Ever clicked the Update button in the Play Store only to find your favourite app has changed, and you don’t like the changes? Of course you have.
It happens all the time. Features get removed, the interface gets redesigned or, worse, it starts draining your battery overnight because the dev haven’t quashed all the bugs in it.
You’ve got three options. Uninstall the app and find an alternative—not ideal especially if it’s a paid app—learn to live with it, or roll back to the previous version you liked so much.
In order to downgrade to an older version of an app you will need to have a backup of that older version in the first place. If you’ve got a rooted phone and play around with ROMs or other hacks, then there’s a good chance you’ve got one knocking around even without realising.
Every time you implement some kind of hack on your device you should create a Nandroid backup. This is a complete snapshot of your system—the OS, the data, and the apps.
A Nandroid backup is normally used to restore your phone to its previous state, but you can use an app like Titanium Backup to extract the contents of the Nandroid, and this includes individual apps.
As long as the backup was made before the app was updated you’ll be able to extract the older version of the app in question and you’re good to go.
As mentioned, you will need to have a Nandroid backup to work with. You need a rooted device to create one, and you should create one every time you flash a ROM or install any other mod.
If you’re rooted you’ll probably have one to hand, and might even have an older long forgotten one on an SD card too. If not, create one though recovery for future use.
Using Titanium Backup Pro
To be able to extract files from a Nandroid backup you need Titanium Backup Pro, from the Play Store. There are free apps that will do similar things, but TB is our preferred option.
Open TB Pro and grant it root permissions when prompted.
Tap Menu in the top right corner then scroll down to Special backup/restore. Choose Extract from Android backup from this list. Your list of available backups will be displayed.
Choose the backup you want to restore your app from. It will most likely be the most recent (they’re named automatically by date and time).
Nandroid backups are typically several GB in size, so it’ll take a few minutes for Titanium Backup to analyse it.
View the contents of your Nandroid backup
You can now see the contents of the Nandroid backup. Select App+Data, App Only or Data Only depending on what you want to restore. We’d suggest not to choose Select All, but instead restoring only on an as-needed basis.
Tap the green tick icon in the top right corner. The restore process will start immediately.
The progress bar is not very accurate as the percentage indicator shows how many tasks have been completed rather than the progress throughout the whole process.
Again, it’ll take a couple of minutes. You can click away from the app while it does its thing. A notification will tell you when the job is complete.
Locate your newly restored app in the apps drawer and open it to make the process has been completed properly. Not only should you have an older version of the app, but your data should be there too.
Turn off auto-updates
Finally, you will need to stop the app from auto updating, otherwise this old version will very quickly be replaced by the new one again.
Find the app in the Play Store. You should already see that an update is available for it. Uptick the Auto-update box, and remember not to update it in future.