Smartphone manufacturers tend to pack the new smartphones with so-called bloatware. Most users never need pre-installed components but cannot delete them due to system restrictions. Luckily, there are several working methods for tech-savvy people to remove them. Let’s have a look at them in more detail.
Android Debug Bridge is a set of programs enabling conversation between smartphones and computers through the command line. Using ADB, one can “freeze” unnecessary bloatware without having to root the phone. It is worth mentioning that the programs will still stay on the drive. If you wish to turn them on again, feel free to do it. Thus, this way will not satisfy those willing to free up some space.
You can also attempt to remove the software from the drive permanently. It is worth saying that the manual is working on any phone running Android 8 or later. As for the earlier ones, the root will enable you to wipe off obstinate applications.
Firstly, you will need to visit this page to install Platform Tools. Then it is vital to have USB drivers for your smartphone model. Extract the component under the main system drive. After you’ve done this, you would have your files under C:\platform-tools. Typically, drivers come with the utility released by the device manufacturer and should not be required if you use Windows 10.
Putting ADB into action
To disable the programs, do the following:
- launch command line or terminal,
- type cd C:\platform-tools, check if the program is responding,
- type adb start-server – the command line will inform you that the daemon successfully launched,
- enable USB debugging mode slider under the Developers menu in the device Settings,
- if the menu is hidden, go to the About section and give a Build item multiple taps,
- establish a connection between your phone and computer by plugging them in with a cable and allow USB debugging in the pop-up message,
- choose File transfer when the device asks for it or go to the USB connection mode menu under Settings beforehand,
- type adb-devices in the command line – if it says unauthorized, you have forgotten to allow USB debugging in the pop-up message,
- use adb shell pm list packages to pull up the package names of programs currently installed on the device,
- choose the application you wish to stop and enter adb shell pm disable-user PROGRAM where PROGRAM stands for application package – the one you are about to freeze (usually starts with com.).
New state: a disabled-user message will inform about the operation success. If you wish to enable it back, type adb shell pm enable –user 0 PROGRAM.
To try uninstalling the app, type in pm uninstall -k –user 0 PROGRAM and wait for confirmation. If you are unable to freeze or delete an application using this method, you’ve probably come across the protected one.
MIUI is an Android-based system developed by Xiaomi that is running most of its phones. For such devices uninstalling bloatware is possible without rooting. To do that, simply:
- activate USB debugging slider,
- download XiaomiADBFastbootTools here and unzip its content,
- get Platform Tools similar to the previous example,
- connect the smartphone to PC via cable,
- launch .exe file downloaded,
- tap debloater and tap OK in the pop-up on the smartphone screen,
- choose apps to remove in the window on the computer display,
- add the package names via the Add custom apps button (if the items to be deleted is not on the list),
- press Uninstall.
Wait for Success and Done messages to ensure the request is fulfilled. If you ever return to factory defaults, the programs removed will be back.
A more sophisticated way to get rid of unnecessary bloatware is by using a custom recovery. The solution made by TeamWin is quite popular, and it provides extended customization possibilities. Installing it is somewhat cumbersome – but you will need it all the time to modify your system.
In order to take advantage of this solution, you will have to:
- unlock the bootloader,
- root the phone,
- find the correct recovery version for your smartphone – check on the official TeamWin web portal,
- activate USB debugging,
- plug in the smartphone to a computer using a USB cable.
After everything is ready, it is time to enter recovery and flash TWRP using ADB.
Uninstalling the applications
Once the recovery is installed, follow this instruction to delete the unwanted programs:
- remove the USB cable,
- enter recovery by pressing volume up (or down) with the power button – google to find out the right set for your device if nothing is working,
- go to Mount and enable ticks next to Cache, Data, System, Vendor, and MicroSD,
- return to the main menu and choose Additionally – Explorer,
- tap system, choose system again,
- pick the folder with system apps, usually an app or priv-app,
- choose the application you do not need anymore,
- enable tick in the right bottom corner,
- press the Delete button,
- swipe the slider to the right.
After returning to the main menu, head to the Clean menu item. Enable Dalvik/ART Cache tick and swipe to confirm. Reboot the device from the main menu.
Being able to remove system applications using a computer requires attention and technical knowledge. You can as well use third-party software to do it, which will also require root access. Keep in mind that everything you do to your phone is solely your responsibility. If you do not want to go technical, simply disable or hide the apps you do not want to see.