With the large number of applications that usually come with many mobiles, it is frustrating to have to suffer with some that are not essential for the system. By default they cannot be uninstalledBut there is a way to get rid of all that unwanted software. We explain how.
Currently we find ourselves with fewer problems when it comes to the internal space of the phones since a good number of mobiles, even the most accessible ones, already come with 64 GB as standard, 128 GB is even being standardized. This implies that you don’t have to do a lot of balancing to have enough space available; even though it may be in danger if too heavy games are installed. Of course, it never hurts to know all the methods that exist to end the pre-installed applications.
First thing: disable what you can
It is true that with disabling (or deactivating) the applications the space they occupy on the phone is not recovered, but it does stop its operation and the consumption of resources. And, since it is always tricky to alter system applications, or those that Android does not allow to uninstall, it is best to first access their deactivation. It is a simple and quite fast process; no matter how much you have to go from app to app.
To disable system applications you must do the following:
- Access your Android settings and look for the ‘Applications’ option.
- Click on the menu and choose something like ‘All apps’. This will show both the apps downloaded and installed by you and the system ones.
- Find everything you want to disable. To do this, manually scroll down the list, enter each application and click on the ‘Disable’ button. You may see a message similar to ‘Deactivate’ or ‘Disable’ on your phone.
- Once you have disabled the application it will stop working and will disappear from your desktops and app drawer. You can recover it whenever you want just by re-enabling it.
As we said, disabling does not recover the space that the application occupies on the phone, but it is always advisable to start with this step since there is a good chance of removing apps or services that are needed on the phone. However, the manufacturer may not even allow you to disable certain applications, such as the browser or the mail client. If you are not interested in having this software active, there is a way to eliminate it without ROOT access: you only need a computer and ADB working.
Remove pre-installed apps with ADB
This method requires some knowledge as it works through the developer tools. In addition, and since we are ‘playing’ with system applications, it is very simple spoil something necessary for the mobile to work, so you have to be very careful. We are not responsible for what may happen to your phone.
You can remove pre-installed or system applications using ADB and a developer feature called ‘Shell’, a series of text commands suitable for interacting with installed applications. It is precisely ADB Shell that we will use to eliminate the applications, but you must bear in mind that the installation is removed from the active partition on the phone, not from the system itself. As soon as you update the phone, or restore the factory data (phone format), the system applications will reappear. Technically it is like a deeper disablement that the system cannot oppose.
To remove the installation of system applications you must do the following:
- Go to the system settings, enter your phone information, locate the software data and press ten times on the build number: you will have activated the developer options.
- Go to the new developer menu and locate the ‘USB Debugging’. Activate it.
- Now it’s time to install the Android ‘Platform Tools’ on your computer for ADB to work. You can download them from this link for Mac and from here for Linux. If you have a Windows computer you can download an executable with everything you need.
- Unzip the Platform-Tools folder or install the Windows package.
- Open a terminal window (type CMD in the Windows search engine or search for the app among all the system tools on Mac and Linux) and go to the folder you unzipped, ‘Platform-Tools’.
- Connect your Android to the computer via USB with the screen on and accept the use from the computer with the RSA key that appears.
- Now it’s time to fight with the commands. If you have a Windows computer, use the instructions as detailed. In the case that you use a macOS or Linux you must place a ‘./’ in front of each ADB instruction (without the quotes).
- Go to the terminal window and type
- If a connected device appears, you can continue with the process. Otherwise, disconnect your Android and reconnect it; then repeating the detection.
adb shell pm list packages
- You will see that all the applications installed on your phone appear with their package name. Find the application you want to remove and type
adb shell pm uninstall -k –user ‘package-name’
- You have to change ‘package-name’ to the ID of the application you want to remove. Once you accept, the application will have disappeared from your phone.
- Repeat the process with each application you want to remove, but always be very careful what you delete: your phone may not work properly if you remove a must-have app or service.
A very useful trick to know which package to remove is search the app on Google Play. Access from a browser and locate the pre-installed app, for example Google Duo. You will see that in the URL the name of the package appears after ‘id =’: you just have to copy it (in our case com.google.android.apps.tachyon) and paste it in the ADB Shell instruction
adb shell pm uninstall -k –user 0 com.google.android.apps.tachyon
In this way Google Duo will have been removed from your phone’s active partition. It is not a permanent erase since the app will exit again when you apply an update or perform a system erase; although you will have the option to delete it again just by repeating the ADB Shell process. Of course, we emphasize the sensitivity of this process: act only if you assume the risks.