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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.

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.

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