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 How to undo Google app updates to Android Lollipop

How to undo Google app updates to Android Lollipop

Android’s new delicious sounding version Lollipop is a huge update for the platform. One of the biggest changes is Material Design which gives Android a beautiful and coherent look and feel. With the new update, Google released new versions for all its important apps like Gmail, Maps and Calendar which most users fell in love with the moment they opened the updated apps the first time.

The thing is, though, ‘most’ doesn’t mean all. Some of my friends aren’t that fond of Android L, especially its updated Google applications. One kept telling how awful the new Google Calendar is and that the round red button on the bottom right corner is the work of the devil. All he wanted was to revert the Calendar update so he can plan his daily events in peace.

googleapps

Revert updates of Google Calendar, Gmail, Maps and other apps to Android Lollipop

There’s a fairly easy way to go back to older versions of an app by downloading the its file and installing it manually. Before installing files from unknown sources you need to activate that in your settings. Go to Settings > Security and then check “Unknown soures”.

Before you downgrade an app, you need to uninstall it first. You can either use the Play Store app for that or by dragging the app to the delete or trash field.

Now you need to download the app file – also called APK file –  to your phone. A great repository of Android apps and its previous versions is APK Mirror. Using your phone’s browser head over to their Google apps section, select the app you’re looking for and download one of the available older versions. Which one depends on you. If you just want to go back one version then select the second one in the list (check the dates).

Here are the links to some Google applications and their latest KitKat version:

Once downloaded, open the file directly or by using a standard file explorer app like ES File Explorer and install it. That’s basically it. However, I recommend that you disable automatic updates so that you can enjoy the older version a little longer than the next Play Store updating process. You can do that in the Play Store Settings under “Auto-update apps”.

This method can be used for not only Google apps but also any other apps as long as you can find an APK file of an older version. But make sure that you trust the download source. Installing apps from other sources can be risky so be careful. Always check what kind of permissions an app wants while installing and cancel the process if something looks fishy.

Marc Knoll

Marc Knoll

Marc is an online marketer, avid blogger and technology enthusiast. His focus is on Android, tech and gadget reviews. He likes spending time travelling and reading all about what's going on in the tech world.
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80 thoughts on “How to undo Google app updates to Android Lollipop

Exactly what I was looking for in this moment 🙂 Thanks a lot !

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You’re welcome 🙂

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Yay! Perfect! Reverted Googles calendar app back to somthing useable. Utterly terrible update it was

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Marverdesays:

How did you do it? It won’t let me install the APK I downloaded.

I just HATE the new Calendar, the new Gmail mixing my email accounts without the decency of asking me first, and the sudden “7h 15m for a full charge” on my Nexus 10. Going mad…

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Hey Maverde, did you check “unknown sources” in your security settings?

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Marverdesays:

Yes. I did that. Even downloaded the ES File Explorer. When I try to install it says there’s an update. Whatever you chose Cancel or Install, it says App not installed. Is there a way of reverting to KIT KAT? PLS?

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David Eckelsays:

I get the same thing – I have disabled the stock calendar 5.0, downloaded the calendar 4.4 apk, loaded the apk, and it says “app not installed”

Can’t stand the update on my google nexus 7 tablet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE change it back to the way it was before!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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It updated my games except bingo blitz and no one can tell me how to fix this! Doesn’t seem like a big deal but I’m disabled and can’t do much anymore. How do I get the previous android version back? Nexus 7 tablet.

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There is no chance of downgrading if you have installed the entire Lollipop 5 OTA update, or is there? Because i can’t install these old apk, which is a pitty, the new calendar is a mess -.-*

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Marverdesays:

Same here.

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Bad_Attitudesays:

It’s not really that difficult to downgrade. You will need to install the android sdk, java se (jdk) and then flash the factory image. Google “how to flash factory image on” whatever device you are on. It sounds more intimidating than it really is. Download, install then update the sdk. The drivers will be in the extras folder of the sdk. Install the jdk (don’t need the runtime/jre). With a decent internet connection and average computer skills can realistically take 30-40 minutes.

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Graham_Douglassays:

Ok, but once in Kit Kat again, can we update some of the newer apps if we so choose? Not saying I want to do that, but I’m looking at just ditching this update all together. How about that? Choosing a previous Android version. That’s bad news imo. I can’t be alone in the feeling.

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Bad_Attitudesays:

Yes, if you downgrade to Kit Kat you can use newer versions of any of the google apps. The Play Store will offer you the updates or you can sideload them.

Graham_Douglassays:

Thanks very much. I’m just doing some backing up right now. I simply can’t believe that I’m rolling back the OS. I just can’t live with ugly. It would appear to me that I don’t care about added features. The lock screen additions to me are nothing short of a gimmick. Thanks again for the info on updating the apps.

Joe Bouchersays:

I’ve reflashed till hell froze over and I was kicked out. Lollipop is a virus more than operating system. Once back to a nice friendly working copy of kit kat, every time you touch the damn phone its trying to update to the aptly named SUCK program. And if you ignore it long enough, well it just updates anyway.

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kielmeistersays:

Thanks for the simple guide. I haven’t gotten the OTA update to 5, but I updated my apps and got the horrendous new calendar app. Having used the new calendar app, I am going to try to remain in kitkat until they bring back the good features to the new calendar. I thought I was doomed to the new calendar app!

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i updated to the new lollipop version … wish i hadnt !! its stopped a load of the kids games, and mucked other stuff up … wish i could change back, or get someone to help …. the games come up with a 505 error code ?

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Unfortunately I’ve not been able to rollback to the kitkat version of Calendar. Followed above process but get the message “Package installer stopped”. Ideas? I join the universal criticism of the new Calendar app. Font is too big so you your view of the week/day is diminished. Please fix.

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Try to go to your settings and then to applications and all. Select the calendar and check if you have the option “Uninstall updates”. If so, then you can go back to the app version which came with your system. Makes only sense if you’re not yet on Android L, though.

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Bad_Attitudesays:

Very useful article I’m sure for a LOT of people! I have often downgraded apps for various reasons and had a couple thoughts to ad. After sideloading an apk of an older version of any app that you want to replace you will always have to uninstall the newer version first before it will allow you to install the older version. You will always lose your data and cache doing so but not generally a big deal with google apps after they sync. With other apps you can restore data with Titanium if you are rooted, and you can also restore older app versions (if backed up) on top of newer ones with Titanium. All that said.. I stumbled onto this article trying to figure out which service completely prevents the OTA. Disabling the SystenUpdateService$Receiver In Google Services Framework no longer works on my N5 & N7. Damn it Google! 😉

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Sugary Spicesays:

Looking for a way to revert back to Kitkat completely. Man the new UI looks absolutely HIDEOUS to me. Matter of taste I guess, but I’d like to see the flat-trend die, and making everything white as well. Black will always be the new black.
If I wanted everything white, flat and ugly (and uncustomisable) I’d buy an iPhone, tyvm.
Now backup up all my data to force a downgrade =n=

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Missy Mastersays:

Nothing but problems since lollipop update. WiFi turns itself off, battery draining fast, apps not working properly, phone freezing. 🙁

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Same here including problems with the keypad sometimes not typing at all especially through whatsapp. My time on right hand corner is correct. Big Time display on screen is 1 hour back and my emails time is 1 hour forward. Not happy with this update at all!!

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Mine won’t let me go into the app store it keeps telling me to log in and won’t let me…

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Graham_Douglassays:

I agree with you 100%. It’s gross to be honest. The new features to me are absolute crud. To explain further, I’m suggesting that I don’t need these changes. It seems like a desperate attempt at redoing what already was fine. Wow, I can save .000001 seconds now with swiping up, left or pressing on a notification from the lock screen. I can live with that, but I can’t live with ugly. I’m still looking to a way to revert the look of this OS back to Kit Kat.

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autumnsays:

How the fuck do we go back? Good I’m do poised off right now

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Megalodunnsays:

I absolutely agree. It’s blocky, and it looks like a downgrade. It’s so awful. I really cannot stand it.

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ThomasHsays:

Hideous is the right word. I am stunned, that Google provides a new version without offering a “skin,” or a look-and-feel switch. So much does not work anymore, for example the night mode, or these ugly and obnoxious white popups on the lock screen. The new buttons are horrible to spot, new widgets e.g. in dialer virtually indistinguishable because they are all snow white with thin text and border. The author of the lollipop user interface does not have real knowledge about cognitive abilities of human brains. Or, its a matter of taste indeed??

In any case, I would like to revert as well. Stunning that the author of this article, Marc Knoll, writes about lollipop: “beautiful and coherent look and feel.” I beg the differ, on the very merit of my personal knowledge of cognitive abilities of our brains. Kitkat was quite nice actually, in almost every aspect, not so many apps, like the dialer or the incoherent clock/timer app, and that should have been fixed without destroying the familiar look and feel.

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HK Jayesays:

YO! Did you read that Marc Knoll is not an ‘expert’ on anything??? He is an ‘ENTHUSIAST of Technology’…which, to me, means he sits at home, on his computer reading and blogging about things all week. I bet he has NO significant other and lives with his Mama, too. SCARY!

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HK Jayesays:

When you figure out HOW to do it, PLEEEASE contact me and tell me how to put my 2 Nexus 7’s back with KitKat!
They DON’T work at all now.

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helplesssays:

I also Gaye it! But my main thing is that I don’t like that it has set my screen to a password instead of just swiping in. Any ideas how to change that? I previously had my own email app installed and now it makes me use gmail app instead. Help!!!

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HK Jayesays:

But of course…so they can keep an eye on you!

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iago's yodasays:

What a disaster. I can’t even open a single download or pic on my nexus 7 tablet after “upgrading.”

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jwillis84says:

..

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Updated to lollipop… Bad idea. Most apps crashing, or won’t open. Finding that rolling back to KitKat almost impossible… Never had an upgrade that turned my nexus 5 smart phone into a basic talk text Nokia… Until now…. Thanks Google, u rock…

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Angela K. Jonessays:

Same problem on my nexus 5 which I have loved up until this so called upgrade ruined everything! I want my phone to work again without having to start all over 🙁

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OK, I have downloaded both Apk mirror and the ES files. And I still can’t download the old KitKat calander. I don’t have a computer to do a system wipe. And I run a business so I need all the info in my calander. Someone please help, I am in tears!

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Bad_Attitudesays:

LOL. It really is easy. First go into the Play Store and go to “My Apps” and find Calendar. Open the page for the Calendar app and in the top right tap the menu button and uncheck “Auto-update.” I have auto-updates enabled for all of my apps and I uncheck the auto-update box for the few apps that I don’t want updating or you can turn of auto-update for all of your apps. In your device go to Settings/Security and make sure the “Unknown sources” box is checked. In your device go to Settings/Apps/Downloaded/Calendar and tap the “Uninstall updates” button. you will at that point have the default version of the calendar app that your OS shipped with and you can use that. On my nexus with 4.4.4 it is version 201308023. If it didn’t already sync you can go to Settings/Accounts/Google and sync your account. The newest “unmolested” version is 201404014, download it from apkmirror using Google Chrome. After it is downloaded you can open your notifications and if you tap on the “Download completed” notification it will offer to install it for you. Or you can use a file manager (ES, Root Explorer) and go to your Downloads folder and install it from there. Piece of cake!

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EstebanLBsays:

It didn’t work that way in the Moto G. When I choose to uninstall the updates, the calendar can’t be opened anymore and goes to version 5.0 something

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Bad_Attitudesays:

If you’re on Lollipop or Marshmallow you will have to be rooted to uninstall it from the system (system/apps) before you can go to an older version of the app.

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They should mix the good from kit kat with the good from lollipop. KitPop would be great.

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HK Jayesays:

EXACTLY…KitPop…or LolliCat…or PopCat! Thanks, SHUU…I needed that!
And THANKS Marc for at least trying to help us all! I am so ticked at Google I could spontaneously combust…NOT a pretty sight.

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The dialing and answer screen are horrible. fix up google.

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Leslie Baileysays:

Hey Marc — will taking the steps you set out above allow me to access my Outlook calendar again and to have my Outlook email in a separate app? I don’t completely understand which of the problems I’m having are Android’s fault and which are Google. Thanks so much.

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This is a terrible update to the calendar – so bad I am considering going back to using a paper calendar. The foolish designer(s) that came up with these “innovations” should be fired or demoted. To not be able to see the full month’s schedule defeats the purpose of having a calendar to plan ahead. Scrolling weeks at a time is a joke when sitting in a room with 5 or 10 others trying to pick a time to all meet. The manager in charge of this update should also be fired, they have now wasted countless hours of millions of users world wide as they search how to uninstall this unwanted update. Worse yet, I did update the calendar by itself first, within 1 minute of trying to use it I uninstalled it, simple enough, no harm. But then 2 days later the system update automatically forced me back to this unwanted calendar with no way to remove it yet again. You had better fix this quickly or I will NEVER accept an update again. Keep all updates separate and easy to uninstall, you are no longer to be trusted. TERRIBLE WORK ON YOUR END YOU FOOLS.

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hearisjacksays:

Well said, thank you MarkO.

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I tried to uninstall Calendar (lolipop version) from my Nexus 4 to carry out the downgrade to KitKat for that app only as set out in this article…
… But the only options are “force stop” and ” disable”… Uninstall does not seem to be an option anywhere I can see.

Can anyone advise?

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Bad_Attitudesays:

I haven’t run the Android L Preview in a while so I don’t know the version 5.* ships with but it definitely will be one of the newer ones. You have two choices, downgrade to Kit Kat or root your device. If you root your N4 you can go into system/app with a file manager (need to mount R/W) and rename CalendarGoogle.apk and CalendarGoogle.odex by adding a 1 at the end (CalendarGoogle.apk1 and CalendarGoogle.odex1) then wipe cache, reboot. Download and install the Calendar version you want.

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Mathieu Paquinsays:

Thank you sooo much. I had installed GAPPS 5.0.1, thinking I could just installed the older googlecalendar like I did with android4.4.4. Now everything is working

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Bad_Attitudesays:

Good deal, glad it worked for you. Couple thoughts I wanted to add are that for one thing you can always add the calendar app to ‘system/app’ and it will always be there if you do a factory reset or if you want to try an update you could then uninstall the update from Settings/Apps/Downloaded if you didn’t like it and have your OS fallback to your preferred version of the app which will always be there (until a future OS update). Just remember if putting anything in system/app to reset the permissions to rw-r-r (0644). 😉

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Angela K. Jonessays:

Help! I want the old version back on my Nexus 5. Nothing works now and even going into apps it force closes before I am able to do anything. Most games either won’t open at all or force close. This update is their worst idea ever!

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Threepwoodsays:

Sadly it sends once you’ve upgraded to android 5.0 lollipop, the Google calendar becomes part of the built in system apps and there is no longer an option to uninstall it. Before lollipop, I was able to uninstall calendar and manually install an older apk file no problem, it was perfect. Now I totally regret upgrading my phone to lollipop. If Google don’t fix the calendar soon, I’ll have to revert back to kitkat.

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Jesse Griffinsays:

OMG I F***ING HATE SHITPOP ITS NOT AN APPLE GOOGLE!!!

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Ashley Kinnearsays:

I need to find a way to uninstall lollipop update, I don’t even get service anymore because my phone company doesn’t support the update yet, its a giant inconvenience.

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Not impressedsays:

Terrible update my nexus 7 is a laggy piece of shit now went from 1300 free ram to 750. Thanks google

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Arameh Margosiansays:

Thank you very much for this 🙂

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Nic Goblirschsays:

Does anyone know how to go back to kitkat this update is just ugly it looks like ios8s failed abortion

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Swiftright Rightsays:

I honestly have not met a single real person who likes the new look. not a single person, notta no ziltch.

Seriously reading crap like this reminds me of how bloggers were gushing about win8 and how “everyone” loved it. And yet there forums and thread were full of apathy at best with a generous amount of disgust. MS claimed that it was selling like crazy and that consumers overwhelmingly approved of the new look and then sales figures came in and it was selling worse then Vista did.

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Frank Lee Speakingsays:

My Nexus 7 is now almost unusable. The login swipe screen? I can’t swipe to get to tbe number pad, it takes at least ten swipes. This Androud update sucks. Who wrote it, Microsoft techs?

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This update has ruined my nexus7 it won’t load some of my games and just cuts me off in the middle of others. And oh boy, it takes forever to load. I want my KitKat back

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jimblesays:

ITS HORRIBLE TURN IT BACK ITS CLUNKY AND JUST PLAINLY RUBBISH BRING IT BACK TO WHAT IT WAS!

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Thanks for this. Although, after installing the older version, I can’t find it in the Apps menu, so no shortcut.
The new version is terrible, There is so much wasted screen space, because design. I have a flexible 7 day work week and we use week numbers. Nope. Google has decided I can have a 5 Day view or nothing, no week numbers. In the old version you could zoom out so you could quickly have an overview of what your week was going to be like. Nope. Google decided it’s scroll or bust.
Guess I am going to use S Planner from now on…

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Phone is becomes too slow ……..

Its too bad version in android phones….
I want KitKat version back. : (

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Ruthie Paredessays:

I agree with you 100%. It’s gross to be honest.Like the previous user said “If I wanted everything white, flat and ugly (and uncustomisable) I’d buy an iPhone.” The new update apps freeze up, notification bar is ugly, cant view the contents without clicking on it, when new message received my LED light would lite up, screen wont lite up as well. How can i downgrade without doing factory reset?

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Pierresays:

The new Google Agenda is a disaster. Pictures everywhere of things I don’t understand. I liked how it used to be clean and simple. I used to create and view events from the view by month, which is now completely ruined.

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Kjersti Nyhagensays:

The review says most people loved it, but fact is I almost ALWAYS exclusively see people complain about Google, and with good reason. Google is true evil. I’m pretty sure Satan was incarnated into this world by Google. Everything they have done these past years, like fisting their shit unto YouTube, making it go from the best video sharing platform on the web to a mediocre one to pretty much anything else Google does is just pure shit that has NO respect for consumer opinion or needs whatsoever. I suspect all their designers and programmers are drunk or retarded, because nothing they make is even remotely user friendly. I truly despise Google, and hope they get cancer. They actually deserve to get cancer.

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Absolutely HATE the new look, especially the white and orange in messages, the change to calender, everything about this is AWFUL!!!! Had no idea this was going to happen when got message to update. If anyone knows of a simple way of getting the old version back, PLEASE post it here…this is vile….now regretting getting rid of my iPhone, stuck with this for 2 years now!!!!

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danielsays:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.concentriclivers.calendar an old version of the calendar for android 4.1
and on F-droid open source market

https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdfilter=calendar&fdid=org.sufficientlysecure.standalonecalendar

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Matthew Loughlinsays:

Firstly let me say that I have been a supporter of Android since its inception, I have even worked on a couple of apps for different companies.
Now, having said all that? THE NEW ANDROID UPDATE IS A CATASTROPHY!
Clearly it has not been thought through, it definitely has not been sufficiently tested, and in a lot of cases can render a device unusable.
For instance- Viber, it is installed on my phone, and on my pc, a friend rings me on my account and I answer on my PC, my mobile continues to ring, Viber is nowhere to be found on my phone and continues to ring until I restart the damn thing.
I try to reinstall Viber, the phone informs me that I need google play services installed to do this, none of my browsers work, so, finding Google play services is not easy but eventually i prevail through use of a tablet exploiting an android glitch that occurs when using the phone as a modem. I am then informed that I cannot install Google play services without….wait for it….Google play services being installed!!

I have now restored my S4 to factory settings, and am seriously considering a phone with another OS at my contract renewal in two months.

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Patricksays:

I learned my lesson on the last update from Google (KitKat), which completely changed SD card behavior. Since then I always back up pervious versions of apps that are important to me and never, NEVER, accept OTA updates until I check the reviews. If I had a way to easily undo lollipop, like simply downloading a file and clicking on it, the way you can with updates, then I might give it a test drive. But spending an hour of gathering and configuring to undo an updated which already has so many negative reviews… No thanks!

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Patricksays:

Pressure needs to be put on the carriers (Verizon, T-Mobile, etc), the phone makers (Samsung, LG, etc), and Google to come up with an easy way to the revert back to previous OS version… Just as easily as it was to install the update you should be able to uninstall.
And why is Google forcing the same look down everyone’s throat? Isn’t this the age of differences and personalization? Why is there no option to NOT have white in my notifications, to keep my tile view of recent apps, to allow an app to access my SD card if I want it to.. Quit deciding what I want Google!

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Tod Williamssays:

Android has absolutely RUINED teh pnone that I loved! My note 3 was wonderful…now all the apps look like absolute gargae

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anoojsays:

Oops I got a big problem I brought an HTC desire 816 , I like bigger phone with duel SIM and high quality. HTC desire is the best for it. Everything was going good. The only problem with my phone is it had only 4 gb internal memory but I had a high gb external memory card so it was not a problem for me .the phone is better than iPhone in many ways .but after updating android. My phone is almost not usable for any kind of entertainment . These days is it possible to use a phone with just 4 gb memory ? Huh I am not an iPhone fan .I want to quit this android will go for iPhone. Android will have a place in my closet sure.

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Ethan Rickelssays:

Where the f.. are my multi chrome tabs jeez us fuc

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Neil Sparksays:

Lolipop is junk start to finish. I want kit back. I would love is for Samsung to do note 5 with windows and Google can go jump ###!#%=#

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Robyn Lazarussays:

UGH this sucks so bad. I’ve tried everything on the Samsung site (that’s what I have) and nothing works to get my beloved KitKat back. Does anyone know an answer to this? A step by step process to revert back to KitKat? I’ve done what Samsung says, or I should say I TRIED to do what they say and there’s no way to open an exe file on my phone. Downloaded 6 different apps to unzip and supposedly open exe files and nothing. I’m sooooo mad! I switched back to an android phone because of the last update apple did which totally screwed up my iPhone. I ain’t buyin’ a NEW PHONE!!! someone please help

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You need a rooted device, rooting is very simple most folks are too scared to try it. I tried the first time no brick, with a rooted tablet you can endlessly flash to whatever android rom you want. If you favor android as released by Google however you will need to install Google specific services, as the whole purpose behind rooting android is to actually get rid of Google’s stranglehold on your device. You can also dual boot on rooted tablets, Linux being a secondary choice for an OS.

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HK Jayesays:

and NOW….TMobile wants to put Lollipop 5.1 on my brand spanking NEW Galaxy Note 4 phone!!! Sends me messages that will not delete, daily!
I am on my way back to TMo store to return the phone or have them get the messages gone, as I would not put Lollipop on another new device, NO MATTER WHAT! I have not had the phone 3 weeks! My Nexus 7 tablets are ‘toast’ b/c of Lollipop 5.0 and the multitude of REtries to REformat them via nice geeks who don’t know what they are doing.

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Definitely Right. Thanks

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