How to roll back an update on Android?

If you have installed a beta version of Android or received an official version that you didn’t like and want to revert to the old Android, this article can help you with this task. Check it out!

Usually, whenever a new version of a particular operating system is released, the recommendation is to upgrade and keep all your devices up to date. However, once in a while, these updates can make changes that hinder more than help, making it impossible to use for some users who bitterly regret having installed the update.

In the case of Android, it is possible that you may not like the way the features were implemented, and therefore you may prefer to return your phone to the state it was in before the update. This is not recommended, but it is not impossible.

What do I need to know BEFORE downgrading?

Downgrading is not an official process provided by the manufacturers. If you are having problems with your system, crashes, and bugs, we recommend doing a factory reset, which will erase all your data to the initial default.

But if this does not solve your problem and you want to risk the downgrade process, it is important to be aware of at least three risks;

1 – This procedure can void the product warranty, so if it is still in effect, look for technical assistance to solve the problem;

2 – Your files and photos saved on the phone will be deleted, forcing the user to make a backup of everything that wants to be saved;

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3 – If there is a failure in the process or any interruption such as power failure during the Android installation, your smartphone may become unusable. Once started, the procedure cannot be undone.

There is no standard method for all phones. Some manufacturers make the procedure impossible, making it harder to complete than other models. Devices from the Pixel line can be easily unlocked since Google releases options for this. Those from Huawei, Samsung, Sony, and Nokia, on the other hand, can be more difficult to unlock.

Also, if you purchased your smartphone through a carrier, the difficulty is doubled, since they hardly allow unlocking the bootloader, or require you to get a token first. In advance, we have no information on how to get this token.

Required tools

To downgrade Android on your phone you first need to obtain the factory image of the operating system. This type of file can be found on each manufacturer’s website, on specialized forums such as XDA Developers, or on sites that provide these images, such as Stock Rom (recommended).

You will also need to download and install the Android SDK (by clicking here) to use the ADB and Fastboot tools. Finally, you’ll need to connect your phone to your PC via USB, preferably with a good quality cable and if possible, the original one from the device.

All set? Then, get to work!

How to roll back an Android update

The procedure itself is summarized in a few steps, but requires attention, especially regarding possible interruptions and the correct typing of commands.

Step 1: Enable USB debugging

The first thing you need to do is enable the Developer Options on your phone. Usually, this option can be enabled by going to Settings > About phone and then tapping the Version (or Build) Number several times until you get a message that says “You are now a developer!”

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After that, go back to Settings and look for Developer Options. Scroll down until you find the Debugging field, and enable the USB Debugging option.

Step 2: Connect your phone to your computer

Connect your phone to your PC with a USB cable. On your PC, navigate to the folder where the Android SDK is saved, and place the Android factory image you downloaded in the same folder. Usually, factory images come as ZIP or RAR files. For the process to work, you must unzip this file and put only the IMG files into the program folder.

Now, while still in the Android SDK folder, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard while right-clicking inside the window. From the options that appear, select the Open PowerShell window here.

In the PowerShell window that opens, type adb devices to check whether the phone is being detected. If it is, you should see the serial number listed. If not, try using a different USB cable or another port on your computer.

Now you have to boot your device in fastboot mode. To do this, type adb reboot bootloader in PowerShell.

Step 3: Unlock the bootloader

Once your device is in fastboot mode, let’s unlock the bootloader. To do this type fastboot oem unlock or fastboot flashing unlock – one of the two commands should work, depending on your device. If all goes well, you should see a confirmation on your phone that the bootloader is now unlocked.

Step 4: Install the older Android version

Once everything is ready, you will see the path cleared to do the installation of the older Android. This part can be accomplished in two ways:

First way

Check the files that you unzipped from the Android image, and try to locate a file called flash-all. This file is actually a script that will do the installation automatically, just click on it and wait for the procedure to finish.

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Remember that to work, this script needs to be inside the Android SDK folder, along with the IMG files you extracted. DO NOT turn off your phone during this process, not even unplug the cable!

Second way

If you cannot find the flash-all script, then you will have to do the installation procedure manually. To do this, type the following commands in order one at a time:

fastboot flash bootloader [bootloader file name].img

fastboot reboot-bootloader

fastboot flash radio [radio file name].img

fastboot reboot-bootloader

fastboot flash -w update [image file name].zip

If everything was executed correctly, your phone should reboot. When you turn it back on, you will notice that it is running the old version of Android. Now you can enter your Google account, connect to a network and finish the settings

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