The latest version of an app can be problematic for a number of reasons. Updates can remove important features, or they might not be designed with your OS in mind. Sometimes your phone can’t handle a buggy release, and it’s annoying if it’s an app you use frequently. You won’t be able to downgrade an Android app directly from the Play Store, and it’s going to take a bit of searching to find the right file.
Some apps will automatically update, leaving you with no choice in the matter. Even if you’re unrooted, you can still get the older version back if you need to. It’s usually best to downgrade the app entirely, so here’s a guide showing the best method to get the job done, along with everything you need to know.
Downgrading Android Apps
Once you find an older version of the app online, you can download and transfer it to your device. (If you have the correct version on another device you can simply transfer the file across.)
You’ll be searching for an APK file. This is the file type for all Android apps. Remember to be careful when downloading files from the Internet, as they can sometimes come with malware attached. Unfortunately, it’s the only way to get older versions for free.
APK Mirror is the website we used, and they have a reputation for having good files. There’s little chance of malware because the site was made by Android Police. The site provides clean files specifically for downgrading apps, so there’s not much danger. They only deal with legitimate apps, so you’ll have to look elsewhere for anything else. People often get caught out when there aren’t any other options available, so make checks before you start downloading files from a dodgy website.
Downgrading an Android app
1. The first thing to do is find the file that you’re looking for. You’ll have to check for the correct version of the app and search the Web for it using your phone or computer browser to find the file. (It’s probably easier to use a computer.)
2. Once you’ve found the correct file, download and move the APK to your phone.
3. Uninstall the original app from your device.
4. Open a File Manager app on your phone, and navigate to your download.
5. Tap it to open it, and it’ll install on your device. (You may have to allow for installation of apps from unknown sources.) This can be done by opening the Settings menu and checking in either Apps or Security.
6. When you next open the app, it will now be the version that you downloaded from the APK file. That’s all it takes to get the job done.
(Make sure to turn off auto-updating apps in your settings if needed. Here’s a guide if you’re not sure how to do it.)
It’s a pity that you can’t just downgrade apps directly from the Play Store, and it would be good if they released a way to do so in the future. Currently there are no plans, but we can always hope for a faster fix.
There’s always a danger in terms of downloading files found on the Internet, but it’s often the only way to get exactly what you need. There are still a few websites that can be trusted if you know where to look, but be wary. You can download antivirus software for your device if you’re worried, but APK Mirror is still a great resource to turn to.
It’s a slightly time-consuming process, but it’s worth it if an app keeps crashing or if you miss an older ad-free version of something you use everyday. You can back up important apps if you’re worried about losing anything in the future, but at least you’ll now be able to download and install any previous versions with little to no hassle. (Make sure to turn off automatic-updates within the Play Store when you’re done.)
Of course, older versions of apps are more susceptible to hacks and issues as support drops off, so make sure to keep your personal data on guard. It’s probably best to look at those Antivirus apps if you do.
Image credit: Healthcare Apps for Android Tablets
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