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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to Delete a Bloatware App Without a Computer or Root «Android :: Gadget Hacks

How to Delete a Bloatware App Without a Computer or Root «Android :: Gadget Hacks



Bloatware is a problem on Android, and it’s not just Samsung. Remove apps that use the remove or Switch off button greyed out in Settings has always had to do with sending complicated ADB commands to your phone from a computer which itself was always so tricky to set up. Fortunately, that has finally changed.

Using the wireless debugging feature that Google added to Android 9.0 Pie in August 2018, Android apps can now access your phone’s ADB server. In other words, you can now send ADB commands to your own phone. One app, LADB from developer Tyler Nijmeh, was built specifically for this task and has an edge over potential competitors. I̵

7;ll show you how to use it to delete a user or system app below.

Required

Step 1 Install Package Name Viewer 2.0

You need to know the package name of the app or apps you are trying to remove. The easiest way to find this information is to install an app called Package Name Viewer 2.0 from developer csIng.

Step 2: Find the Bloatware package name

Now open Package Name Viewer 2.0 and use the search function at the top of the screen to find a bloatware app you want to remove. Below the common name, you will see the app’s package name, the name by which the operating system knows the app. Copy this name for future reference, keeping in mind that you will have to repeat this step for each bloatware app you want to remove.

One oddity here is the app’s copy function, which you can access by tapping an item and choosing “Copy”. This will copy the app’s package name to your clipboard, which would make it really easy to just paste into the ADB prompt later on, except copy more than just the package name.

The two best solutions I have for this are not great. First, you can simply use the com.abc.xyz package name displayed below the app’s common name, but this won’t work with some longer package names. In these cases, you can use the app’s copy function and then paste the copied app into a notes app like Google Keep. From there, delete everything except the string in between package: and Launcher: and copy what’s left.

Step 3: Enable Developer Options

This method is based on a feature that cannot be enabled by default in Android main menu. Instead, you need to activate a hidden settings menu for advanced users called Developer Options.

So enable developer options by going to Settings -> About phone then click Build number come in seven times quickly. From there, enter your lock screen PIN when prompted. If you need further help with this part, check out our full guide:

Step 4: Enable wireless debugging

Now you need to enable the underlying Android feature which makes this all work. Open the Settings app, scroll down and select “System”, then tap “Advanced” and choose “Developer options”. On some phones, the Developer Options item may appear at the very bottom of the main Settings screen.

Once inside, scroll down to it Debugging section. Here, enable the toggle next to “Wireless Debugging” and then press “OK” at the prompt to confirm your choice. On Android 11 and above, you must be connected to Wi-Fi to enable this feature.

We tested this and found it worked on every major Android skin from OEMs selling phones in the US, but it’s not guaranteed that every device has the Wireless Debugging feature. It’s part of AOSP, Android’s open source codebase, but OEMs sometimes remove functionality from their skinned versions of Android. If your phone doesn’t have this option then unfortunately this method won’t work for you.

Step 5: Install LADB

Now it’s time to install LADB, the app that allows you to send ADB commands to your own phone. The Play Store version (linked below) costs $ 2.99, but that’s cheap for what it can do. But if you need a free option, you can go to the app’s GitHub page and compile the APK from source.

Step 6: Establish a connection

If you are using Android 9 or Android 10, open LADB and wait until you get a popup asking if you want to “Allow USB debugging”. Check the box next to “Always allow” and then select “Allow” at this prompt to establish the connection.

If you are using Android 11 or later, open LADB and you will see a prompt asking for a port number and pairing code. Then put LADB in split screen mode and open your Settings app in the other half of your screen. From there, go to Developer Options and then tap the text “Wireless Debugging” to open a submenu.

From there, tap on ‘Pair device with pairing code’ and copy the number after the colon (:) below IP address and port in the Port field in LADB. Copy it Wi-Fi pairing code in the Link code box and then tap “Okay” at the prompt in LADB. Wait until you receive a “Wireless debugging connected” notification before exiting split screen mode or returning LADB to full screen mode.

If you’re struggling with this part, the app’s developer has been very active in troubleshooting users’ issues. He graciously posted his contact information here.

Step 7: Delete any Bloatware app

Now you are ready to dump some bloatware apps. Press Shell assignment field and then enter this command:

pm uninstall -k --user 0 

To replace with the actual package name of the bloatware app. For example, to disable the T-Mobile app on a Galaxy device purchased from the magenta provider, enter this:

pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.tmobile.pr.mytmobile

You can skip the “-k” part if you wish. All it does is prevent the system from removing all associated data from the app, in case you want to reinstall it later without resetting everything. So if you want to delete the bloatware app data as well, send the command in this format:

pm uninstall --user 0 

Once you get the command right, hit enter on your keyboard to send it. Your keyboard should automatically collapse and the terminal should return a “Success” message. This means that the app has disappeared with immediate effect.

Disclaimer: What’s going on here under the hood isn’t exactly what would happen if you could outright uninstall the bloatware app like you can with an app you installed yourself. It’s more like disabling the app as it keeps the original APK (but no app data or updates), so the app will reappear when you factory reset the phone. But for most practical purposes, it’s just as good as delete.

Reinstall a Bloatware app after removal

There is a chance that you delete an app that your phone relies on and cause bugs as a result. Firstly, you should know that no matter what apps you deleted, you can perform a factory reset in recovery mode to restore all pre-installed apps. Keep in mind that you will lose all data stored on the phone.

But if you decide you want to restore an app you deleted and your phone is still operational, you can send the following command in LADB to reinstall it:

pm install-existing --user 0 

… to replace with the actual package name. Again, for example, if you are using the T-Mobile app pre-installed on Galaxy devices purchased from the carrier, you would send this command:

pm install-existing --user 0 com.tmobile.pr.mytmobile

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Cover image and screenshots from Dallas Thomas / Gadget Hacks

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