How to Downgrade iOS Applications

This article serves to guide those looking to downgrade their iOS applications for whatever reason.

Tools Required:

  • Any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  • The latest version of iTunes (NOTE: iTunes 11 no longer supports Custom IPSW files; you will need to find iTunes 10, and/or use a developer registered device with XCode to test applications not on the App Store)
  • Mac or PC

The two main goals of this procedure:
1)  Run older versions of apps on devices that don’t support the latest iOS:

Note: As of October 2013, users running unsupported/deprecated versions of iOS will find that it is now possible to download the latest supported version of an app for their device (i.e. Pages for iOS on an iPad 1; the newest version supports only iOS 7 and above, but an older version can be downloaded in its place, rendering an iDevice useful once again).

2) Allow end users of current iOS builds to revert apps to older states – i.e. a new update could include a serious flaw/bug/etc.

This article covers how to downgrade for both non-jailbroken and jailbroken iOS Devices.

NOTE: Downgrading apps that are server based will likely leave the app in question ineffective. Some examples are: Let’s Golf 3 (or most Gameloft apps), Twitter clients not using Twitter API v1.1, and so forth.

Downgrading a Version of an App normally (No Jailbreak):

1.) Search your Recycle Bin/Trash for the app you want to downgrade. You need to look here, since iTunes by default moves older versions of Applications to the Trash/Recycle Bin, but does not delete them.

1.1) Apps may not show up initially, since it may be a hidden file. You will need to enable Hidden Files and Folders; On OS X, launch Terminal.app and write the command “defaults.write.com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE” sans quotes. If you aren’t comfortable with Terminal, here are some other methods of enabling Hidden Files and Folders (Macintosh | Windows)

1.2.) Once you’ve enabled Hidden Files and Folders, search for the app in the Recycle Bin/Trash once more. When it appears drag it out of the Trash and onto the Desktop (or any directory you desire). If you still cannot find the app, it is either deleted from the system, or your files/folders are not hidden.

3. Now, you need to delete the current version of the app in question. In the App pane in iTunes, delete the specified App simply by right clicking it and selecting Delete. When prompted, make sure you select “Move All Files to Trash”. By not selecting this option, your older app may sync incorrectly.

4.) With iTunes open, drag the app you want from the Desktop (or wherever) into the iTunes menu bar. A small + icon should verify the app is ready to be moved into the Applications folder. (You may also work directly with folders in Finder/Control Panel if you wish. The path needed is /username home folder/Applications/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Mobile Applications.)

4.1) To verify that the older version of the app in question will sync correctly, right click the app (in iTunes) and select Get Info. Under the Account Name, it should read the Apple ID used to purchase the app. If it does not, you MUST authorize the particular Apple ID with your computer. To do so, go to Store<Authorize Account and enter the specified Apple ID and password.

5.) Sync as normal. If the app requires login credentials, you will more than likely need to provide them again. As I noted above, some applications may be affected by server changes, and may not operate as intended once on the device. This would include Twitter clients that have not updated to the v1.1 API and Gameloft applications.

Downgrading via Crack (Jailbroken devices only)

1.) Make sure your device is Jailbroken. If your iDevice is not jailbroken, you can find out how to jailbreak here. If you’re unsure whether or not your device can be jailbroken, use this checklist.

2.) You will need access to a repository that offers a tweak/package allowing cracked applications to sync. For this example, we will refer to AppSync. Open Cydia and Navigate to the following: Manage<Sources<Edit<Add. Now add the following Repo (URL): http://repo.hackyouriphone.org/. Once the repo is added successfully, let the device reboot/respring.

3.) Open Cydia again. Once the repo shows up in your repository list, search for AppSync for iOS 6.x. (Note: I have not yet tried AppSync for iOS 5.0 and above). Download and Respring/Reboot.

4.) Now, refer to the guide above for non-jailbroken devices. You will follow the guide step by step, except you will be transferring cracked apps (rather than ones from your Trash) into iTunes. If you need a place to find apps, here’s one of them. (Note: I don’t encourage pirating paid iOS applications. You should use sources like these to find older versions of applications only)

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.

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