I have just upgraded to a newer iPhone and am getting ready to sell my 4S. For that I'm looking to do a complete reset. But because there's been so much controversy about iOS 8, I'd like the phone to restore to its current iOS 7.1.1 or the older one that came with the phone when I first purchased it (I can see from TradeMe posts this could be a beneficial selling point). How do I know which iOS the reset will pick up, or indeed if I can choose it?
Unfortunately this is one of the most painful issues with iOS products, the short answer is you can't restore through iTunes without upgrading to the latest software, as Apple have stopped signing OS versions older than 8 (which means iTunes won't allow you to restore using an older firmware).
Fortunately there is another option. On your iPhone go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings
This is the best way to clear the iPhone for selling without updating the firmware. After the reset the phone will show the initial setup screen, just like it had come out of the box. Then the person you've sold the phone to can decide whether to keep the current iOS version or update themselves.
Just make sure you don't interrupt the resetting process. If you run out of power or reset your device before it is complete, you will see the Connect to iTunes screen after you connect to power again. If this happens you'll be forced to restore and update through iTunes.
There's no way to roll back the firmware to older versions of iOS though.
Thanks for info. Does the above get rid of all sensitive data, and app data tied to the cleared apps? I read that for example Pandora uses unique device IDs or something meaning the next user would potentially see my stuff (not that it would be a problem with Pandora). Cheers
Hi - I'm not aware of all the various app developers foibles, but would suggest signing out of everything you can on the iPhone first, before resetting. Very importantly you should sign out of iMessage & turn it off plus sign out of Find My iPhone if you have it activated.