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Workaround To Get Older iOS App on iPhone

MrGuder

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Original poster
Nov 30, 2012
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I hope this might helps others....
Yesterday I updated my Mac Mini from Mavericks to Sierra, then I had to update my iPhone from iOS 9 to 11. I held off updating as long as I could and too many apps were no longer working so I decided to go full ahead.

After updating, I realized that the new iTunes 12.7.4 removed the feature that allowed you to manage your apps in iTunes. This was a bummer. However I found a work around that works if you do certain things first. Here is what worked for me.

I had this app called Hi-Def Radar from the app store that worked perfectly on my iPhone 6s using iOS 9, the app developer issued an update (while I was still on iOS 9 and I tried it but did not like the new features so I reverted back to the old app (to do this was a lot simpler when iTunes allowed you to manage your apps)

First let me prelude and say that I always uncheck the option in iTunes to update apps automatically and on my phone as I like to update them myself to avoid updating an app that I don't want for this very reason.

So when I updated my iPhone to 11, I inadvertently updated all my apps in the App Store>Update tab (on my iPhone) I clicked update all in error. After they were updated I realized what I did and remembered this weather app that I didn't want to update.

So I knew the ipa file was still on my Mac Mini (and I had not synched my iPhone to the new iTunes yet)

Here is how I got my old app back on my iPhone.
I deleted the new app from my iphone (the updated weather app Hi Def Radar) by pressing it like usual and hitting the X button to get rid of the app from my phone. Next I went to my Mac Mini to this:

Mac: /Users/username/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media\Mobile Applications
Windows 7 or later: Open C:\Users\username\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Mobile Applications

Inside this folder on my PC called Mobile Applications I found the old app's .IPA file
(remember, this file was still there in my folder because I had never synched my iPhone to iTunes after I updated all my apps on my iPhone (important part)
So keep that window open with the .ipa file

Open iTunes and plug your phone up on the left side bar you will see your iPhone (small pic of your iPhone) ALL YOU HAVE TO DO is drag that .IPA (the older one from the link above in mobile applications) and drag the .IPA right on top of your iPhone picture on the side bar in iTunes. At first your think it doesn't do anything but as soon as you drop the old .IPA file on it then look at your iPhone and you will see the app has appeared.

So in a nut shell the process still works. The trick is after you update an app on your iPhone and then you go to synch your iPhone to iTunes it will erase your old .IPA and replace it with the new one and you will never be able to get your old .IPA file back. IN my case I did not synch my phone to iTunes after I updated the app on my phone so I just deleted the updated app from my phone, then found the old .IPA file on my PC, hooked my phone to iTunes, dragged the .IPA file on top of my iPhone pic (on side bar) it then appears magically on my iphone.

Also before you slam me, I don't do this for all my apps, there is only 1 app that I have that I prefer the older version over the newer one (mostly for how weather radar is displayed) and I'm happy to report this process does work even though Apple took away the ability to manage your apps in the new iTunes.
 
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KrisLord

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Sep 12, 2008
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Northumberland, UK
Didn’t Apple release a version of iTunes that still lets you manage apps ?

I’m sure they issued one as lots of corporate customers complained about the change.
 

MrGuder

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Nov 30, 2012
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Not on 12.7.4 and that’s the latest version.

Another bit of helpful info that I’m sure everyone already knows...if you have an app that you really like and you don’t want to lose it by it getting accidentally written over by a newer version. One can always find the .IPA file as noted above and copy it and paste it in a new folder on your desktop or another location title it older IPA Apps. This way you will not lose it and can always drag it over like I mentioned above.
 
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saudor

macrumors 6502a
Jul 18, 2011
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This is good to know!!

Although im sure apple will realize their mistake and disable this swiftly.
 
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NoBoMac

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Jul 1, 2014
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MrGuder

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Original poster
Nov 30, 2012
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Nothing new: this was discussed early on re: new iTunes. And Apple endorses this, so, don't see it going away anytime soon.



https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201593
Yes and I’d bet many people didn’t even see this release let alone how to do it. Before posting this thread I saw many people asking how to do this and even threads in the Apple forum asking how to do this and no one was directing to this link and didn’t even know how to move media from pc to your device with the new iTunes version. It’s all about awareness and helping others. Maybe not new to you but most likely to many others.
 
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Shirasaki

macrumors G4
May 16, 2015
10,268
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Another solution is to use iTunes 12.6.4 which is a thing, and maintain almost all functionalities of what old iTunes has. The only downside is you cannot update iOS through iTunes anymore.
 

GBstoic

macrumors regular
Nov 6, 2016
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Another solution is to use iTunes 12.6.4 ..........The only downside is you cannot update iOS through iTunes anymore.

Yes you can. Just download the IPSW to your PC/MAC then in iTunes use Shift+Update/CMD+Update and point iTunes at the file you downloaded. My X, 6s+ and Pro 10.5 have all been updated to 11.3 in this way. I have not bothered with 11.3.1 as I don’t have an iPhone 8.

Learning from past experience I won’t go to 11.4 in June because any major bugs won’t get fixed until about 12.2.1 early in 2019.
 
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