Update: It seems that Apple now lets you install older versions of apps when the new version is not compatible with your iOS device. This kicks in automatically (wherever the older version of the app is still available in the App Store).

One of the harshest things that can happen to any iPhone and iPad user is an app stops working correctly after being updated. And it happens a lot of times with a lot of apps.

Naturally, the first reaction – if you are new to iOS – is to look for going back to the older version. Turns out Apple doesn’t normally let you do it. At least, not easily. But like everything, there is a solution.

Installing the previous version of an app is actually pretty easy although it’s hidden beneath a veil of backups and drag-n-drops. In this quick tutorial, I’ll take you through the process.

How to Re-install Previous Version of Apps on the iPhone iPad

For this method to work, you should have a previous backup on iTunes (not iCloud). If you do not possess a backup, you can try asking your friends if they have an older backup which also contains the app.

The method works because when you backup your iPhone or iPad, all the apps get backed up in their then-current version. Which means they’ll be the previous versions of the app you just updated.

So let’s get started with how to re-install previous version of apps on the iPhone & iPad.

  • Open iTunes
  • Connect your iPhone and stop any syncing process that fires automatically.
  • Now, delete the buggy app from your iPhone.
  • In iTunes, click on the “Apps” link from the sidebar. This shows the apps that are available in the last backup. (or basically, all apps that you installed and synced).
  • Find the app whose older version you want to install and drag-n-drop it on the iPhone section in the sidebar. (The device section).
  • Now, all you do is simply Sync your iPhone with iTunes.

What if I don’t have a backup?

You can ask any of your friends who *might* have a backup of the app in its older version. Obviously, you cannot sync your iPhone/iPad on their computer so you can simply copy the app. To do this (on your friend’s computer):

  • Click on “Apps” section in iTunes
  • Find the app and right-clickShow in Windows Explorer
  • You’ll find the .ipa file. Copy this to your system.
  • Once done, you just have to drag-n-drop this .ipa file on your device in iTunes.

That’s it. You should have the previous version of the app now.

  • Da PropZone

    HELP! Since i tried to install a older version of some Apps it says that it can’t be synced and that i have to look on iTunes for more information. I run also iOS 9 and it doesn’t work in iOS 9 and earlier versions of iOS. Can someone help me? You can contact me on Twitter. My name is @HardDanceUp

  • Michele S (MikiSunshine)

    The latest version of the youtube app is awful. But this does not seem to work with my ipad2. Dragging and dropping it does absolutely nothing. It just richochets back to the apps list.

  • sam

    just tried it with an old youtube app. And i get the old version number..But the functionality seems to be gone.
    on my ipad where i did not update i still have the functionality ..it Seems that ios keeps track of sum data.
    Also on the command line i see sum versions of the new app starting with _ underscore making them invisible if you don’t do a list all on the commandline (or show all hidden file on osx).
    To sum up haven’t found where the data is being kept that tells the app to use new info..
    Kind of sucks..in don’t like not having control of my device..Keeps me from getting an expensive ipad, rather get something light that i can control.

  • DC

    THIS WORKED! Thank you!!!! The latest version of the ebay app is horrific. I was able to go back to v3.6 and so happy now.

  • matthew098

    Copying the .ipa from someone else’s library will not work as each app is linked to a certain Apple ID. It will not, therefore, copy to your iPad unless your computer is authorized to your friend’s Apple ID.

  • lisa c.

    I tried doing this with the old version of Messenger on my iPad to my iPhone. It didn’t work:(

  • Erin

    I’m hoping to be able to do this with my VSCO app on the iphone. After the update last night, every time I try to open the app, my screen goes directly to the apple logo and then nothing. Can’t open the app. If I delete the app to reinstall the older version, will I lose all of my library photos with the edits, or will it reload after reinstall according to my user info? Hoping you’re familiar with the app. Thanks!

  • Grilli

    where can i find these .ipa files on a imac?

  • 470user

    is there anyone who has Sunrise calender IPA for ios 7. I really love this app but it is no longer available for ios 7. really appreciate your help.

  • tbird635

    I tried this using a file from another person’s computer, and it won’t let me install because his account is not authorized on my computer.

  • Gwendolyn

    Is there any way to do this without an iTunes back-up? Can you do it straight from the iPad?

    • No. As far as I know, you need the ipa file from an older backup. However, with iOS 8.x, even that can go wrong.

  • thank you so much – you have saved my musicnotes library!!! So grateful..

    • 志成

      Hi Anne, do you have the older version of Facebook IPA file? Could you share it to me? Appreciated!