We have developed an improved adaptive iterative method based on the nonstationary iterative Tikhonov regularization method for performing a downward continuation of the potential-field data from a horizontal plane. Our method uses the Tikhonov regularization result as initial value and has an incremental geometric choice of the regularization parameter. We compared our method with previous methods (Tikhonov regularization, Landweber iteration, and integral-iteration method). The downward-continuation performance of these methods in spatial and wavenumber domains were compared with the aspects of their iterative schemes, filter functions, and downward-continuation operators. Applications to synthetic gravity and real aeromagnetic data showed that our iterative method yields a better downward continuation of the data than other methods. Our method shows fast computation times and a stable convergence. In addition, the -curve criterion for choosing the regularization parameter is expressed here in the wavenumber domain and used to speed up computations and to adapt the wavenumber-domain iterative method.