Sometimes, the latest version of an app isn't the best version. Bugs and issues can happen, and while rolling back to an older version can be a security risk, sometimes you just have to do it to keep things working. Once the troubleshooting basics are done and restarting your phone or "swiping away" the app from your recent list hasn't fixed things, it may be time for (slightly) more drastic measures. Here's how you can roll back to an earlier version of an app — whether it's a normal app or one of Google's new-fangled app bundles.

For many of our more technically-minded readers, this how-to isn't going to be presenting much in the way of new information, but it's still useful for those new to the platform.

We should also note: If you're rolling back to fix an issue, the first step is to let the developer know about the problem with a report. That way whatever issue you ran into can be addressed in a future update, and you don't end up stuck on an outdated version — which can be a security issue.

Uninstall the current version

Updated to include app bundle instructions

Following our previous update, which added details for more recent versions of Android, we've added instructions on how to install app bundles as well.

To start, you'll need to uninstall the app in question, and sometimes that's more easily said than done. Most third-party apps can be easily removed, but system apps your phone came with may not be uninstallable. The best you can do, in those cases, is to uninstall whatever updates may rest on top of the original app (we'll get to that later).

System or otherwise, the easiest and most universal way to uninstall an app is via the Settings app. It's possible to uninstall third-party apps or updates via other avenues, like long-pressing app icons in some launchers or through the Play Store, but this method should work on almost all Android devices. Feel free to skip this part if you have a different method you'd prefer to use.

Navigating to the Apps section of Settings in Android 10 (though it will look similar in earlier versions).

For 8.0 Oreo and later versions of Android (including Android 9 and Android 10), go to Settings -> Apps & notifications, and either select the app if it's in the recently opened apps list or select "See all ## apps" and find it. In Android 5.0 through 7.1—including Nougat, Marshmallow, and Lollipop—that list is accessible via Settings -> Apps. For earlier versions of Android or more heavily-skinned software, that workflow can be a bit different, but an option related to apps is usually found somewhere on the first screen of the Settings menu, following which you may have lists of apps sorted by tabs.

Show system apps option in App info list for Android 10 (left), info for a single app (right).

You may also need to enable an option to show system apps if the application you'd like rolled back shipped with your phone. In that case, you can typically display those apps via the three-dot menu at the top right of the complete app list page (though they may also be in a separate tab).

When you've found the app you want, tap it to enter the App info screen.

In the relevant "App info" screen, which should be displayed, you'll want to do two things. First, select "Force Stop" to ensure the app isn't running while we're messing with it. (This isn't always required, but better safe than sorry.) Note that it may sometimes be useful if troubleshooting to take a note of the current version by scrolling to the bottom of the App info pane (after tapping "Advanced" in some Android versions) and taking a screenshot of the current version number, or even just writing it down. However, it isn't required.

Once it has stopped, we'll need to determine how to uninstall the current version. For third-party apps, it's as simple as selecting "Uninstall," next to the "Force Stop" button. Follow the simple prompts from there, and the app should be gone.

System apps have a slightly different workflow, as they can't be entirely uninstalled.

For preinstalled system apps, you'll need to instead select the slightly hidden "Uninstall updates" option in the three-dot menu at the top right. A similar prompt will appear letting you know the factory version will replace the currently installed update, and all data will be removed. Keep in mind: you probably won't be able to roll back to an earlier version of the app than this factory version.

Install the version you want

Once the app is uninstalled, it's time to re-install the version you want. If only there were some vast, historical repository of almost every Android APK you could want or need for easy installation. Oh, wait, there is, and it's called APK Mirror. (And we run it, too.)

APK Mirror is pretty easy to navigate.

Just head over there and search for the app that you need. If you don't know which version you want and you're rolling back to fix an issue, try to remember what date you first started having a problem, and look a version or two behind that time. Also consider reaching out to the developer with a report of your issue, and check back in later that it's been fixed — you don't want to stay on an older version for too long, it can be a security problem.

Some apps also have multiple versions for different architectures and DPIs, so you'll need to do a tiny bit of research to determine which you need. Most modern phones will be arm64.

In Android 8.0 and later (including Android 9 and 10), installing from unknown sources is a per-app setting.

When you've found the version of the app you need, installing it is usually as simple as downloading it from APK Mirror and, well... installing it. Just tap the download notification to begin the process.

On older versions of Android (Pre-Android 8.0 Oreo — consider upgrading for your own security if your phone is this old), you'll have to manually enable a separate toggle to install apps from unknown sources. That's usually in Settings -> Security, or you can search in the Settings app for "Install apps" or "Install unknown apps."

In Android 8.0 Oreo and later, this is treated as a per-app permission. Your phone may indirectly ask if you'd like to change that for a given app, prompting you to enter settings and toggle the "Allow from this source" setting, at which point you can then back out to the installation screen and proceed. In earlier versions of Android, such as Nougat, you'll have to manually toggle a global setting that allows installing from "Unknown sources" in Settings (Settings -> Security -> check the box or slide the toggle for Unknown sources.).

When you've enabled that feature, back out and try to install the app again, and it should work.

However, if the app you need is labeled as an "APK Bundle" at our sister site APK Mirror, then you'll need the accompanying APK Mirror app to install it, and the process is a little bit more tedious. (Don't blame us, blame Google.)

Installing App Bundles

To install an App bundle, select "Download APK Bundle" for the app you need at APK Mirror, and a file will be saved locally on your device. Then you'll need to make sure you have the APK Mirror Installer app installed on your phone. You can get it from the Play Storeor you can install it from the APKMirror site — either is fine, but the Play Store is easier.

Once the APK Mirror Installer is, well, installed, then you can try to open that APK Bundle file. You can do that through the notification you may still have from the completed download, or you can navigate to your download folder in a file browser. If you used Chrome, you can also access it via the three-dot menu -> Downloads.

Opening an app bundle file from APK Mirror. 

When prompted, open the file with the APK Mirror Installer app. APKMirror Installer will feed you a pile of details regarding the app you're installing, like which architecture and DPI you need, but you can ignore most of that, it's just there if you know you need to change something about the installation to suit your device. The default settings will likely be fine.

Installing an app bundle with APK Mirror Installer. 

Tap "install app." On recent versions of Android, you'll be prompted to allow the APKMirror Installer app as a source for app installations as an easy toggle (visible above). While you shouldn't enable this setting for just any app, it's okay to do it for APKMirror. But it is there to protect you from apps that might install malware.

On older versions of Android (Pre-Android 8.0 Oreo — consider upgrading for your own security if your phone is this old), you'll have to manually enable a separate toggle to install apps from unknown sources. That's usually in Settings -> Security, or you can search in the Settings app for "Install apps" or "Install unknown apps."

In Android 8.0 Oreo and later, this is treated as a per-app permission. Your phone may indirectly ask if you'd like to change that for a given app, prompting you to enter settings and toggle the "Allow from this source" setting, at which point you can then back out to the installation screen and proceed. In earlier versions of Android, such as Nougat, you'll have to manually toggle a global setting that allows installing from "Unknown sources" in Settings (Settings -> Security -> check the box or slide the toggle for Unknown sources.).

Once the permission has been granted, you can navigate back until you're back in the APKMirror app, which will continue the installation process, or you can start over, attempting to run/install the app you downloaded from your browser or file manager.

APKMirror will prepare the installation, then your phone will ask (again) if you'd like to install the app,. Tap "Install" to continue, and you're basically done. Once APKMirror Installer has finished installing the app, you'll be prompted to open it, but you should be running the version that you installed.

If you run into any problems during this process, APKMirror Installer will let you know, spitting a large warning if the app installation fails for any reason.

Disable updates, if necessary

Once the version of the app you want is installed, your goal has been reached. However, you will need to keep in mind that subsequent updates are likely to replace the rolled-back version you have installed. Again, this can turn into a security problem if you end up stuck on a too-old version, but you can disable automatic updates to ensure the app isn't accidentally replaced.

Disabling auto-updates in the Play Store. (This may look slightly different depending on which UI you have for the Play Store.)

That setting can be changed on a per-app basis in the Play Store by tapping the three-dot overflow menu at the top right of a given app listing and unchecking "Enable auto update." Note that this could leave you open to security vulnerabilities that may later be patched in a given app, and without updates, you'll never see the fixes.

If you're rolling back because of a problem, make sure you reach out to the developer with a report regarding your issue, and check back in regularly to see if it's been fixed, that way you don't stay stuck on the old version of an app for too long.

And that's all there is to it. You should be rolled back onto whatever version you need for a given app.