Sometimes an app update comes along from Play Store but you wish you to stay with the current version and don’t want to update. But if Automatic updates are enabled, your apps will be updated automatically whenever any update comes in. Updates are always good but sometimes you wish to stick with the older version of the app, for some reasons. If somehow, your app has been updated and you wish to downgrade it without losing the data associated with the app, you can use the ADB capabilities of your Android device. Adb has a lot of control over your device than you can normally access. Root users may prefer to use something like App Downgrader on the Play Store. But for Non-Rooted users Uninstalling the updated version, then downloading apk and installing the app will coz loss of app data. Using ADB, it’s possible to downgrade an Android app version while keeping all of your data and without root permissions.
So rather than having to uninstall WhatsApp or any app for the purpose and go through the pain of logging into your account again, you can simply use this tutorial to downgrade app, using the only adb. If you want to downgrade an app, proceed with this tutorial but first, you need to have working ADB drivers on your PC. You can follow my Guide on How to Install Adb Drivers on Windows, Linux, and MacOS. You may also use a simple way to use ADB.
- Download the adb tools zip file on your PC. For macOS, Download This Folder.
- Extract adb tools anywhere on your PC.
- Open the folder containing adb tools, right click while holding the Shift key. Click on Open Command prompt here.
- Next, run ADB commands and you are good to go.
But be careful while downgrading an app as some Applications may upgrade databases with newer versions and downgrading may render these database files unreadable by the older version of the same application but this is rare.
How to Downgrade an Android App using ADB
So first, Find the APK of the app version you want to downgrade to using APKmirror or similar site like XDA Labs. Open the folder containing your
Open the folder containing your adb tools. Copy your apk file that you wish to downgrade to into this folder and open your command prompt by Right click while holding Shift Key.
Enable USB debugging on your device by entering Developer Options.
I don’t see Developer Options in Settings,
If you don’t see Developer Options, then go to “About Phone” in Settings and tap “Build number” 7 times until a toast appears. Next, press the back button and you should see a Developer Options section. Check USB debugging here and then connect your phone to your PC.
When ready to downgrade the app, run the following commands in your command window.
adb push app.apk /sdcard/app.apk adb shell pm install -r -d /sdcard/app.apk
Where “app.apk” is the apk file you have downloaded and want to downgrade to. Allow your phone to be debugged on the prompt on your screen if this is the first time you’re ever running adb on this phone. The application should then be downgraded and your data kept intact.
What is actually happening when we run those commands?
We use the first command to push the apk file to our device’s internal storage.
Then we used adb shell command with “pm” which calls the package manager on your device, and “install” installs the application.
The flag “-r” means “retain data” and “-d” means “downgrade”. So using both flags, you can downgrade an app on your phone and your phone does not clear the folder belonging to the application when it downgrades. Easy Right?
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