How to Downgrade Twitter’s iOS App

by Christopher Paul on December 10, 2011

I’m not a big fan of the new Twitter iOS App. I miss the swipe features on the iPhone. The other stuff doesn’t bother me so much but the swipe is so important to me that I’ve downgraded it and went back to 3.5.1 which is the last version I had on my desktop. I couldn’t find instructions to send a friend who wanted to do the same thing so I tweeted some basic instructions to him. Using Incoming!, I saw that quite a few people were trying to do the same thing so I’m writing up how I did it on my Mac.

Let me preface all this by saying this will only work if you haven’t downloaded the new version to your desktop or laptop via iTunes or by syncing your iPhone to your desktop after upgrading. If you have, you might be out of luck unless you haven’t emptied your Trash Bin. iTunes copies all old app versions into the Trash Bin after downloading the newer version. So here goes:

  1. Delete Twitter 4.0 from your iOS device.
  2. Connect your iPhone to iTunes and sync.

It’s that simple.

If you have downloaded the new app and synced your iPhone to iTunes – meaning both phone AND desktop/laptop have the newest version – you have to look in your Trash Bin.

Trash

If you see this file in the Trash Bin, copy it to your Desktop or somewhere else safe. If you don’t see it, you might be out of luck but do a search in Finder for Twitter and locate any .ipa files see.

  1. Launch iTunes and navigate to the list of apps for your devices.
  2. Find and select Twitter 4.0.
  3. Right-Click and delete the app.
  4. Ignore the warnings and make sure Twitter 4.0 is gone from your app list; Twitter 4.0 should now be in your Trash Bin.
  5. Find your copy of Twitter 3.5.1 (or whatever version you have) drag it back into your iTunes App list.

If you know someone who can’t do the above for some reason (most likely, they emptied the trash after downloading the app to iTunes), you cannot give them your copy of the app. iTunes apps are signed by the Apple ID of the owner. Even if free, the app can only be used by the Apple ID user. You won’t be able to copy the app to their iTunes Library to give them back the old version.

If you use Windows, I don’t know if the same steps will work for you or not. I don’t know if iTunes puts a copy of the app in your Recycling Bin or not. If it does, it might work. But I don’t know if there are Registry entries or anything else you need to do for it to work. Can’t hurt to try, though. If you hate Twitter 4.0 enough to delete it from your phone and try to reimport the older version, you’ve really got nothing to lose.

By the way, iTunes stores all your downloaded apps in the /Users/username/Music/iTunes/Mobile Applications folder. You can always grab apps from there and store them in a safe location for any reason. And this process of deleting new and importing old app versions will obviously work for all iOS apps – not just Twitter.

After thinking about the new version and seeing the website, I don’t mind the other UI changes. If Twitter wants them, great! I can see how they are helpful. But I need my swipe gestures to retweet, reply, star, and read later. The app, to me, is useless without them. If Twitter gives us back the swipe, I’ll upgrade in a heartbeat. Until then, though, I’ve got a copy of Twitter 3.5.1 signed for my Apple ID safely stored somewhere.

Knowerofnada December 10, 2011 at 8:03 PM

Worked like a charm.  Thanks so much!!  Is there any way to get the old desktop Twitter restored?  Please, please!

Erik Sinanyan December 14, 2011 at 12:17 AM

I deleted the 3.5.1 ipa as well as emptied my trash. There’s nooooo other way?! ;(

Antwonswan January 5, 2012 at 11:07 PM

excellent!

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