Some users may determine that iTunes 12.7 along with the removal of the App Store and other changes are incompatible with their particular workflow. With a little effort, you can downgrade iTunes 12.7 back to iTunes 12.6 on either a Mac OS computer or Windows PC.
Most people should not downgrade iTunes nor attempt to downgrade, this is really only appropriate for advanced users who must use an earlier version for some particular reason. Before downgrading iTunes 12.7 you should know that you can manage and download apps on iPhone or iPad without iTunes, directly in iOS as detailed here, including manually copying apps to the iPhone or iPad via IPA files.
You should backup your computer before beginning this process. Failure to backup could result in permanent data loss or data removal. Do not skip backing up your computer before beginning.
This process is basically three parts: deleting iTunes, restoring the old iTunes Library file, and then downloading the older version of iTunes and installing it.
How to Downgrade iTunes 12.7 to 12.6 on Mac
Back up your Mac before beginning the iTunes downgrade process. Do not skip backing up your Mac or else you may lose data, apps, music, media, or general functionality.
- Back up the Mac if you haven’t done so already
- Quit out of iTunes
- Now open the Terminal application in Mac OS, found in /Applications/Utilities/ and type the following exactly, then hit return:
- Now you’ll be in the Applications folder via command line, the next command syntax must be precisely entered to remove iTunes, make sure the syntax is exact:
sudo rm -rf iTunes.app/
- Be absolutely certain your syntax reads the same, rm is unforgiving and will delete any file permanently it is pointed at. When certain you are pointing at iTunes.app/ only, hit return and authenticate with an admin password to completely delete iTunes
- Now go to the Finder of Mac OS and visit your user ~/Music/iTunes/ folder and locate the file named “iTunes Library.itl” and move it to the Desktop, or another easily found location
- Still in ~/Music/iTunes/, now open the folder titled “Previous iTunes Libraries” and find the most recent dated iTunes Library file (these are labeled as whatever date you installed the latest iTunes, for example “iTunes Library 2017-09-12.itl” or similar) and make a copy of that file
- Drag the copy of “iTunes Library 2017-09-12.itl” to the ~/Music/iTunes/ folder and rename it to “iTunes Library.itl”
- Now go to Apple iTunes Downloads page here and locate “iTunes 12.6.2” and choose to download that to the Mac
- Install iTunes 12.6.2 on the Mac as usual, then launch iTunes once complete
That’s it, you’re now back to the prior version of iTunes.
To avoid downloading iTunes 12.7 again you may want to hide it from the Mac App Store or turn off automatic updates.
How to Downgrade iTunes 12.7 in Windows
Downgrading iTunes 12.7 can be done in Windows as well by uninstalling iTunes and then reinstalling the old version. You’ll still want to restore the old iTunes Library .itl file however.
- In Windows, navigate to where your iTunes Media folder is and open “Previous iTunes Libraries” and make a copy of the most recently dated iTunes Library.itl file in that directory
- In Windows, open Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features and go to “Uninstall or change a program”
- Choose “iTunes” and choose to Uninstall iTunes 12.7 from the Windows PC
- Download and install iTunes 12.6 from Apple using the following links (direct download links to exe files via Apple CDN), get the 32 or 64 bit version appropriate to your Windows installation :
- Relaunch iTunes after installation has completed
It’s important to not skip the ‘iTunes Library.itl’ file process because if you do not restore the previous iTunes Library file you will get an error message stating “iTunes Library.itl cannot be read because it was created by a newer version of iTunes”. Typically you can override those error messages by rebuilding an iTunes library, but if you can avoid that you may as well.