IOS – bypass the error 3194 when downgrading from iOS 6 to 5.1.1 on a locked Verizon iPhone 4S


TLDR: When downgrading from iOS6 to 5.1.1, even with a standard .ipsw file and modified .hosts file (or TinyUmbrella), I get the error 3194 in iTunes. Help?

I recently purchased a used iPhone 4S which is locked to Verizon. This is a problem, as I'm in Canada, and the international Verizon plans are expensive. I need to unlock.

The second problem is that the phone came with iOS6 installed on it. Although I was told that it was a beta, I was also told it was official (Grand Master build), and in any case, I managed to (somehow) wipe out and reinstall the official iOS 6 from iTunes.

Since I don't have the original OS, I downloaded 5.1.1 4S from Redmond Pie. Unsure if this was the stock iOS, I downloaded it (again) from another source, and the two binaries are the same — leading me to believe that this is an original iOS 5.1.1 image.

Steps I took to install iOS 5.1.1:

  • Close iTunes
  • Turn off the phone
  • Edit the .hosts file (to add the Cydia IP, or remove it, or launch TinyUmbrella)
  • Save changes (if applicable)
  • Open up iTunes
  • Boot my phone in recovery mode (shows a "plug in to iTunes" graphic)
  • Let iTunes figure out my phone is in recovery mode
  • Shift-Click "recover" and select the image
  • Watch until it reaches the step about verifying the ipsw file is from Apple
  • Observe an error 3194

To spell out my permutations explicitly, for step #4, I have tried:

  • Adding the IP for Cydia
  • Commenting out the IP for Cydia
  • Removing the IP for Cydia
  • Running Umbrella 6.00.0000 and 6.00.0001

I'm not sure what to do next to downgrade.

Best Answer

Unfortunately, iOS 5.1.1 is no longer being signed by Apple.
Basically, Apple provides a digital signature to iTunes when you try to restore a firmware. If the signature isn't provided, you're unable to restore because Apple only signs the most current version of the firmware for the device you're using.

The Dev-Team Blog says this about downgrading an iPhone 4S to 5.x:

iPad3, i4S owners will always be able to RE-restore the current 5.x OS that's already on their device. So if you're at 5.1.1 when the window closes (and you've saved your blobs), you'll always be able to RE-restore to 5.1.1 again. This makes the 5.1.1 jailbreak a lot less fragile - you don't have to worry about messing up your install with funky extensions or getting into a boot loop, because you can always RE-restore from 5.1.1 to 5.1.1 again (or from 5.0.1 to 5.0.1 again, etc). But once you fall off the 5.x train by restoring to 6.x, you'll be stuck there until the next jailbreak.

So it looks like you're stuck on iOS 6 for now.

Regarding unlocking, your best bet is to contact Verizon. There may be a fee required before they'll unlock your phone, if they do.