Rooted Users & System Apps: What To Do When They Get Updated

There seems to be a bit of confusion regarding what to do when system apps get updated while using a custom ROM.  Recently Google’s Youtube app was updated with a slick new version, but many people on XDA forums & other similar communities are having issues with their rooted devices.  They will get notified about an update in the market, but the installation will be unsuccessful.  The same goes for the popular Adobe Flash Player.  Here is a quick run down of what to do in this scenario.

It will require a third party app, typically a file explorer that can access the system partition is required.  This can also be done using using the popular Titanium Backup application.   Root Explorer & Estrongs File Explorer both have this capability depending on the device configuration.  Estrongs takes a little extra config & may only work on CM6 variants.  In settings there is an option to enable root explorer & also to mount the /system & /data directories as writable.  The Root Explorer app can do this “out of the box” on a rooted device.  Browse to the directory of the .apk file & enable R/W access to this path.   Titanium Backup simply lets you uninstall these apps.

If you choose to use one of the file explorer methods, browse to the /system/app directory & remove the .apk you are wishing to update.  In the case of Youtube,  you will see a youtube.apk file.  Delete this file from the directory.  Reboot the device.  Now head to the market to download & install the updated version.  Again, the same goes for the Adobe Flash Player or any other system app you wish to update.

I hope this helps some of the confusion regarding unsuccessful updates of system apps.  Now get out there & update that new Google Youtube app everyone is raving about!

About author

AndroidGuys 4641 posts

Founded on November 5, 2007, we've enjoyed bringing you the latest in Android news and rumors. Updated daily, we strive to deliver reviews, opinions, and updates on all things related to Android.

You might also like

News and Rumors

New HTC M8 Benchmarks reveal specs

The HTC One was one of the hottest smartphones of this year. It made number one on many lists, got great reviews, and was one of HTC’s best selling smartphones.

News and Rumors

Samsung Continuum, Motorola Citrus Launching on November 11

Verizon is expected to release at least two more Android-based handsets next week with the Samsung Continuum and Motorola Citrus.  Readers may recall Motorola announcing the entry-level smart phone last

News and Rumors

Facebook announces Nearby updates to Android app

Facebook today announced new updates to the Nearby feature in the moble (Android and iOS) apps.  Slated to go live later this afternoon, it makes it even easier than ever


  1. Shane
    October 22, 15:05 Reply

    Excellent post, I also saw the confusion amongst the communities members that were new to this. Excellent explanation.

  2. Mathieu
    October 22, 15:34 Reply

    The best solution is to put new APK in place of the old APK in the system partition to avoid loosing space in the user partition.

    For example, to move the new YouTube app from the user partition to the system partition:
    adb shell mv /data/app/ /system/app/YouTube.apk

    • drdrewdown
      October 22, 15:37 Reply

      yes i agree & thanks for the input Mathieu. I left the whole ADB scenario out of the post, with the idea that if a user is knowledgeable enough to use ADB they will already know the information provided in the article. Directed more at the new>intermediate android users with rooted devices.

      thanks again tho!

    • Dredd
      October 22, 20:39 Reply

      Pardon my newbism, but even after the comments I’m still confused. Are you suggesting that the partition size will adjust itself since a file is removed? Thanks, in advance, for any hand holding provided hereafter. :)

  3. Nathan
    October 22, 16:11 Reply

    I would suggest renaming the apk to .bak or somehing similar instead of deleting the file.

    • jxk
      October 22, 16:43 Reply

      Or copying the original to /sdcard/ so there’s not 2 .apk’s taking up system space.

  4. pwnvds
    October 23, 00:06 Reply

    I tried uninstalling using titanium backup, which worked, but the download from market is still failing.

    • drdrewdown
      October 23, 03:15 Reply

      @pwnvds: did you reboot the device after uninstalling?

      • zippyioa
        October 24, 04:14 Reply

        I used Titanium Backup to uninstall YouTube, rebooted, then went to market, clicked install on YouTube, but I still get “Installation Unsuccessful” message :(

  5. Barwin
    October 23, 09:08 Reply

    Worked on Earth 1.1 as well.
    Couldn’t install it on rooted Desire but with the ‘Titanium-method’ I now have version 1.1 installed…

  6. lolobabes
    November 13, 02:02 Reply

    wow! been wondering about this for weeks now, thank you finally! ahihihihi

Leave a Reply