[HowTo] Remove preinstalled apps - no need to flash custom roms or gold card root!

Search This thread

TheLegendaryJay

Senior Member
Aug 20, 2010
198
10
I know there are some people like myself who actually like Sense and doing a 'full' root can be daunting, especailly if all you want to do is remove the crud that Vodafone or your Telco install on your branded Legend. But there is no reason this can't be used to remove apps that are in a custom ROM - as far as I am aware! If someone with a custom ROM could confirm this, that would be great!


Righto, as per usual here is the disclaimer - doing this is risky and you do so at your own peril! Don't come crying to me or Paul @ MoDaCo if it bricks your phone (it shouldn't but this is just a warning)

Enough of that you get the idea ;) Now for the fun bit!

First if you are not you'll need VISIONary+ from MoDaCo, at the time of this writing r13 is the latest and is available on page 7.
Please read and check the original post as there may be an updated version. If you are rooted skip to the next step.

This is Paul's guide he done quickly on his G2, it's more of a pictorial guide (same rules apply to the Legend as G2 in this case).

Once installed use the Temproot option, this can take 15 seconds or so to complete, use a Terminal Emulator and type su then return/enter and your $ should change to a # - this means you have temproot.

Go to the market and install SuperUser, Titanium Backup, BusyBox.

Open Titanium Backup allowing it root access when prompted, go to Backup/Restore and scroll to find one of the preinstalled bloatware apps, I chose the Vodafone Music app and the Vodafone Web app.
Long hold on the app you want to remove and scroll down a bit and choose the option "Force remove app (by recovery exploit)"

This will reboot your phone TWICE, you will get the recovery screen up - LET IT RUN IT's COURSE! DO NOT INTERRUPT THIS.

Once it boots back into your normal check that the app is no longer in your App drawer :)

Repeat for all the Apps that came preinstalled that you don't want, just be careful you don't remove anything that may still be needed!

A huge thanks to Paul at MoDaCo for this ingenious hack and the Titanium Backup, BusyBox and SuperUser developers for their hard work in writing their apps which also allow us to easy do this :D

Oh and you can use the Temproot on boot to have a sortof but not fully permaroot :cool:
 
Last edited:

Rapier

Recognized Contributor
Jun 23, 2008
5,159
2,566
Bucharest
Great work. I'll try on CM 6.1 RC1. One thing though...If I'm rooted I presume I need only the Titanium backup not VISIONary or other tools, right?
 

TheLegendaryJay

Senior Member
Aug 20, 2010
198
10
Yes you need the other apps, but you can remove them afterwards if you want. You'll need SuperUser to be able to grant Titanium Backup access, and Titanium Backup requires BusyBox to be installed - Titanium Backup gives you the option to install BusyBox if you press the 'Problems?' button under the Overview tab.


PS: you can use the free version of Titanium Backup for this exercise.
 

Rapier

Recognized Contributor
Jun 23, 2008
5,159
2,566
Bucharest
Yes, thank you. I knew about busybox and the option to install it from Titanium. SuperUser I have it already since I'm using CyanogenMod RC1 and it is included in the ROM (I think it is OK like this). So only Titanium (+busybox) needs to be installed.

I'll give it a try and let you know the results. I'll try to remove a rather large application (for ex Google Maps) and I'll install it afterward on the sdcard (since it is system appl, it cannot be moved directly to sdcard)

Later edit: IT WORKS! So I've tried to (and succeeded) remove 2 "system" applications: Google Maps and Calculator. Both were removed and the free space is now available (before 80 Mb free, after 91.2 Mb free).
There was only one issue with Maps, the icon still showed up in the application drawer and it was working (even after going through all above). After several checks I found the reason. The Maps were installed twice...the version included in the CM ROM (that was deleted by this procedure) AND the updated Maps (it once asked for upgrading the application from the market and I did that). After removing the "system installed" version of Google Maps, the "updates" remained. I went to Settings-Applications-Manage Applications and I found Maps there. I've uninstalled the updates then rebooted the phone. After that the icon was gone completely.

To conclude, for CM ROMS (or for all phones that are already rooted and have already the SU application), the steps to be performed for removing a system appl are:

1. Install Titanium Backup
2. Press (as instructed) "Problems" button. This will install a working version of busybox.
3. Check if the application you want to remove, has also updates (from Market or some other places) installed. If YES, go to Settings-Applications-Manage Applications and uninstall all the updates.
4. Start Titanium Backup and perform the steps indicated in the first post by TheLegendaryJay.

So it is working on custom ROM's as well and you don't need VISIONary or other application/tools.

All credits go to Paul, CM team and this whole community, the ones which made such things possible for our phones. TheLegendaryJay, thank you also for sharing this with us. Perhaps for rooted phones it is easier to remove applications with adb commands, but some are maybe not so technical to install the SDK or know how to use it (I can be counted as one of them), or they just might want to remove an application when they don't have a pc with SDK nearby.
 
Last edited:

efex

Senior Member
Jul 15, 2008
599
210
Göteborg
OnePlus 8 Pro
For you guys who are rooted - why not just flash the overlay filesystem patch, enable it, and then use any file explorer and go to /system/app/ and delete the apps you dont want? just a tip, it's much easier.. (and takes less time)
 

Rapier

Recognized Contributor
Jun 23, 2008
5,159
2,566
Bucharest
Because one of the reasons for which I wanted to rip out an application from the ROM is to gain some more space... By using overlay system, as I understood, you're practically duplicate the whole system to make it accessible for writing so I don't know if you gain some more space. Eventually you'll have less. Or, if that space is on the sdcard, that does not suit me also cause as I know, is working slower from there. Anyhow, I don't want to detail this here cause we'll be off-topic.
 

efex

Senior Member
Jul 15, 2008
599
210
Göteborg
OnePlus 8 Pro
Because one of the reasons for which I wanted to rip out an application from the ROM is to gain some more space... By using overlay system, as I understood, you're practically duplicate the whole system to make it accessible for writing so I don't know if you gain some more space. Eventually you'll have less. Or, if that space is on the sdcard, that does not suit me also cause as I know, is working slower from there. Anyhow, I don't want to detail this here cause we'll be off-topic.

As I understand it, the system folder is only linked so the phone believes it's on the SD-card. This should mean, no extra space is taken (except for the few kB that makes this possible). i could be wrong, but I use system overlay and I see no whatsoever decrease in performance. Not in benchmarks nor in usage.

If you are rooted - and dont want system overlay, I still think there is a better wway - ADB! just mount system, cd to system/app, ls it and rm whatever apps ypu dont want.. no need for multiple reboots - quick and effective :)
 

Rapier

Recognized Contributor
Jun 23, 2008
5,159
2,566
Bucharest
adb way might be quicker but it might prove to be ineffective (at least for me it was). In order to remove an application, you must check its filename (with ls command). I've tried to remove Facebook and Twitter applications using adb remove and guess what...they're still there. I admit I might have done something wrong, what I'm saying is that through this new method described above, someone is able to remove an appl by chosing it from a list. For the ones that don't feel so confortable using adb, this is an alternative

Sent from my Legend using XDA App
 

efex

Senior Member
Jul 15, 2008
599
210
Göteborg
OnePlus 8 Pro
adb way might be quicker but it might prove to be ineffective (at least for me it was). In order to remove an application, you must check its filename (with ls command). I've tried to remove Facebook and Twitter applications using adb remove and guess what...they're still there. I admit I might have done something wrong, what I'm saying is that through this new method described above, someone is able to remove an appl by chosing it from a list. For the ones that don't feel so confortable using adb, this is an alternative

Sent from my Legend using XDA App

When it comes to ADB, you must write the filename exactly as it is, if you want to remove Facebook.apk you must rm Facebook.apk, not facebook.apk :p or just rm Facebook*

What I do, I ls all files, copy the filenames I want to remove into into a txt file. ex. "rm facebook.apk Torch.apk voiceDialer.apk AndroidTerm.apk" and so on. When I flash a new rom, i just copy that file string and remove em all with that one command :) ofc. I ls it after and check if there is anything new I want to remove, but I get rid of most of it in a few seconds. (good tip!)
 

Rapier

Recognized Contributor
Jun 23, 2008
5,159
2,566
Bucharest
I understood that. Now I've checked again and I know what happened...the same thing I said above. The appl was removed also with adb command but the updates of that appl were not. I've removed the updates from Settings and after that the whole appl was gone (Facebook in this case). So both metods work, everyone can choose what he likes more

Anyway this was much more to test if it's working on custom ROMs as was asked by TheLegendaryJay and less as of providing an alternate way for rooted owners.

Sent from my Legend using XDA App
 

BlaY0

Retired Recognized Developer
Sep 15, 2007
1,553
566
Medvode
You both are wrong. Overlay is just an overlay... it uses several file systems or parts of file systems (directories, files), merge them and show them to us as one new merged file system. The principle is such that if U have one read-only and one read-write file system merged together, all writes are then performed to that read-write one. If you'd like to delete one file from read-only portion, that action is noted on read-write portion and your system doesn't t see that file again through merged file system whereas it is in fact still there...
 

efex

Senior Member
Jul 15, 2008
599
210
Göteborg
OnePlus 8 Pro
You both are wrong. Overlay is just an overlay... it uses several file systems or parts of file systems (directories, files), merge them and show them to us as one new merged file system. The principle is such that if U have one read-only and one read-write file system merged together, all writes are then performed to that read-write one. If you'd like to delete one file from read-only portion, that action is noted on read-write portion and your system doesn't t see that file again through merged file system whereas it is in fact still there...

thanks for this, great info. :) Now I'm glad I use adb and not file overlay for removing files :D
 

BlaY0

Retired Recognized Developer
Sep 15, 2007
1,553
566
Medvode
Why's that? Overlay is really handy thing for testing... U can make the system think that the file is not there but in fact is. If something goes wrong (boot loop) because of that, U just disable overlay and U R back on with origial state. After U are satisfied with changes, U can merge those changes into read-only file system via recovery mode.

Sent from my HTC Legend
 

Rapier

Recognized Contributor
Jun 23, 2008
5,159
2,566
Bucharest
BlaY0, you're totally right. Overlay is a great thing for testing (and by the way many thanks you for what you did). But if you're not a tester, just an enthusiast who look for new stuff for his phone, overlay could be much more than he needs.

I'm looking for example to have as much free space in memory as possible. REAL free space. If I'm using overlay, that will not be gained right? The read only files will still be there, only the overlay will show them "deleted". So...what I'm doing instead is that I'm flashing one of the existing ROMs (as per my preferences - CM 6.1 RC1 for ex.) that will not "brick" my phone, I customize it with widgets and applications as I like, than I start deleting what I don't need. For sure I can use overlay for that, but I can do it also without it. This topic presented an alternative for doing that, to the known adb commands. Also from what I've understood, the method in this topic is more aimed to the ones that are not (or don't want to be) rooted. And for those, the adb method doesn't work
 
Last edited:

BlaY0

Retired Recognized Developer
Sep 15, 2007
1,553
566
Medvode
You sure are totally right, but then again if you deleted some apk from /system/app that is needed for some other apk and U didn't know about that, you could end up with a so called boot loop. And if this is done by some noob, the simplest way for him to restore would be to wipe and reflash the original ROM. Overay can prevent such accidents. Actually even with overlay you can save space especially where is needed the most, that's on data partition - there's no need for dex in dalvik-cache any more etc. and surely you get more free ram as that app isn't loading any more. For the system partition it actually doesn't matter if it is full in fact why it shouldn't be full. When we get our S-OFF the first thing I will do is to rearange mtd partitions shrinking system and extending data coz now I have like nearly 50 MB free on system partition that I can not use wisely.

Sent from my HTC Legend
 
Okay, I must be doing something wrong, but I have no idea what. I have the same ROM as Rapier on my Desire, I have Titanium Backup and I did everything he said above. The pre-installed apps are uninstalled with TB (Car app, News and Weather, Facebook, Twitter, Google Voice, Maps, Quickoffice 2.0 which I have no idea what really is), I clear the Dalvik cache and many mega are freed. Then if I reboot, they're back. Like nothing happened.

Do you have any idea or should I give more details? Thanks for the help, guys.
 

Rapier

Recognized Contributor
Jun 23, 2008
5,159
2,566
Bucharest
Have you checked also if those applications you're removing do not have some updates installed? Because if they do, you'll get them back on the phone. First remove the updates from each application (from normal "Application" management), then remove the application residing in system with TB.

PS. QuickOffice is a suite program similar with MS Office, that allows you to read (and in the paid version also to write) office documents (.doc, .xls, .ppt...etc)
 
Thank you for your quick reply.

Yes, I have checked and uninstalled all updates. They are all with the basic version.
About Quickoffice, I know what it is :) It's just that the one that came with CM 6.1.0 RC1 cannot be accessed, it can only be used to open supported file formats (I just found out after posting here :D). I'd prefer the normal Quickoffice with which I can access my dropbox and Google docs too, that's why I wanted to uninstall this in the first place.
 

Top Liked Posts

  • There are no posts matching your filters.
  • 2
    I know there are some people like myself who actually like Sense and doing a 'full' root can be daunting, especailly if all you want to do is remove the crud that Vodafone or your Telco install on your branded Legend. But there is no reason this can't be used to remove apps that are in a custom ROM - as far as I am aware! If someone with a custom ROM could confirm this, that would be great!


    Righto, as per usual here is the disclaimer - doing this is risky and you do so at your own peril! Don't come crying to me or Paul @ MoDaCo if it bricks your phone (it shouldn't but this is just a warning)

    Enough of that you get the idea ;) Now for the fun bit!

    First if you are not you'll need VISIONary+ from MoDaCo, at the time of this writing r13 is the latest and is available on page 7.
    Please read and check the original post as there may be an updated version. If you are rooted skip to the next step.

    This is Paul's guide he done quickly on his G2, it's more of a pictorial guide (same rules apply to the Legend as G2 in this case).

    Once installed use the Temproot option, this can take 15 seconds or so to complete, use a Terminal Emulator and type su then return/enter and your $ should change to a # - this means you have temproot.

    Go to the market and install SuperUser, Titanium Backup, BusyBox.

    Open Titanium Backup allowing it root access when prompted, go to Backup/Restore and scroll to find one of the preinstalled bloatware apps, I chose the Vodafone Music app and the Vodafone Web app.
    Long hold on the app you want to remove and scroll down a bit and choose the option "Force remove app (by recovery exploit)"

    This will reboot your phone TWICE, you will get the recovery screen up - LET IT RUN IT's COURSE! DO NOT INTERRUPT THIS.

    Once it boots back into your normal check that the app is no longer in your App drawer :)

    Repeat for all the Apps that came preinstalled that you don't want, just be careful you don't remove anything that may still be needed!

    A huge thanks to Paul at MoDaCo for this ingenious hack and the Titanium Backup, BusyBox and SuperUser developers for their hard work in writing their apps which also allow us to easy do this :D

    Oh and you can use the Temproot on boot to have a sortof but not fully permaroot :cool:
Our Apps
Get our official app!
The best way to access XDA on your phone
Nav Gestures
Add swipe gestures to any Android
One Handed Mode
Eases uses one hand with your phone