers weren’t quite as good, partially due to limited storage space on existing devices, although there are ways around that — installing the update via iTunes and a connected computer, for example.
Second, Apple is surely trying to boost Apple Pay usage. Even though only the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have the required NFC hardware for in-store Apple Pay transactions, all compatible iOS devices can use Apple Pay for online purchases with participating retail partners. If consumers revert back to version of iOS before 8.1, they simply can’t use Apple Pay.
Since Apple controls the hardware and the software for iOS devices, it’s certainly the company’s prerogative to take this step. Some folks aren’t happy about it, however, as any bugs or issues introduced by the software can’t be temporarily addressed through a software downgrade.