[APP][4.1+] "App manager" - alternative to the default app manger

AndroidDeveloperLB

Senior Member
Mar 30, 2014
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Recently I've noticed that people put good reviews of my app, saying it helped them to get rid of "virus" apps.
While the app wasn't originally intended for such a task (and technically there is no such a thing as "virus" apps on Android, search for it on Google, here), I think it's nice to see the app helped people with it.
What I think that it helped people with, is to get rid of annoying/nasty/malicious apps, that show bad or unexpected behavior. Such a behavior might be intended (ads) or not (bugs of the app). Whatever it is, you've find it to be a bad behavior, such as ads popping out in random times, screen being taken control, things appear on top of other apps, ...

I've even used my app myself on both my device and for my family-relatives, to get rid of such apps.

So because of this, I've decided to write here a step-by-step manual of how to deal with this kind of situation :

1. Detection of suspicious app: Restart the OS. As soon as you notice the nasty behavior, open my app, and sort by recently launched. Now there is a very big chance that the nasty app is at the top of the list, or near it. Make sure it's not marked as system app (built in app), because in most cases system apps don't do nasty things. Such apps are marked in my app with "!" icon. There is also a very low chance that an app from respected company (such as Google) or a very popular app will cause this issue. If you've noticed the bad behavior only recently (meaning you've never seen it before), you might also see the same app if you sort by recently-installed or recently-updated.

2. Neutralizing of suspicious app or its behavior: First try to find a setting to disable the problematic behavior in the suspicious app, especially if it's a system app. If you can't find such a thing, continue reading. Choose to manage the suspected app, and try "force-stop" it, if possible. If it's impossible to choose it, or if the button to force-stop never changes to be disabled, choose to uninstall the app (use my app if it's impossible to do it on your own). If you don't want to uninstall the app (or can't), and the issue is something that floats, try to disable "Display over other apps".
In case you have a rooted device, you can choose to disable the app instead (using my app). This is way more effective than force-stop (because the app won't be able to wake from anything, till you enable it), and it won't remove the app's data.
If it's a system app that you think is the suspicious one and you can't disable/uninstall it via my app because you don't have a rooted device, check how to (try to) disable/remove it via this tutorial.

3. Testing if all is well now: Use your device for a while (depending on how often and on which cases you've seen the bad behavior). If indeed you can't see this issue anymore, you've probably found the real nasty app, and you can remove it if you wish to. If you still want to use the app, try to check the settings of the app to see if this behavior can be turned off, or contact the developer for help.
If it's not the app that causes nasty stuff, you can restore the app (run it, enable it, or re-install it, depending on what you did on previous step), and repeat from first step again.

4. Optionally help others: Now that you don't have the nasty app anymore, I suggest you to go to the app's page on the Google Play Store, and consider to write a review warning other people about it, and also report about the app, so that other people will think twice before using the app, and that the developer should change the app so that it won't happen again.
 
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AndroidDeveloperLB

Senior Member
Mar 30, 2014
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I've decided to put here the instructions I've made for (trying to) disabling/removing system apps without a rooted device . If you failed to remove an app via app-info screen or via my app, and you don't have a rooted device, this tutorial is for you.

If you already do have a rooted device, you can use my app to (try to) disable/uninstall system apps, by choosing to show them, and also enabling system-apps-removal on the settings screen.

Important thing to know in case you have Android 10 and above
Removal of system apps will probably almost always not really work, and even if you think it does, it'll will probably return after a restart of the OS. Even Magisk modules such as Debloater just hide the apps, because if you remove/disable the module and restart the OS, eventually the app will return.
What's suggested now for Android 10 and above is to disable the apps, instead.

Disabling/Uninstalling apps without root :


OK, some people asked me how to perform some special operations without root. In fact, you can perform most of the operations my app has without root, but you'll need a PC being connected to the device.
Here's how you disable any app you wish, via your PC.
Before you do anything, note that disabling an app should be used only if you think it's safe to disable the app. Also note that this might not work on each app you choose (depends on the restrictions imposed by the ROM of your device). Same goes to uninstalling apps. Both of those operations might work, and might not work. Depends on many things.
The steps:

1. Download and install/decompress the command line tools of the Android SDK :
https://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html
scroll to "Get just the command line tools" , and download the one that matches your OS.

2. Connect the device to the PC.

3. Find the file called "adb" in the folder you've installed/decompressed to.

4. Use the console/terminal (depends on your OS) to go to this path.

5. Find the package name (it's like an id) of the app you wish to disable. you can use my app to find it. write it down somewhere.

6. In the "settings" screen of the device, go to "developer options", and turn on "android debugging". If it's hidden, go to "About Phone" and then tap "Build Number" multiple times till it says you are a developer.

7. In the console, write down:
HTML:
adb devices
If the device is connected and you have the correct driver, it should be printed. if not, you probably need a suitable driver. download and install it according to the device's model.

8. In the console, write :
HTML:
adb shell
This way you enter a new state to type commands more directly.

9. Type:
HTML:
pm disable PACKAGE_NAME
where PACKAGE_NAME is the package name you've written down on step #5
If this doesn't work, try (credit to this article) :
HTML:
pm disable-user --user 0 PACKAGE_NAME
If you wish to uninstall the app, write this instead:
HTML:
pm uninstall PACKAGE_NAME
You can also do it all in a single line. For example, if you want to try to disable YouTube app, its package name is "com.google.android.youtube", so the command would be:

HTML:
./adb shell pm disable-user --user 0 com.google.android.youtube

10. If all went well , you aren't supposed to see "failure" anywhere.
You can check that the app got disabled by either trying to launch it (and fail) or by seeing that it's missing in my app from the list, in case the filters are set not to show disabled apps.
In fact, if my app is already on the front, you can see the disabled app disappearing from the list, as soon as you disable it.

11. That's it.

To re-enable an app, in step #9, type:
HTML:
pm enable PACKAGE_NAME
or if this doesn't work use this instead:
HTML:
pm enable --user 0
Also, to learn about more possible commands you can use, read this:
http://developer.android.com/tools/help/adb.html
 
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AndroidDeveloperLB

Senior Member
Mar 30, 2014
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Today I got a weird email from Google about suspending my app, just because someone installed another app from within, that has Phone permission:
https://www.reddit.com/r/androiddev/comments/dkxgpp/app_was_suspended_from_the_play_store_and_the/
My app shows only APK files that already exist on the device. It doesn't get you APK files and never has been. It doesn't send any private information to any server (and there is no server anyway). It always used only Google and Admob.

I hope that the app will be available soon again. If you try to install the app, please be patient and try again when it comes back.
This is all a huge misunderstanding.
 

BROKEN1981

Senior Member
Dec 27, 2013
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Today I got a weird email from Google about suspending my app, just because someone installed another app from within, that has Phone permission:
https://www.reddit.com/r/androiddev/comments/dkxgpp/app_was_suspended_from_the_play_store_and_the/
My app shows only APK files that already exist on the device. It doesn't get you APK files and never has been. It doesn't send any private information to any server (and there is no server anyway). It always used only Google and Admob.

I hope that the app will be available soon again. If you try to install the app, please be patient and try again when it comes back.
This is all a huge misunderstanding.
Where can I get the APK file? Saw the story on Android Police and it got me interested.

Sent from my LG-H932 using XDA Labs
 

AndroidDeveloperLB

Senior Member
Mar 30, 2014
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Where can I get the APK file? Saw the story on Android Police and it got me interested.

Sent from my LG-H932 using XDA Labs
Well I'm surprised to see the article so soon after this has happened.

As for the APK, I wanted to say that you can find it on APK mirror website, but for some reason it doesn't exist there while my other spare time apps do. No idea why.
Anyway, I can send you the APK via PM if you wish.
Do note that you won't get updates to the app when it's back online on the Play Store.

EDIT: OK I was asked multiple times. Here:
https://ufile.io/2tbal9e6
 
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AndroidDeveloperLB

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Today I've published a major update to the app, allowing you to install split APKs from many kinds of apps: file managers, chatting apps, Google Drive, and any app that allows to open a file via other apps ...

The supported formats are:

  • Stand alone APK files, and split APK files that are on the same folder (needs access to the folder though, so it should be on the file system) .
  • APKM (of APK-Mirror).
  • XAPK (of APK-Pure) , including copying of OBB files when the installation is complete. You don't have to have those on the file system, but it's very recommended for performance reasons.
  • APKS (of SAI app), as well as any other ZIP-based file that just has the split APK files.

Other than being able to install multiple split-APK file formats on various apps, it has those features too:
  • This is the only app that I know of that requests (starting from Android O) to create an app icon on the launcher.
  • No annoyances and ads while installing. Only a progress to show, and trying to do it as quickly as possible.
  • Checks before installing if it's even possible, based on currently installed apps.
  • For rooted devices, you get extra features: (try to) remove the files upon success, auto-grant permissions, (request to) install on SD-card
 

retro486

Senior Member
Aug 1, 2012
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Is there a trick to get apkm to show up in the APKs tab? I have one of my Downloads folder and it's not showing as available but other plain APKs are.
 
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AndroidDeveloperLB

Senior Member
Mar 30, 2014
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Is there a trick to get apkm to show up in the APKs tab? I have one of my Downloads folder and it's not showing as available but other plain APKs are.
Sadly it's not implemented yet. Took me a few months to get outside apps to reach my app to install, but having it inside the app will be a bit harder and longer, as I need to perform various changes to it, and I want to not just show them in the list of APKs, but also to be able to share split-APK based apps (currently only normal apps and APK files are supported within the app).
Sadly currently APKM files are much slower to parse too, in comparison to normal APK files (they use some encryption mechanism), so I want to also make it as efficient as I can.

But, it's a very popular thing people told me and I do plan to do it. Just need to prepare some changes first.
It's a spare time app, so I need to plan things carefully.
 
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AndroidDeveloperLB

Senior Member
Mar 30, 2014
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Why isnt your app open sourced?
Didn't see a good reason at the time and I wanted full control over it, looking at the code and always know that's mine (for better or worse). I wanted something that's all mine, compared to what I do at work.
In addition, it was a long time ago, when I barely knew about repositories and how to put anything on Github. It was all local on my PC for years. :)

Maybe I'm wrong in this thinking. Maybe the community could have helped me. Maybe some day I will do it. I don't know.
 

SilentDevGuy

Member
Feb 10, 2021
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Didn't see a good reason at the time and I wanted full control over it, looking at the code and always know that's mine (for better or worse). I wanted something that's all mine, compared to what I do at work.
In addition, it was a long time ago, when I barely knew about repositories and how to put anything on Github. It was all local on my PC for years. :)

Maybe I'm wrong in this thinking. Maybe the community could have helped me. Maybe some day I will do it. I don't know.
Ahh I see, I feel like your app would have received more attention and use because its great, but its hard to trust using an APP manager that is closed source apps with unknown binaries, do you have a way to show the end consumer your app doesnt abuse root or something like that? That is why I asked open sourced, if you are ever interested please message me if you open source, then I will start using this app too :).
 

AndroidDeveloperLB

Senior Member
Mar 30, 2014
1,881
443
103
Ahh I see, I feel like your app would have received more attention and use because its great, but its hard to trust using an APP manager that is closed source apps with unknown binaries, do you have a way to show the end consumer your app doesnt abuse root or something like that? That is why I asked open sourced, if you are ever interested please message me if you open source, then I will start using this app too :).
It's hard to trust closed sourced apps? Most apps on the Play Store, including the most popular ones - are closed sourced.
I already published privacy policy.
Try me. Try to monitor all the Internet connections of the app. See if I violate anything from it.
I have nothing to hide.
Try even with root being granted.

BTW, making an app open sourced doesn't mean that what you get on the Play Store is really 100% from it. It could have additional component that aren't published.