How to reinstall previous versions of Apps on iPhone

I have read many, many reviews on iTunes where users were complaining about losing features when they updated an app, or the new version kept crashing, or it was just a very bad update. Sadly almost all of these users are unaware that you can easily reinstall the old version. That being said, I would like to issue this warning, read the most recent reviews before updating an app you use frequently or care about.

The app update process works by downloading the new version and placing the old version into the trash. When you update from your device and sync with iTunes it will pull the new version from your devce and place it into iTunes while moving the previous one from iTunes to the trash. Now suppose that the new version has added ads or removed features, or just plain doesn’t run well on your device. You are not out of luck. Simply delete the app from your device, delete the new version from iTunes and drag the previous version back in. You can now sync it to your device again. So as long as you haven’t emptied the trash since you updated you will still have access to the old version.

I would suggest backing up all old versions just to be safe. When you update and apps are moved to the trash can, simply drag them into another folder. Create a backup folder and store it somewhere on your hard drive. Now if an update is just horrible you can leave a review and let the programmer know, but you won’t be out of luck until the mistake is fixed. By the way, this is for both windows and mac.

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~ by bharter on October 29, 2009.

16 Responses to “How to reinstall previous versions of Apps on iPhone”

  1. Very insightful! Good job, Brandon :)

  2. where i can find in i tunes the older version and how can i activate it in my i phone or install in i phone and how can i remove 3.1 version from my i phone

  3. do you now how to activate the new version with another Sim card or how to install older version of i phone

  4. please reply meee into my email viganshala@yahoo.com or replay in your web page pleaseee

  5. The drag and drop method didn’t work for me, but the following process* did. (FYI – This still requires that you have a backup copy of the app you wish to reinstall).

    1. Delete new app from iPhone
    2. Delete new app from Applications “folder” via iTunes
    3. Still in iTunes, go to the File menu then click on “Add File to Library…”
    4. Navigate to the location of the app (old version) you wish to restore and select open.
    5. Re-sync and enjoy

    Just remember you will have to update apps individually in the future or this process will have to be repeated.

    *Tested on Windows only

    • I am guessing the drag and drop method didn’t work because you are on a Windows OS. iTunes isn’t always as friendly with Windows. I am glad you got some method to work. It is always frustrating when you update an app to find out that they removed features or broke the compatibility with the OS on your device. I am still using Shazam from back before they limited the tags per month, I never plan to upgrade, doing so will just cripple the app.

  6. Does this keep the settings and books you had accumulated, e.g., for an ereader such as Stanza?

    • This won’t keep settings. But if you upgraded Stanza, it should have kept the book on your iPod right? Doesn’t Stanza offer a desktop app to transfer books onto and off of the iPod/iPhone?

  7. how to delete new version
    ?and where can i g\find the old version?:|

  8. OMG thank you so much! I downloaded the newer Paypal App and could not view status of checks i recently took pictures of and sent them to paypal. But on the older version I could. So i emailed and called paypal and nothing worked they just told me the same thing which didn’t work. Even my husband (who is good with stuff like this) could not find where on the new app to see the status. I googled and found your site/info! did what you said and worked perfectly :-)

  9. thx buddy:)

  10. Thank you so much for your clear instructions! It worked and I am now a very happy camper again!

  11. Great sadness. The fix isn’t working anymore. It worked for a couple of hours and now is crashing worse than the new app. It plays for a little while and crashes back to Ipod desk top. Or sometimes it won’t even load but immediately kicks me out. Sigh. Any other ideas? I don’t have any other versions in my trashcan.

    • Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do at that point. You can try rebooting and see if that helps, but Apple doesn’t allow you to download other previous versions. I would recommend backing up the app somewhere every time you update an app just to be safe.

  12. Thanks for your time and help. I guess I’ll just have to wait for a newer version. I can’t help but wonder if upgrading my Ipod had something to do with it. Again, I thank you so much.

  13. Thank you for the tip. I didn’t realize this, and it still works in March 2013. I can’t, and don’t want to, upgrade from iOS 4.3.5 and the latest Facebook app doesn’t work, so I waste time checking for new comments embarrassingly often. Now that I have my old Facebook app back I can resume those push notifications etc.

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