Swapping Istio management from operator to istioctl

I have Istio installed via the operator (1.7 version) and I want to upgrade to the latest (1.5.3 atm) skipping the operator part and using istioctl.

What is the recommended way of doing it? Can I use

istioctl operator remove

just to remove anything of the operator and then use ‘istioctl’ like operator never existed?

Should I just delete the operator deployment?

Is there anything else to worry about / plan?

Istio / Istio Operator Install has info on uninstalling the setup when installed via operator.

Yes, but it doesn’t clarify what happens if you remove Operator but not touch the actual istio resource

Note that deleting the operator before the IstioOperator CR and corresponding Istio revision are fully removed may result in leftover Istio resources. To clean up anything not removed by the operator:

My question is: if i run

istioctl operator remove

and not touch the IstioOperator resource on the istio-system namespace, does the operator removal affect the IstioOperator resources, the istiod and istioingressgateways?

Because my goal is to remove the operator with the above command and continue managing the Istio installation via istioctl