Download Old Versions of iPhone Apps 2

Charles Proxy is a tool for OS X that can be used to facilitate the download of older versions of iOS apps from iTunes. It’s a bit of a drawn-out exercise, but if you’ve ever been in need of an older version of a particular app, then you know how handy such a technique can be. In this video, which was inspired by this Reddit post, I’ll show you how to download older iOS apps directly from iTunes on Mac.

Note: Please watch the video in its entirety before trying this. You’ll save yourself a lot of time.

Step 1: Download, install, and launch Charles. Click Grant Privileges and enter your administrator password.

Step 2: Download an app that you wish to downgrade from iTunes, and watch the download activity in the Structure section inside Charles. You should see a “buy” server.

Step 3: Right-click on the “buy” server and click Enable SSL Proxying

Step 4: Stop the iTunes download.

Step 5: Search for the app again in iTunes to bring up the details page, and download the app again. Cancel the download again

Step 6: Click the disclosure triangle by the “buy” server and click buyProduct.

Step 7: Click the Response tab, right click on buyProduct and click Export. Select the Desktop as the Export location, select XML for format, and click Save.

Step 8: Open the XML file using a text editor, and scroll down to locate the following line:


Under that line you should see a list of numbers similar to this:


These are all of the versions of the app, starting from oldest to newest.

Copy the version number that you wish to download. You’ll have to do some guess and checking if you’re looking for an exact hit on a specific version. In the video tutorial above, I simply select the oldest version. Close the text editor.

Step 9: Back in Charles, right-click on buyProduct and select Edit.

Step 10: Click Text and find the following line near the top of the page:


Underneath that text, you’ll see a numerical value inside <string> tags. Paste the value you copied in step 8 to replace the value that’s displayed. Once you do that, click the Execute button at the bottom of the screen.

Step 11: Scroll down under the Response tab and you should see the bundleShortVersionString. Underneath that, you’ll see the actual numerical version of the app that you keyed in on. You can repeat this process until you hone in on the specific version that you’re after.

Step 12: Right-click on the last buyProduct in the list under the “buy” server, and click Breakpoints.

Step 13: In iTunes, search for your app again to refresh the page, and click the Download button to initiate the download again.

Step 14: Back in Charles, you may see the Charles splash screen appear briefly. Click Edit Request → XML Text, and paste the version ID that we copied in step 8 under the <key>appExtVrsId<key>. Click Execute again.

Step 15: You’ll see another breakpoint, just click Execute again.

Step 16: Check iTunes, and the download should commence and complete.

Step 17: Click the My Apps tab, and you’ll see your downloaded app. It should be the older version of the app. You can right-click and select Get Info to verify the older version number.

Step 18: Connect your iPhone to your Mac, and drag the app icon for the older version of the app to your iPhone. You’ll need to make sure that any newer versions are uninstalled from your iPhone before you can install the older version.

Step 19: Close and uninstall Charles once complete.

And that’s all there is to it. Please watch our video walkthrough above, because this tutorial isn’t as daunting as it may seem.

Let me know what you think in the comment section.

  • Satyam Panchal

    i’m going to try it to downgrade iPhone.. And this is most usefull tool.

    • Nico Jan

      This doesn’t help you downgrade an iPhone.

      • (JailbreakQA) King Shoot

        I’m sure he meant that this will be useful after he downgrades his iPhone.

  • Hi Jeff,
    you can right click the app icon and then click the “open link” option to refresh the page.

    • Nice tip. Yeah I should have realized that.

      • You’re welcome.

      • i got it done for Tap sport baseball 2015, but its forcing me to update it to the latest version. how can i fix that ?

    • Chris

      Along with that, pressing ⌘ + R on OS X or Ctrl + R on Windows will refresh the window.

  • leart

    got this

    • Guilherme 

      Got it through Windows!
      Haha FINALLY, YOUTUBE is great again!

      • leart

        can’t do much with this version .. no control over the feed and can’t edit property the own videos … this version is to much outdated 🙂

      • Guilherme 

        you’re right, I’m testing each version there is to get the best one.

    • Guilherme 

      After trying all versions I guess, I think I’ve finally found the best build. 2.13. No lag/delay on rotation, few ads, good old gray UI, and only takes up 33,3 MB.

      • leart

        i used that version till last month, i had it saved from the time it was the last version of YouTube in 2014 if i remember well but recently started to crash heavily so i switched for the version 10.11, the last compatible with my iOS 6 devices ..
        that version still is missing some features like impossible to remove some suggestions from the feed… can’t chose “not interested”

      • Guilherme 

        I’ll stick with this one till it crashes! haha

      • leart

        when YouTube starts to crash, it don’t stops, the only way to fix it properly is to remove in and reinstall it , i got tired to do this that often from the pc and decided to stay with what iTunes give to me directly from the device.. saved a lot of time..

      • Son Ha Cao

        2.51 is the best
        if you’re in 2.13, when you change quality of the video, the sound of the video is gone

  • (JailbreakQA) King Shoot

    Anything for Windows that can do this?

    • jeanpaulpollue

      Telerik Fiddler

    • NotTodayThx

      I’d hazard a guess at a firefox plugin, used to use something similar to replay cookies to websites, forgot the name, but just search for “windows alternative to Charles proxy”

    • Joshywooful

      Charles also works for Windows.

  • tariq

    So if i downgrade snapchat, i can get Phantom back? Right?

    • Skoven

      Phantom works with newest Snapchat… might have to use the dev. repo though.

  • Chris

    I wonder… how long before Apple patch this.

  • Tommy

    Gotta use this for YouTube

  • Jake Platt

    I can finally get bday Spotify up and running again

    • votdfak

      Jake, it’s much better to use iAnywhere and fool Spotify that you’re using iPad. It’s working with latest Spotify…

      • Jake Platt

        Ok I’ll do that cheers mate

      • votdfak

        Tweak is called Anywhere!. You’re welcome.

      • Juan Pineda

        How do you do that?

      • votdfak

        Hi Juan, first your iPhone must be jailbreaked, second you install tweak called Anywhere!, third inside Anywhere!, select Virtual machine, virtual machine should be on, next Modify the iPod series (middle one, and it’s iPad, not iPod), select iPad version you want, from the list of apps select Spotify. In Management section of Anywhere! you should see that Spotify is enabled. That’s it.

      • Kyle

        Its called jailbroken.

      • votdfak

        I don’t think it’s a word in dictionary, but anyway my bad…

      • Juan Pineda

        Thanks , it worked perfectly!!

  • Guilherme 

    What about Windows?!

  • ravinigga

    Lol i use Charles a lot but for Gta online then

  • iannleon

    I like these advanced howtos

  • Fatejester

    I succeeded once. But found the wrong version of the app I’m looking for. Now I’m having trouble doing anything. Please help. Pm

  • Dexter SherloConan

    How to use Charles for another APP after the initial run? Delete and reinstall Charles?

    • Chris

      You can keep Charles open, you just need to repeat the same steps for each app within Charles.

  • Dexter SherloConan

    Is Apple capable of killing this method?

    • WTFologist

      Looks to me like ‘yes’ – if you upgrade to El Capitan. iTunes app store can’t connect when Charles proxy is running.

  • i got it done for Tap sport baseball 2015, but its forcing me to update it to the latest version. how can i fix that ? anybody help me

  • Eric Norberg

    Can I use this to get old software for the original iPad? I am trying to breath some life into an old one I got for free. I really just want the version of sling player that will work on iOS 5.

  • Nick Turner

    This is Fantastic!
    Thank you for sharing how to do this, also the video was easy to follow along with.
    I have re-enabled the useful parts from Google+!

  • Murad

    I take it back it worked ! One thing I would add is that is not shown in video is that when you begin the download – the buy.itunes does not captured immediately – so you need to let the app download a bit before it is

  • asian unicorn-chan

    Is there a solution if the app is only available on iPhone?

  • Eko Andri

    Thank you, the latest whatsapp keeps crashing and this method saved me.

  • Sangar Sarkawt

    Hi all i couldnt find the “softwareVersionExternalIdentifiers” in the xml file

  • Davo Paul


  • WTFologist

    looks like the proxy is now blocked for El Capitan.

  • Imran Shaikh

    can’t get this to work with Max OS10.12. Can someone assist with v4.1 and v4.2 of Plex IOS.

  • Stiofán de Geata

    Only getting “Unknown” with a red X. Running OS 10.12 Sierra, could that be the issue? I really need to find a previous version of an iPad app.

  • Stiofán de Geata

    OK, got it to work on my Mac according to Alex Ivaylov’s instructions below. However, I think they must have changed something in iTunes as it doesn’t give me the XML file or any option to save it in that format. I am given Content-Type: application/json not text/xml as in the example. Ideas???

  • TJ

    Alex, thanks for sharing. I followed your instructions without problems except Step 2 and Step 34. In step 2, I wasn’t asked for any password. I just saved the file. Without a password entered in step 2, I have nothing to enter in Step 34. I tried hitting enter (blank password) and my system password but none worked. Could you please help. Thanks.

    • Alex Ivaylov

      Hi, make sure you are exporting as p12. You can also try to install the certificate from Charles straight into the system. After that go into your system keychain and continue from step 4. Also note I just added step 7.5.

    • Alex Ivaylov

      Note that on step 34 it is your user account password that you use to login to your mac (not the certificate password).

  • Does anyone have the 1.3.1 firmware? I need to find the speed limiter in it and remove it.

  • Antonio Noriega

    You need to install Charles Proxy Certificate
    1. On Help Menu -> SSL Proxing -> Install Charles Root Certificate…
    2. In KeyChain, install the certificate on System
    3. Open the Certificate, and change Trust, When using this certificate to “Always Trust”

    On recent test I didn’t find the “Short version”

    Try Again.

  • Juan Picans

    I had some trouble using this method to get gmail.ipa 4.3 with current itunes version and OS X Sierra. New gmail update sucks; iTunes wouldn’t accept server certificate; just uninstalled current itunes, downloaded itunes 12.4.3 from apple site, fresh itunes install, deleted itunes library, ran itunes and began tutorial steps, this itunes version just asked me if I wanted to trust server, and wala, I got gmail 4.3 ipa file. Thanks a lot, this tutorial helped me a lot.

  • Paul Flood

    I’m trying this with the latest 4.0.2 and 12.5.3 iTunes and when I try to download Facebook the second time I get “Could not purchase “Facebook”. A secure network connection could not be established” – The certificate chain for this server is invalid. If I go back and Disable SSL Proxying it starts working again… Why is this, has a version changed stopped this ???

  • Aron Taylor

    I think iTunes has blocked this from working anymore. Anyone else run into an error that say iTunes can’t establish a secure network whenever Charles is running?

  • Alina Valdina

    Jeff, thank you so much! That post still on the top for those who won’t use apps forcing by developers. Some notes for future users:
    – if you see something like ‘certificate chain for this server is not valid’ error after enabling SSL proxying for the host go to help menu of Charles, SSL Proxying, Install Charles Root Certificate. Then go to Keychain and make exported certificate trusted. You could delete it right after you’ll get what you want so this is not a big deal with security policy.
    – I did not pass step describing getting bundle number from the build number because server sent me an error message. But this does not required to download your old version by build number. Just proceed with next steps.

    Many thanks again. I’m really happy now 😉

  • jcallows

    i’m not getting the ‘response’ tab

    • Jimmy Mak

      Try Contents

  • adrian
    • I was having the same trouble! I looked into the folder of the buy.itunes proxy (on Charles) and clicked on one of the “unknown” (with an X icon) things. In the Notes section, it said that I had to trust the root certificate (or something like that). This is what I did:
      Click on the Help tab, then “SSL Proxying >”, and then “Install Charles Root Certificate”. It then takes you to the Keychain Access app. A popup asking “Do you want to add certificate…” comes up, so then click “Add”. Then search for “Charles Proxy” and click on it. Then open the “Trust” tab in the popup window. Select “Always Trust” in the dropdown menu for “When using this certificate:” and close the window (it will ask you to enter your password — enter it). Then close Charles and reopen it, and try it now. Hope this helps!

      • Carl

        That worked like a charm. Thanks!

      • No problem! Glad I could help! 😀

      • Rayan

        Hello there,

        I’m having the same issue as Adrian. You mentioned click on the Help Tab, is that on Charles or iTunes? Because I can not see the Help Tab on Charles. Please advise.

      • Hmm, that’s odd. You don’t see anything in the status bar? There’s usually always a Help tab there. Unfortunately, I deleted Charles, and the wifi I’m on is far too slow to download it again. But next to the Window tab on the status bar (where the Apple logo is, then the name of the open window, then Preferences, and I forgot what else), there should be a Help tab. Would you be able to send a screenshot with Charles open? That might help.

  • This is so exciting, I kinda just want to download the first versions of all my apps I have. It would be such a time warp!

    • Fadzly


      • No problemo! But unfortunately, my idea never worked, because the earliest version was not compatible with my phone.

  • T M

    Does this still work on Sierra o the Mac and the ipad Pro with version 10.2.1 as of today? Also, your ipad does not need to be jailbroken to use this method, does it? I am hopeful someone sees and replies to this post soon, as I am in a desperate situation… out of my 1200 apps, 500 will not (for reasons unknown by Apple Care) install on my new ipad pro 256GB from my ipad Air. (Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s a lot of apps.) Most of the missing ones seem to be dated 2012 and some 2013, so I feel like old versions has something to do with this, maybe. This method might be the only way to get them back!

  • Fred Winograd

    I have an issue with CharlesProxy. I don’t see a tab for Request or Response. I see Overview, Contents, Summary, Chart and Notes. No EDIT choice when cmd-clik on ByProduct.

  • Fred Winograd

    Is the method of downloading older version of iPad Apps still valid? I am using a Mac with OSX v 10.0.5 and iTunes v and Charles does not show me the Response tab in step 7. My tabs still show OVERVIEW, CONTENTS, SUMMARY, CHART and NOTES. Has iTunes killed this method?

    • Jimmy Mak

      It’s under Contents
      And Compose is equal to Edit in the video

  • Ron Menninga

    I am trying to revert to an older version of Numbers for iPad and the first download works fine but when I enable SSL Proxying I get the following message ‘Could not purchase “Numbers”. A secure network connection could not be established. The certificate chain for this server is invalid.” What am I doing wrong?

    • Juan Picans

      Try using a older version of iTunes, download it from the Apple website.

      • Ron Menninga

        Found the answer in an older post (should have looked first). Had to go to Keychain and find the cert and mark it as trusted, worked like a charm. Thanks.

  • Mike

    Can some one please help me with this? My computer is too old to run Charles, but I really need to recover an old version of an iPhone app. Thx

  • Alex

    after copy the older version and press execute in step 13 I don’t get a response tab, it doesn’t do anything

  • Tony Soprano

    When I try to download after ‘enable SSL proxying’, I’m getting

    “Could not purchase “Twitter”. A secure network connection could not be established. The certificate chain for this server is invalid.”

    OS 10.9.5
    Charles 4.1.2


  • Stefan Radjenovic
    • Victor G.

      same here

    • Victor G.

      it turnes out that i didnt export it as an XML session file. That fixed it for me

  • Victor G.

    does anyone know if the youtube app at its oldest version is compatible with ios 4.2.1

    • There have been many Youtube apps. (IIRC, Apple made their own for iOS 5.x.) I’m fairly certain the official one was never compatible with anything before 6.0.

      There are just so many services now that can only be used with iOS 7 or later.