Do I Lose Paid Apps if I Upgrade/Wipe my Android?


Let’s face it, one of the biggest advantages to any of today’s smart phones is the ability to add 3rd-party applications to them. Over the years there have been various methods for obtaining and installing these “apps”. Most you had to find via the web (or if you were lucky through an online store), you’d then download a desktop installer, tether your handheld, and install the app as part of the “sync” process.

Windows Mobile then unified its processor-base and we were able to simply grab a .cab file, transfer it to your handheld, then run the .cab to install the app.

Free Android .apk files aren’t much different than Windows Mobile .cab files. You can still find apps on the web, then download and open the .apk to install it. These .apk files can be backed up and stored on the microsd card, or even transferred to your desktop for archival purposes. (There’s a trick to installing non-market apps this that I’ll cover in an upcoming article.)

But what about apps that you’ve purchased from the Market?

I’ve wiped and flashed so many different ROMs on my Android G1 that I’ve lost count. I’ve also purchased half-a-dozen applications ranging anywhere from $0.99 to $40.

Can I download my purchased apps without buying them again? If so, how easy is it to re-download and install my purchased apps?

The Good News

The good news is, even after wiping all data all an Android user need to do is download their apps from the market again. As long as you’re using the same Google Account that you used when you bought the app in the first place, you’re good to go!

This extends to new devices as well. If you have a G1 and upgrade to a Nexus One or Droid, as long as the app in question is compatible with the new device and you use the same Google Account with it, you’re good to go!

There’s a catch

If the purchased application has been removed from the market (for whatever reason), you’re likely out-of-luck in being able to re-download your purchased app.

Stay tuned for an upcoming article about installing non-market apps, and even alternate Markets!

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.