How to Uninstall Updates on Android
If you don't like an app update, you can just undo it easily on your Android device.
Almost all apps have frequent updates. Some are security updates that contain bug fixes and fixes for performance issues. While others are feature updates that contain new additions to the app.
But no matter the context, sometimes an update just doesn’t sit right with us. And we desperately wish we could go back to the way things were. On Android, you sort of can. It might look complicated, but it isn’t impossible.
Note: If you want to uninstall a software update, that’s complicated territory. You can downgrade software updates on Android, but it requires you to root your phone, which will void your warranty. This is a guide for uninstalling updates for apps.
Uninstalling Updates for System Apps
When it comes to uninstalling updates for apps on your Android smartphone, the process is going to be different for system apps and third-party apps. System apps are the ones that come pre-installed on your phone.
It’s easy to uninstall updates for system apps on most smartphones. But there’s a certain catch. With system apps, you don’t get to decide which update version to revert to. Uninstalling updates will revert the app to the factory version, i.e., the version which was installed on your phone when you bought it.
Open the ‘Settings’ app on your Android smartphone. Scroll down and tap on ‘Apps’. Different Android phones might have a different place for this option.
In Apps, open one of the apps that came pre-installed on your phone. In some phones, there might also be an option to display only System apps. Go to the three-dot menu on the top-right corner and tap ‘System Apps’ if it has the option.
You can differentiate between these apps from others by the fact that they won’t have an uninstall option. Tap the three-dot menu at the top right corner.
The option for ‘Uninstall Updates’ will appear. Tap it.
A confirmation prompt will appear saying that this action will replace the app with the factory version, and all data will be removed. Tap ‘OK’ to proceed. The app will revert to the factory version.
Uninstalling Updates for Third-Party Apps
For third-party apps, there is no direct option to ‘Uninstall Updates’ in your phone settings. But there’s still an option to uninstall an update, and unlike system apps, you can choose which version of the app to revert to.
Note: Before proceeding, you should know that the previous version of the app would be downloaded from unofficial sources and not the Play Store. So, if you don’t want to download from unofficial sources, then there’s no other way to uninstall an update.
One of the safest websites to download different app versions is APK Mirror. APK Mirror is safe to download apps: it contains verified apps from developers. Another option for the same is an APK Installer which you can download from the Play Store. Both contain a repository of almost all Android APKs you could want.
Before the next step, you’ll need to find hardware specifications, like architecture and dpi, about your phone. Go to the Play Store and install Droid Hardware Info.
Open the app and under ‘Device’ information, note the details for the OS version and DPI (Software Density).
Then, go to the ‘System’ tab and also note the details for ‘CPU Architecture’ and ‘Instruction Sets’. The goal here is to determine whether your phone is running an x32 bit chipset or x64.
If your phone is 64-bit, it can run both 32-bit and 64-bit apps. But a 32-bit phone cannot run 64-bit apps. Most phones these days are 64-bit. If the instruction set contains the keywords ‘arm64’, it’s a 64-bit phone.
Now, go to the apps list in your phone settings and open the app you want to uninstall the updates for. First, tap the option ‘Force Stop’ just to be on the safe side that the app isn’t running.
Then, tap the ‘Uninstall’ button.
Then, open APK Mirror or APK Installer (whichever you’re using), and find the app version you want to install and click the ‘See Available APKs’.
After checking the 32-bit/ 64-bit, check the resolution of the app. If no resolution matches your phone’s resolution exactly, go for the ‘nodpi’ app version as it is generally compatible with all phone screens. Click the ‘Download’ button to download the apk.
On newer versions of Android, installing the app will be direct. A pop-up might appear on the screen asking if you want to download from an unsafe source. Tap ‘OK’ to proceed. On older versions (Android 7.0 and earlier), you’d need to enable a separate setting to allow app installations from unknown sources.
Go to Settings, and tap the option for ‘Security’ or ‘Biometrics & Security’, depending on your device.
Then, go to the option for ‘Install Unknown apps’. If you’re having trouble finding the setting, search for ‘Install Unknown apps’ directly in the settings.
Open the app you’re using to download APKs. For instance, if you’re using the APK Mirror website in the Chrome browser, then open Chrome. Then, enable the toggle for ‘Allow for this source’. After downloading the app, go to your downloads folder and open the APK file. Then, tap the ‘Install’ button.
Now you know everything you can do to uninstall app updates. If you don’t like an update for the app, you don’t have to stay stuck with it. Just use one of the ways to undo an update, depending on the type of app you wish to perform the action for.