UPDATE 3: September 3rd, 2015 – well, two years later and out of nowhere this post is suddenly tremendously popular again for some reason! Has Instagram been updated again? Does everyone hate it for some reason? What I’ve learned is: get over it. They won’t change it back, you probably can’t roll back any more (see below for how most of the old methods don’t work), and you’ll probably forget you were even upset about it after you’ve posted a few more pics of your lunch or your cat
UPDATE 2: September 30th, 2013 – as noted by Sergio Alejandro in the comments this downgrading trick, which used to work, doesn’t seem to work any more as Instagram are actively preventing their users from using older versions of the app, probably for compatibility reasons:
“This no longer works. I logging in after downgrading and it told me that the version I was using was an outdated version of IG, and that I’ve have to upgrade in the app store.”
Personally, I don’t really see the need to downgrade anyway. I originally wrote this way back when Instagram released version 2.0 and completely ruined all the filters. As far as I can tell (I hardly ever use Instagram these days so correct me if I’m wrong!) the iOS 7 update is just a cosmetic change and Instagram still works the same, it just looks different.
If that’s so, my advice is relax! Stop wasting energy hating something that doesn’t really matter – you’ll get over it – and spend that energy making nice photos to share instead!
UPDATE 1: September 27th, 2013 – I’m seeing a lot of visitors to this post now that Instagram has updated for iOS 7 – hello everyone!. The techniques used to roll back Instagram versions described in this post and in the comments below refer to much older versions. The principles should still be the same but I can’t guarantee it’ll work any more – good luck!
ORIGINAL POST: I recently wrote about the Instagram 2.0 update (over here), which added lots of headline features but at the expense of the lifeblood of the app; it’s filters. They seem to have changed the entire processing method and now all the filters seem like subtle variations of one another, with none of the character that made them so distinctive.
I mentioned in passing that I’d removed my copy of Instagram 2.0 as it was so awful and replaced it the earlier version from my iTunes. I’ve noticed a lot of visitors coming to the article via a Google search for that exact process so I thought I’d make it a little easier to find.
How to do it
You need to have the old version of Instagram.ipa on your computer already. This might be a problem if you downloaded the updated app via iTunes on your computer, or you downloaded the update on your phone and have since synced with your computer. Look through your iTunes media folder and if it’s not there, try the trash.
Once you have the old version of Instagram.ipa, place it in the correct folder in your iTunes hierarchy, along with all your other apps. Then delete the current, updated version of the app from your iPhone right now. Don’t worry, you won’t lose anything except your Instagram login settings which you enter when you re-install the app. All your photos are on their server and in your Photos app.
Now connect your iPhone to your computer and sync over that old version of Instagram.
Once complete should have the previous version of Instagram – or at least the version that was on your phone last time you synced with iTunes. Happy old-school Instagramming!
At this point we want to future-proof ourselves. Head to your iTunes Media folder, find the Apps folder and locate Instagram. It will be called something like ‘Instagram x.x.x.ipa’ (where x.x.x is the version number). Create a folder on your Desktop (or anywhere you like) called App Backups (or anything you like), then hold down the Alt key and drag the Instagram app into that folder. You should see a green + sign to indicate you’re copying the app, not moving it.
The idea is that if you now accidentally overwrite the original app in your iTunes folder you can replace it with your backed-up copy and re-sync.
Melissa posts in the comments that it even if you updated in iTunes or already synced, all may not be lost:
It’s also possible to roll back to version 1 even if you *have* updated the app in your library…
On a Mac at least. iTunes will throw the old version into your Trash folder. Just retrieve it from that folder (I just copied it to my Documents folder), delete the new Instagram from iTunes, and drag and drop the old version into iTunes to add to your library. Then sync! Works a treat
That’s going to be very good news for some of you, I reckon!