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IPSW stands rather simply for i OS Software, and IPSW files are basically just individual firmware downloads for specific i OS devices.These files can be used to update i OS devices manually with the help of i Tunes.If you’ve recently downloaded an i OS IPSW file, you might be curious how to use it to update your i Phone, i Pod touch, or i Pad.

You can use IPSW files on Mac or Windows, both require i Tunes to work properly.

To use the latest version of IPSW firmware files to update or restore an i OS device, you’ll want to be sure you have the latest version of i Tunes installed as well.

Going the IPSW route can take longer to update than using the newer OTA (over the air) method, the reason being that OTA uses smaller delta updates than the larger IPSW files, which are the full sized downloads and are often literally 10x the download size.

You can also click on “Restore” and select an IPSW instead but you will lose the existing files and settings on your i OS device.

If you go that route, do not forget to backup beforehand.

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Though the average user is better off going the easy routes of updating i OS with i Tunes or OTA, IPSW can have very practical uses as well.A significant advantage to using firmware files can be found for users with limited access to broadband internet, where downloading a software update on a remote faster connection makes more sense.Typically you would then copy that IPSW file to a USB key or DVD to bring it home to manually update a device.Also, for users with many of the same i OS devices, having a single IPSW downloads let’s you conserve bandwidth by applying a single update to many devices.Rarely, firmware files are required to restore a malfunctioning i Phone, i Pad, or i Pod touch that is basically bricked, but still functional.This is somewhat rare, but if an i OS update is interrupted it can happen, which usually requires a device be placed into DFU mode and restored manually with firmware.Typically a normal i Tunes based restore is sufficient, which is why that is fairly rare.Finally, there are some cases where IPSW is necessary to create custom configured firmware for future restores.This typically ties in with the “Restore” method of updating, which allows the use of custom IPSW files, and is generally something created with a third party application like Pwnage Tool or sn0wbreeze.This is almost exclusively relevant to those who jailbreak and unlock their hardware though, and for the average user the standard IPSW files available from Apple work just fine.We have several comprehensive lists of i OS IPSW files hosted from Apple’s servers, you can see them all and access the downloads from the following places: Note that each list includes all i OS versions after 3.0.

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