Most of us look forward to the app upgrades. After all, the upgrades are meant to enhance your user experience. But, the upgrades are not always pleasant. Sometimes, they snatch away the things you liked the most about the app. Thus, it only makes sense if you want to get back to the older version.
Even though there is no official way to downgrade, you can still do it easily by downloading the APK file of the older version from the web. That’s cool, but there is a little hiccup. When you uninstall the new version of the app and install the older version using the APK file, you lose the app data. That’s not always desirable.
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If you wish to downgrade apps on Android without losing the data, there is a way to do it. In this article, I will guide you through the downgrade process! Keep reading!
WHY DO I NEED TO DOWNGRADE?
Upgrades are meant to enhance your apps and introduce new features. Upgrades make your apps better. Then why must I downgrade? Well, here are some reasons why you would like to step down the version of your app.
App Stripped Off Some Old Features
Yes! Upgrades introduce new features and functions to any app. That is supposed to make the app catch up with updated needs of the users. But, sometimes the upgrades take away the features that you probably love the most. If the removed feature is what you stuck with the app for, you will like to have it restored. In that case, the downgrade is the only option for you.
User Interface Isn’t No More to Your Liking
What you loved a great deal about your app was its interface. You had grown familiar with the layout. Perhaps, you developed a sense of belonging to it. And, suddenly an upgrade came forth and changed everything. You could no longer get the same feel. The way you interacted with the app before had also changed. Thankfully, you can downgrade to an older version and get back to the old.
The New Version is Ad Infested
App developers too need to survive. This is the reason why they need to introduce ads to the apps, especially if it is a free to use app. But, sometimes they overdo the ads, which, to say the least, could get quite irksome. Well, the solution is to go back to the old version.
PREPARE FOR THE PROCESS
As I already said, returning to a previous version is not while keeping the app data intact is not as simple as installing the APK file for that version. There are a few items you are going to need handy in order to downgrade apps on Android to an older version without losing data. Here is the list:
Computer with the Internet: You are going to download a few things. This is why you need a computer with internet connection. Also, you need a USB cable to connect your device to the computer.
ADB Tool: ADB stands for Android Debug Bridge. It is a command-line tool or utility you need to download on your computer. It is included with Android SDK. ADB lets you control your Android device from a computer over a USB connection. With this utility, you can copy or move files to and from the device, install or uninstall the apps, and do a lot more. While there are a few ADB utilities out there, we would recommend one of the following two:
- Google Binaries (an official ADB from Google itself): You can download it from https://www.xda-developers.com/google-releases-separate-adb-and-fastboot-binary-downloads/
- Minimal ADB & Fastboot: Download it from https://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2317790
Turn ON USB Debugging on the Device: While you can normally connect your Android to a computer using a USB cable to transfer files, if you need to use a utility with Android SDK on your computer, you will need to turn USB Debugging ON. This mode facilitates the connection between Android SDK on a computer and your Android device. Here is how you can enable this feature:
- Navigate to ‘About phone’ on your device using Settings menu
- Locate ‘Build Number’ and tap on it 7 times
- When you see the “Allow USB debugging” confirmation prompt, tap “OK”
Note: Certain devices must be connected to the computer first via USB in order to activate USB Debugging
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Downgrade Apps on Android Without Losing Data
We now have everything we need to get started. As you may already know, there is NO need to root your Android device. I don’t recommend rooting (unless you are absolutely sure what you are doing) as it can cause harm to the phone and may even turn it into a brick.
Here are the steps to downgrade the apps without losing any app data:
- Extract the zipped ADB that you have just downloaded on your computer
- Download the APK file for the app version you wish to downgrade to. There are plenty of online resources out there. I usually use APKMirror as it has a huge collection of APK files and you are more likely to find what you are looking for here than anywhere else. Here is the link to their website: https://www.apkmirror.com/
- Now copy and paste the downloaded APK file to the ADB folder that you just extracted
- Hold down the Shift key and right click anywhere on the empty space
- Click “Open PowerShell window here” on the menu
- Copy and paste these commands on the command line:
adb push chrome-old.apk /sdcard/chrome-old.apk
adb shell pm install -r -d /sdcard/chrome-old.apk
Note: chrome-old.apk is just the sample name. It will be replaced by the APK file name you have on your computer
That will be all! You can check the App Info to confirm the version of the app. It will be the old version you intended to install.
Access the app as you normally would. Every bit of data will have remained intact during this process.