How to Downgrade an App Android

If you’re an Android user, you’ve probably downloaded an app or two that doesn’t quite work for what you need. Maybe it’s not intuitive enough to use and navigate through the menus is difficult, or maybe there are better features on other apps. It can be frustrating when your favorite app isn’t working as well as it should be! Luckily, there’s a way to downgrade an Android app so you don’t have to worry about these problems anymore.

How to Downgrade an App Android

In this article, we’re going to show you the steps you need to take to downgrade any app on Android.

How to Downgrade an App on Android?

Whenever there’s a new app update from the developer, Google Play automatically executes the update, essentially upgrading to the latest version of the app. The update usually occurs in the background without your knowledge. As a result, you may find yourself having to work with an app version that’s either too buggy to use, too complicated, or simply lacking the features that are necessary for your lifestyle. Downgrading the app reverts it to an older version.

Ways to Downgrade an App on Android

Downgrading an app takes two forms: with root access or without it. Let’s look at the difference.

With root access, your device must be rooted. Rooting is the process of unlocking the operating system of a device to attain administrative privileges. These include modifying the software code and installing apps that would normally be blocked by the manufacturer. Rooting is the equivalent of jailbreaking on iOS devices.

Rooting is a risky process. Making modifications to the manufacturer’s code makes your device more vulnerable to hackers and malware. Also, you lose your phone’s warranty. However, a rooted device comes with a lot of freedom. You can even uninstall the inbuilt apps you don’t need.

Downgrading an app without root access means you revert to an older version of your favorite app without unlocking the operating system.  It’s what experienced developers call the “safe” downgrading method because it carries less risk. If you decide to reinstall the latest version of the app, you do so without any problems. The only catch is that you remain locked out of dozens of apps not found on the manufacturer’s official app store.

Now, let’s look at the steps you need to take to downgrade an app on Android – with and without root access.

How to Downgrade an App on Android With Root?

For rooted users, downgrading is not too difficult to accomplish. To downgrade your device, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the folder that stores the app and delete its APK file. The APK file is actually the installable part of an app. Navigating through the Android’s file system with root privileges makes it easy to find where your device stores its apps.
  2. Afterward, navigate back up a few directories and download another version from Google Play or elsewhere. While at it, make sure that the new version is compatible with your device. Also, make sure that you can track the location of the new APK files on your local storage.
  3. Download AppDowner, a third-party app that helps with the installation of apps on rooted devices.
  4. Once you’ve installed AppDowner, select the new APK files on your local storage.
  5. Tap on “Install APK.” From this point, AppDowner should be able to complete the job.

How to Downgrade an App on Android Without Root?

If you choose to take the safer approach and downgrade without root, you can do it in three ways:

1. Uninstalling the Most Recent Updates

Not all updates work as intended. If your device is running on an outdated version of Android, for example, the newest version of your favorite app may not be compatible with your device’s old operating system. In these circumstances, you need to uninstall the most recent updates. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Open your phone’s “Settings.” The settings con take the shape of a gear.
  2. Tap on “Apps.”
  3. Open the app that you wish to downgrade.
  4. Tap on “Force Stop.” This will render the app dormant while the downgrade occurs.
  5. Tap on the ellipsis (three dots at the top-right corner of your screen).
  6. Tap on “uninstall updates.” At this point, your device will ask you to confirm that you wish to replace the app with the factory version.
  7. Tap on “Ok” to confirm.

At this juncture, you’ll have restored the most basic version of the app which should work without any problems. The only problem with this approach is that it may not work for all apps. Some updates on certain apps simply can’t be uninstalled.

2. Installing an Older Version From a Third-Party App Store

Currently, you can’t downgrade an app directly from Google Store. However, you can easily find older versions of today’s most popular apps on third-party app stores. These include ApkMirror, UpToDown, and ApkPure. Now let’s use ApkMirror to demonstrate just what you need to do to downgrade the app of your choice:

  1. Open “Settings.”
  2. Tap on “Apps.”
  3. Open the app that you wish to downgrade.
  4. Tap on “Uninstall.” This will remove the current version of the app from your device.
  5. Tap on “Security” and check the box next to “Unknown Sources.” This will ensure that your system accepts third-party apps.
  6. Head over to ApkMirror and download the desired version of the app.
  7. Install the app on your device.

The challenge with this approach is that you lose all your app data. So before uninstalling the current version, be sure to back up your data.

3. Downgrading Using Android Debug Bridge (ADB)

Having to start from scratch after losing all of your app data can be quite annoying. Luckily, there’s a way to avoid that. It involves Android Debug Bridge, an innovative technique used to safely run commands and install apps on your device.

Before starting the process, there are two things you must do:

  1. Turn on USB debugging on your phone.
  2. Install Fastboot and ADB drivers on your computer.

Once that’s out of the way, do the following:

  1. Connect your Android device to your computer using a USB cable.
  2. Allow USB debugging.
  3. Download the APK files of the app version you’d like.
  4. Copy the APK files and paste them into the folder carrying the ADB tools.
  5. While still inside the ADB folder, hold the ‘’shift’’ key and right-click on an empty space.
  6. From the context menu that pops up, click on “Open a PowerShell Window here.” This should open a command window.
  7. Run the following command:
    adb push app.apk /sdcard/app.apk
    adb shell pm install -r -d /sdcard/app.apk

In the command above, “app.apk” should be the name of the APK file downloaded. If you’re downgrading Instagram, for example, the command should appear as follows:
adb push instagram.apk /sdcard/instagram.apk
adb shell pm install -r -d /sdcard/instagram.apk

After successfully running the command above, you’ll have downgraded the app. You may proceed to open the app as normal.

Additional FAQs

Will I Lose My Data When I Downgrade My Android App?

It depends on the method used. If you uninstall the current version and replace it with an older version from a third-party app store, you’ll lose all your data. If you downgrade using ADB, you get to keep all of your data.

Can I Upgrade to the Latest Version After Downgrading My Android App?

Yes, you can! You just need to visit Google Store and install the current version of the app. You can also get it from third-party app stores.

Is Rooting My Android Safe?

If you’re not installing any software that could jeopardize your device or send your personal data over the internet, rooting is completely safe and beneficial for many reasons. Rooted devices can allow users to do things like use custom firmware and third-party applications that are often unsupported by carriers.

Choose What Works Best for You

Frequent app updates are necessary especially for the security of your device, but not every update may work for your device. Some may alter the feel and general design of your favorite software and make it less intuitive. Whenever you find yourself in such a situation, downgrading to an earlier version of the app should always be an option. Thanks to this article, you now have step-by-step instructions on how to downgrade any Android app on the market.

What’s your experience with app downgrade? Let us know in the comments section below.

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