Forums (Download) Forum

Uninstall updates to non system apps

I was wondering if there's a way to uninstall updates to any app besides system apps, or if not, is there a way to turn any app into a system app?


#1 Sluggers, Apr 16, 2018 at 12:33 PM
The reason you can uninstall updates to system apps is because of the way system apps work. There's the original copy of the app which came with the ROM, which cannot be changed except by a system update. Any updates are installed in /data/app, the same as user-installed apps, and in effect "take over from" the pre-installed copy. So if you uninstall the update the pre-installed version is still there.

When a user app is updated, the update replaces the copy in /data/app. As that is the only copy, uninstalling the update would be exactly the same as uninstalling the app, which is why that option isn't there.

For the same reason, when you uninstall updates to a system app you go all the way back to the pre-installed version, no matter how many updates it has had since: each update replaced the previous one, so you cannot just roll it back one version, all you can do is revert to the pre-installed one.

So if you want to revert to an earlier version of a user-installed app your only way is to find an apk of the older version and install that. The trick is finding a safe source. is one, but since it is a reputable source it only has back copies of apps whose developers allow this (which is quite a range, but not all). If an update is causing problems you could contact the developer, since they will sometimes let you have a copy of the previous version in these cases.

As for making any app into a system app, that requires installing it to /system, which requires root privileges. If you have root, then Titanium Backup can in principle move apps ("in principle" because it's a long time since I did this, and never with an odexed ROM, so I'm not going to promise success). I would strongly recommend using a custom recovery to make a backup of the ROM before making any changes to /system, including moving apps into the ROM.
#2 Hadron, Apr 16, 2018 at 12:56 PM
If you make backups of your non-system apps before updating them, then it is possible to revert to the older version if the update fails or isn't to your liking. However, most backup methods will only allow you to back up the app itself (apk) and not the app data. Without root the only option I am aware of to backup both is Helium, with root you can use Titanium Backup. The root/Titanium method is more efficient because it's a one-step process and you can back up to an external SD card so no PC connection required. But you have to be willing to root your device and there has to be a root available for it.
Converting apps to system, that can only be done with root and Titanium as Hadron said. I've done this in the past but honestly I wouldn't mess with it as it can cause more problems than it's worth.
#3 Fox Mulder, Apr 16, 2018 at 1:36 PM
Well I don't have root, and the app doesn't really have data I need to save or have an issue, it's because I installed a previous version of another app from about 4 years ago (the version) and you can use this other app with it to modify it and stuff, which I used to do 4 years ago, and it was fun. But the app doesn't allow previous versions of the other app... I've looked for tons of sources and haven't found an apk for it... I checked apkmirror, but it didn't have the version I wanted, but it did have two. I might be out of luck, I really wish I could get this to work...
#4 Sluggers, Apr 16, 2018 at 7:05 PM
I might root my tablet, not just for this though... Is there anything to lose from rooting? I installed the king root APK, but haven't opened it yet.
#5 Sluggers, Apr 16, 2018 at 7:40 PM
In principle rooting leaves your device more vulnerable, because by making it possible for you to give administrator rights to apps it also makes it easier for malicious software to obtain those rights. You should bear in mind what Uncle Ben said: "with great power comes great responsibility", i.e. once you have root you have the ability to screw things up that it wouldn't have let you previously, so use root with care.

Is there a custom recovery for your device? Can the bootloader be unlocked? What Android version is it running? The first 2 are connected: if you can unlock the bootloader (back up first, as in most cases this resets the device) and there is a custom recovery for your model then you can install that and use it to flash the patches needed to root the device. I prefer this to using some dodgy app to root the device (some of these things install their own crap in the process, for example), but not all devices have those options. The last question is because Android 6 broke pretty much all of those rooting apps anyway, in which case my preferred method may be the only one. In any case, the old dictum that rooting methods depend on the device, and any tool that claims to work with everything is lying, remains true.

The other reason I ask about a custom recovery is that this allows you to make a backup of the ROM, which I would always recommend before making any changes to system software (even trivial ones: my first bootloop came just from a very small theming tweak that didn't work). If you can't do that and a system mod goes wrong you may have no option but to reflash the software completely (once you modify an android device it's good to know how you would do that should it be needed anyway, but more important if you can't take a recovery backup).
#6 Hadron, Apr 17, 2018 at 4:11 AM
Should be aware that KingRoot is monetized by phoning home your data to servers in China to be sold to third-parties, and by showing you ads. It may or may not work, or it may even brick your be dragons...good luck!
#7 mikedt, Apr 17, 2018 at 4:52 AM
Yeah, I guess I won't root it then. I don't want to go through a long process of all this stuff...
#8 Sluggers, Apr 17, 2018 at 8:24 AM