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I have an app installed on my phone, which I've installed from the Google Play Store. If I update the app and don't like the upgraded version, is there a way to undo the update and downgrade back to the version of the app that I had previously installed?

I tried searching a bunch on this site, and I found lots of questions about downgrading the OS/ROM/firmware, but nothing about downgrading app versions or reverting an app update.

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    The best way I think is to have a backup of the app (at least its APK if not the data files; APK of earlier version of an app can also be obtained from some websites (beware of malware) if you updated the app and doesn't have the backup) so that if you end up disliking the updated version, then you can simply use that APK to revert back to previous version. That was for non-rooted devices. For a rooted device, well, use Titanium Backup to take complete app backup. – Firelord Jul 26 '15 at 4:01
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There is an idea by Firelord in the comment here which I think should work:

The best way I think is to have a backup of the app (at least its APK if not the data files; APK of earlier version of an app can also be obtained from some websites (beware of malware) if you updated the app and doesn't have the backup) so that if you end up disliking the updated version, then you can simply use that APK to revert back to previous version. That was for non-rooted devices. For a rooted device, well, use Titanium Backup to take complete app backup.

  • Yes it is a great comment, it's not really an answer. Rooting would work, but it's more of a work around, as opposed to a solution. Cause unless you root(which isn't officially supported by google/manufactures unless you are on a "dev" device) downloading apk's from 3rd party websites and etc could lead to all kinds of problems and isn't recommended unless you know what you are doing. Maybe that's why it was a comment and not an answer. But to each their own, I guess. – jer3my Jul 26 '15 at 5:21
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    @jer3my May be I'm misunderstood in the comment because of its length, but I focused very less on rooted solution. Android device be it rooted or unrooted will allow at least the backup of user installed apps (APK). There are many third party apps on Play Store that takes backup (APK) of user installed apps. I mentioned about websites considering when the user updated the app from Play Store and is in dire need of downgrading it. -- not a mention of root anywhere, right! :) – Firelord Jul 26 '15 at 5:29
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    Brian: Adding to Firelord's upvoted comment on this answer. If a comment seems to hold an answer, the approach at SE usually is: 1) leaving another comment asking the commenter to make that an answer, 2) wait at least a couple of days for the commenter to react, 3) if there's no reaction for a reasonable time (say 2 weeks), then write it up as an answer and consider making it community-wiki unless you significantly add to it. What you did is considered an "attempt to steal rep" – though that might not have been your intention ;) – Izzy Jul 26 '15 at 9:11
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    @Brian I appreciated that you want to learn and follow SE culture by editing your answer. However, your edit now invalidated the answer, and as such is not an answer anymore. In this case, it's probably better to delete your answer instead, unless it's rollbacked to previous state (honestly, considering for the site's moderation, I'm a bit confused what to do on this post before any participating users notice your latest comment)... [cont'd] – Andrew T. Jul 27 '15 at 6:17
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    @Brian I've rolled back to revision 1 with slight edit. But it's not enough to help the question. You might wanna add some input from you like how to take app backup (root/non-root) before updating it on Play Store, what are the safest or community trusted sources to download APKs if the app is mistakenly updated on Play Store. Both points are discussed already on this site, so you just have to search a little here. – Firelord Jul 27 '15 at 14:52
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I have successfully downgraded an app just now. I have the old apk file, but when I try to install the apk, it won't install, because it's an older version (logcat tells me this).

I have to uninstall the app and then install the old version. This will lose all the app data, but fortunately I have that backed up too. I ssh into my phone and manually replace the configuration file because the app doesn't provide a way to export / import configurations. This step requires root access. I have the backups because I have root access, too.

UPDATE:

I followed Firelord's suggestions, but it succeeded a little different:

adb install -d -r xxx.apk

The two switches should be used together (-d for downgrading, and -r for replacing the existing one; so -d would mean to downgrade a non-existent app...). They can't be subtracted to -dr like GNU tools.

I'm using Android 6.0.1.

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For system apps, there is a way to revert back to the version that initially came with your phone. If you updated a system app from the play store and want to revert the app to the original system version, you can do so by opening it up on Play Store and click 'uninstall update'; this will revert it to a system update. Furthermore you can't even uninstall system apps through Google play, so it's a fail-safe method.

If it's a non-system app, this doesn't work.

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Check out this website.

http://www.freewarelovers.com/android/apps

On this website you can find freeware applications and many older versions.

Other alternative is F-Droid who allows you to choose which version you want to install. And all available apps on F-Droid are here.

  • I can figure one way to test if the applications are identical and it goes this way... After the update let's say, and the user is not happy with the version of the application, but on the freewarelovers.com website is an older version. He can easy check if the application is the same. First leave the updated one, and then download the one from the website. he starts the installer. If the installers asks does the user wants to "update" the application that means it's the same app, if not it means it's the opposite. – FiN Jul 28 '15 at 12:33
  • Since most apps on Google Play are not open-source, I don't think this can be considered an answer of how to downgrade apps from Google Play. – Dan Hulme Oct 8 '18 at 7:13

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