Sometimes, you need to install an earlier version of an app on your phone. Maybe the new one is crashing, it may have introduced a new feature or option that’s broken, or you don’t like the latest changes. There are ample reasons to revert an update. On your favorite Android phone, reverting an app to an older version is a straightforward process, and we guide you through it here.
If you’re rolling back to fix an issue, the first step is to report the problem to the developer. That way, the issue you ran into can be addressed in a future update, and you won’t be stuck with an outdated version, which can be a security concern for some of your favorite apps.
Also, if you’re enrolled in Google’s Advanced Protection Program, you can’t sideload apps. That means you can uninstall the current version of a given app, but you can’t re-install an older version manually, and there’s no simple workaround. In that case, this guide won’t work for you.
UPDATE: 2023/04/24 04:08 EST BY MANUEL VONAU
Updated for 2023
This guide has been checked and updated for Android 13. The steps outlined below work the same for Android 10 through Android 13, minus a few visual differences and small tweaks in language between each version.
Step 1: Uninstall the current version of the app
To start, you’ll uninstall the app in question. Sometimes that’s more easily said than done. Most third-party apps can be easily removed, but the system apps your phone came with may not be uninstallable. In those cases, the best you can do is uninstall the updates that rest on top of the original app (we’ll get to that later).
System or otherwise, the easiest and most universal way to uninstall an app is via the Settings app. It’s possible to uninstall third-party apps or updates via other avenues, like long-pressing app icons in some launchers or through the Play Store. However, this method works on most Android devices. Feel free to skip this part if you have a different method you prefer to use.
Navigating to the Apps section of Settings in Android 13 (it looks similar in earlier versions).
For stock-like versions of Android 8.0 Oreo and later (including Android 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13), go to Settings > Apps (or Apps & notifications), and either select the app if it’s in the recently opened apps list or select See all ## apps and find it. In Android 5.0 through 7.1 — including Nougat, Marshmallow, and Lollipop — the list is accessible via Settings > Apps. That workflow can be a bit different for earlier versions of Android or more heavily-skinned software. Still, an option related to apps is usually found somewhere on the first screen of the Settings menu, following which you may have lists of apps sorted by tabs.
The Show system apps option in the App info list for Android 13
You may also need to enable an option to show system apps if the application you want to roll back shipped with your phone. In that case, you can typically display those apps via the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner of the complete app list page (though they may also be in a separate tab).
When you find the app you want, tap it to enter the App info screen.
You’ll want to do two things in the relevant App info screen, which should be displayed. First, select Force Stop to ensure the app isn’t running while you’re messing with it. (This isn’t always required, but better safe than sorry.) It may be useful when troubleshooting to note the current version by scrolling to the bottom of the App info pane (after tapping Advanced in some Android versions) and taking a screenshot of the current version number or writing it down. Still, it isn’t required.
After stopping the app, you’ll determine how to uninstall the current version. For third-party apps, it’s as simple as selecting Uninstall next to the Force Stop button. Follow the simple prompts from there, and the app should be gone.
System apps have a slightly different workflow, as they can’t be entirely uninstalled.
For preinstalled system apps, select the slightly hidden Uninstall updates option in the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner. A similar prompt lets you know the factory version will replace the currently installed update, removing all data.
You may be unable to roll back to an earlier version of the app than this factory version.
Step 2: Download and install the app version you want
If you’re in Google’s Advanced Protection Program, you can’t do the steps described below. This process won’t work for you because you won’t be able to sideload apps.
Once the app is uninstalled, it’s time to re-install the version you want. You can use APK Mirror or F-Droid to find older versions of most Android apps.
APK Mirror is easy to navigate.
Head over there and search for the app that you need. If you don’t know which version you want and you’re rolling back to fix an issue, remember the date you started having a problem. Then, look for a version or two that was released earlier than that time. Also, consider contacting the developer with a report of your issue, and check in later to find out if it’s been fixed. You don’t want to stay on an older version for too long. It can be a security problem.
Some apps also have multiple versions for different architectures and DPIs, so you’ll need to do some research to determine which you need. Most modern phones will be arm64. If you can’t find the version you need, we can help you find the right APK version.
Installing from unknown sources is a per-app setting in Android 8.0 and later (up to Android 13).
When you’ve found the version of the app you need, installing it is sometimes as simple as downloading it from APK Mirror and installing it. Tap the download notification in your notification shade or the pop-up at the top of Chrome to begin the process. Chrome may also warn you that you’re downloading a file that may harm your device, which you must acknowledge to proceed.
On older versions of Android (for pre-Android 8.0 Oreo, consider upgrading for your security if your phone is this old), you must manually enable a separate toggle to install apps from unknown sources. That’s usually in Settings > Security, or you can search in the Settings app for “Install apps” or “Install unknown apps.”
In Android 8.0 Oreo and later, this is treated as a per-app permission. Your phone may ask if you’d like to change that for a given app, prompting you to enter Settings and toggle the Allow from this source setting, at which point you can back out to the installation screen and proceed. In earlier versions of Android, such as Nougat, you’ll manually toggle a global setting that allows installing from Unknown sources in Settings (tap Settings > Security and check the box or slide the toggle for Unknown sources).
When you’ve enabled that feature, back out and install the app again, which should work.
However, if the app you need is labeled as an “APK Bundle,” you’ll need the accompanying APK Mirror app to install it, and the process is a bit more tedious. (Don’t blame APK Mirror, blame Google.)
How to install App Bundles
To install an App bundle, select Download APK Bundle for the app you need at APK Mirror, and a file is saved locally on your device. Then you’ll need to install the APK Mirror Installer app on your phone. You can get it from the Play Store or install it from the APK Mirror site. Either is fine, but the Play Store is easier.
Once the APK Mirror Installer is installed, open that APK Bundle file. You can do that through the notification you may still have from the completed download. You can also navigate to your Download folder in a file browser. If you use Chrome, you can access it by tapping the three-dot menu and tapping Downloads.
Opening an app bundle file from APK Mirror.
After opening the APK Mirror installer app, tap Browse files and confirm the media permission by tapping Allow if needed.
When prompted, open the file with the APK Mirror Installer app. APK Mirror Installer feeds you details regarding the app you’re installing, like the architecture and DPI you need, but you can ignore most of that. It’s there if you need to change something about the installation to suit your device. The default settings are fine in most cases. If they aren’t, the installation fails. However, your phone won’t crash or anything.
Installing an app bundle with APK Mirror Installer.
Tap Install app. On recent versions of Android, you’re prompted to allow the APK Mirror Installer app as a source for app installations as a toggle (visible above). While you shouldn’t enable this setting for just any app, it’s okay to do it for APK Mirror. But it is there to protect you from apps that might install malware.
On older versions of Android (on pre-Android 8.0 Oreo, consider upgrading for your security if your phone is this old), you’ll manually enable a separate toggle to install apps from unknown sources. That’s usually in Settings > Security, or you can search in the Settings app for “Install apps” or “Install unknown apps.”
In Android 8.0 Oreo and later, this is treated as a per-app permission. Your phone may indirectly ask if you’d like to change that for a given app, prompting you to enter settings and toggle the Allow from this source setting, at which point you can back out to the installation screen and proceed. In earlier versions of Android, such as Nougat, you’ll manually toggle a global setting that allows installing from Unknown sources in Settings (tap Settings > Security and check the box or slide the toggle for Unknown sources).
After the permission has been granted, navigate back until you’re back in the APK Mirror app, which continues the installation process, or you can start over, attempting to run or install the app you downloaded from your browser or file manager.
APK Mirror prepares the installation, then your phone asks if you’d like to install the app. Tap Install to continue, and you’re almost done. When APK Mirror Installer finishes installing the app, you’re prompted to open it, but you should be running the version you installed.
If you have problems during this process, APK Mirror Installer lets you know, spitting a large warning if the app installation fails.
Step #3: Disable updates, if necessary
Once the version of the app you want is installed, your goal has been reached. However, subsequent updates will likely replace the rolled-back version you installed. This can turn into a security problem if you end up stuck on an old version, but you can disable automatic updates to ensure the app isn’t accidentally replaced.
Disabling auto-updates in the Play Store. (This may look slightly different depending on which UI you have for the Play Store.)
That setting can be changed on a per-app basis in the Play Store by tapping the three-dot overflow menu in the upper-right corner of a given app listing and unchecking Enable auto update. This could leave you open to security vulnerabilities that may later be patched in a given app. Without updates, you’ll never see the fixes.
If you’re rolling back because of a problem, reach out to the developer and report your issue. Then, check back in regularly to see if it’s been fixed. That way, you won’t be stuck with the old version of an app for too long.
Rolling back to an old version of an app isn’t all that hard
And that’s all there is to it. You should be rolled back to the version you need for a given app. Android and apps in the Android ecosystem have become more stable than in the early days of the operating system, so you won’t need to use this often. It’s likely that the next upcoming version of Android, Android 14, will be more stable.