Have you ever upgraded an app on your iPhone just to realize that there is a major bug who’s soul purpose is to annoy the hell out of you? The best case scenario is that you contact the developer and they let you know they’ve identified the problem and submitted an update to Apple. Now you have to wait for Apple to approve it. If you can’t even get in contact with the developer… well, you can see how the situation could go downhill fast.

The good news is that you may be able to roll back to the older stable version you were once in love with. It’s actually pretty easy to do, and I’ll walk you through the steps below. A fair warning though… this is a lot easier if you haven’t emptied your Trash/Recycle Bin since the last time you updated the app. This is because iTunes moves old version of the app to the Trash so that they aren’t unnecessarily eating up your hard drive space. We’ll move on so that you can see what I’m talking about.

IMPORTANT: Following these steps will mean that you will lose any app-specific data in order to revert to an older version. So if you’re doing this for a game you will lose any progress you’ve made thus far.

  1. Backup your devices in iTunes because, well, it’s the right thing to do.
  2. Delete the app that was upgraded from iTunes, your iPhone, and any other devices that are syncing with your iTunes profile.
  3. Go to your Trash/Recycle Bin, and find the old version of the app. The file extension should be “.ipa” as seen in the screenshot below. If you don’t have the old version available there you may need to resort to Google to find an old (unmodified) download which can be extremely difficult and risky depending on the app. If you make backups of your iTunes directory (such as with Time Machine on the Mac) you may also be able to get the IPA from there.
    iphone app trash.png
  4. Copy the IPA file to your desktop or somewhere that you know it will be safe.
  5. Drag the file into iTunes.
    itunes install app.png
  6. Sync your devices with iTunes.

That’s all there is to it. There is just one annoying factor now, and it’s that iTunes and all your devices will constantly want you to update that particular application. If you do that, however, you’ll wind up in the same situation that brought you here in the first place. So I know the temptation may be tough, but steer clear of the “Update All” button.