• Introducing XDA Computing: Discussion zones for Hardware, Software, and more!    Check it out!

Phone downloaded apps by itself, even without data enabled.

Search This thread

WishTime

New member
Nov 29, 2021
3
2
Hi all.

I have searched quite a bit and have found no answer to this problem yet.
So the phone is fresh from factory reset. Phone is pre-owned. Never connected to any wifi network and the wifi always remained off. Same goes with mobile data, never turned on. What's even more interesting is the sim is a prepaid simcard with no credits and no data. The simcard is intended to receive text and calls. (No cost to receive calls or sms). So data leak from that isn't possible either.

I have seen hidden downloaders from carrier that downloads bloatware by itself before. But this is the first time I've ever seen it self download apps without any data connection.

The built-in data usage counter still shows 0. The phone has never connected to anything. But now several bloatware apps just showed up. And those apps do work and storage used has increased. I noticed this around 24 hours after the reset.

Can someone please explain what is going on?
Do phones have secret functions to access data undetected by wifi or carrier?


The phone manufacturer is a one of the major brands and probably the largest that don't have access to GMS. ;)
 

Droidriven

Senior Member
Jan 27, 2014
15,116
4
5,241
NC
Verizon Samsung Galaxy S III
HTC Thunderbolt
Hi all.

I have searched quite a bit and have found no answer to this problem yet.
So the phone is fresh from factory reset. Phone is pre-owned. Never connected to any wifi network and the wifi always remained off. Same goes with mobile data, never turned on. What's even more interesting is the sim is a prepaid simcard with no credits and no data. The simcard is intended to receive text and calls. (No cost to receive calls or sms). So data leak from that isn't possible either.

I have seen hidden downloaders from carrier that downloads bloatware by itself before. But this is the first time I've ever seen it self download apps without any data connection.

The built-in data usage counter still shows 0. The phone has never connected to anything. But now several bloatware apps just showed up. And those apps do work and storage used has increased. I noticed this around 24 hours after the reset.

Can someone please explain what is going on?
Do phones have secret functions to access data undetected by wifi or carrier?


The phone manufacturer is a one of the major brands and probably the largest that don't have access to GMS. ;)
Some devices have system apps that can be "uninstall", but they don't actually uninstall completely because the uninstalled apps are stored in a hidden partition. But, once uninstalled, if the device is factory reset, the apps automatically reinstall themselves from the hidden partition, similar to when resetting a PC to factory defaults. I had a tablet that would do this, the apps were definitely uninstalled but would reinstall from the hidden partition when I would factory reset the device, then I would have to uninstall those apps again. This would happen every time I did a factory reset.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: zpunout

WishTime

New member
Nov 29, 2021
3
2
Some devices have system apps that can be "uninstall", but they don't actually uninstall completely because the uninstalled apps are stored in a hidden partition. But, once uninstalled, if the device is factory reset, the apps automatically reinstall themselves from the hidden partition, similar to when resetting a PC to factory defaults. I had a taste would do this, the apps were definitely uninstalled but would reinstall from the hidden partition when I would factory reset the device, then I would have to uninstall those apps again. This would happen every time did a factory reset.
Thanks for the answer.

Yes I understand that part of uninstall. But the difference here is those apps never returned fresh from factory reset. It returned hours after using the phone. The first few hours of using the phone, those apps doesn't exist, doesn't even show up on the free space count. It wasn't until the next day those apps appear.

I did suspect what you said too, but I can't explain why it waited at least 18-24 hours delay before installing itself and show up on the phone. If that was the case, it should have appeared right after the reset.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zpunout

Droidriven

Senior Member
Jan 27, 2014
15,116
4
5,241
NC
Verizon Samsung Galaxy S III
HTC Thunderbolt
Thanks for the answer.

Yes I understand that part of uninstall. But the difference here is those apps never returned fresh from factory reset. It returned hours after using the phone. The first few hours of using the phone, those apps doesn't exist, doesn't even show up on the free space count. It wasn't until the next day those apps appear.

I did suspect what you said too, but I can't explain why it waited at least 18-24 hours delay before installing itself and show up on the phone. If that was the case, it should have appeared right after the reset.
Yes, I considered that also. The only other thing I could imagine is that maybe you installed something and then whatever that was installed the additional apps.
 

WishTime

New member
Nov 29, 2021
3
2
So after trying to gather more information.

I believe it is installed from some "hidden partition" by some hidden app installer.
The reason is.
1. No data of what so ever is connected.
2. The installed app version is old, as in few months before the official release.
What is intriguing is.
1. The delay before installing this app (and through an installer), rather than just install it fresh from reset.
2. It doesn't appear to be consuming and storage, as if this hidden partition cannot even be seen. Once the app appears, the storage usage increases.

Questions of a hidden Google mesh network come to mind after reading this. I guess it's theoretically possible via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth between devices. I don't know.
I actually believe it is a thing. I vaguely remember that my brand new iPhone detected and recommended my current location region without even inserting a simcard or connecting to wifi yet. The kicker is, phone was purchased in another country that is separated by vast ocean and several time zones.

To this day I still can't figure out how did the iPhone know that. I suspect that the wifi routers broadcast more than just SSID to any device that is not connected. Or it could be from another iPhone. Maybe some similar bluetooth tech that predates "Airtag". This was about 3-4 years ago, likely it was the X.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zpunout

Droidriven

Senior Member
Jan 27, 2014
15,116
4
5,241
NC
Verizon Samsung Galaxy S III
HTC Thunderbolt
So after trying to gather more information.

I believe it is installed from some "hidden partition" by some hidden app installer.
The reason is.
1. No data of what so ever is connected.
2. The installed app version is old, as in few months before the official release.
What is intriguing is.
1. The delay before installing this app (and through an installer), rather than just install it fresh from reset.
2. It doesn't appear to be consuming and storage, as if this hidden partition cannot even be seen. Once the app appears, the storage usage increases.


I actually believe it is a thing. I vaguely remember that my brand new iPhone detected and recommended my current location region without even inserting a simcard or connecting to wifi yet. The kicker is, phone was purchased in another country that is separated by vast ocean and several time zones.

To this day I still can't figure out how did the iPhone know that. I suspect that the wifi routers broadcast more than just SSID to any device that is not connected. Or it could be from another iPhone. Maybe some similar bluetooth tech that predates "Airtag". This was about 3-4 years ago, likely it was the X.
Location is detetmined by more than just mobile data and Wi-Fi, it also uses the regular cellular part of the radio. The cellular part of the radio works even without an active SIM. That is why the emergency location and emergency call features work even without the device being activated on a network so that you can make emergency calls and your location can be tracked in emergency situations so that you can be found if you need help or rescue.
 

Top Liked Posts

  • There are no posts matching your filters.
  • 2
    So after trying to gather more information.

    I believe it is installed from some "hidden partition" by some hidden app installer.
    The reason is.
    1. No data of what so ever is connected.
    2. The installed app version is old, as in few months before the official release.
    What is intriguing is.
    1. The delay before installing this app (and through an installer), rather than just install it fresh from reset.
    2. It doesn't appear to be consuming and storage, as if this hidden partition cannot even be seen. Once the app appears, the storage usage increases.


    I actually believe it is a thing. I vaguely remember that my brand new iPhone detected and recommended my current location region without even inserting a simcard or connecting to wifi yet. The kicker is, phone was purchased in another country that is separated by vast ocean and several time zones.

    To this day I still can't figure out how did the iPhone know that. I suspect that the wifi routers broadcast more than just SSID to any device that is not connected. Or it could be from another iPhone. Maybe some similar bluetooth tech that predates "Airtag". This was about 3-4 years ago, likely it was the X.
    Location is detetmined by more than just mobile data and Wi-Fi, it also uses the regular cellular part of the radio. The cellular part of the radio works even without an active SIM. That is why the emergency location and emergency call features work even without the device being activated on a network so that you can make emergency calls and your location can be tracked in emergency situations so that you can be found if you need help or rescue.
    1
    Hi all.

    I have searched quite a bit and have found no answer to this problem yet.
    So the phone is fresh from factory reset. Phone is pre-owned. Never connected to any wifi network and the wifi always remained off. Same goes with mobile data, never turned on. What's even more interesting is the sim is a prepaid simcard with no credits and no data. The simcard is intended to receive text and calls. (No cost to receive calls or sms). So data leak from that isn't possible either.

    I have seen hidden downloaders from carrier that downloads bloatware by itself before. But this is the first time I've ever seen it self download apps without any data connection.

    The built-in data usage counter still shows 0. The phone has never connected to anything. But now several bloatware apps just showed up. And those apps do work and storage used has increased. I noticed this around 24 hours after the reset.

    Can someone please explain what is going on?
    Do phones have secret functions to access data undetected by wifi or carrier?


    The phone manufacturer is a one of the major brands and probably the largest that don't have access to GMS. ;)
    Some devices have system apps that can be "uninstall", but they don't actually uninstall completely because the uninstalled apps are stored in a hidden partition. But, once uninstalled, if the device is factory reset, the apps automatically reinstall themselves from the hidden partition, similar to when resetting a PC to factory defaults. I had a tablet that would do this, the apps were definitely uninstalled but would reinstall from the hidden partition when I would factory reset the device, then I would have to uninstall those apps again. This would happen every time I did a factory reset.
    1
    Some devices have system apps that can be "uninstall", but they don't actually uninstall completely because the uninstalled apps are stored in a hidden partition. But, once uninstalled, if the device is factory reset, the apps automatically reinstall themselves from the hidden partition, similar to when resetting a PC to factory defaults. I had a taste would do this, the apps were definitely uninstalled but would reinstall from the hidden partition when I would factory reset the device, then I would have to uninstall those apps again. This would happen every time did a factory reset.
    Thanks for the answer.

    Yes I understand that part of uninstall. But the difference here is those apps never returned fresh from factory reset. It returned hours after using the phone. The first few hours of using the phone, those apps doesn't exist, doesn't even show up on the free space count. It wasn't until the next day those apps appear.

    I did suspect what you said too, but I can't explain why it waited at least 18-24 hours delay before installing itself and show up on the phone. If that was the case, it should have appeared right after the reset.
    1
    So after trying to gather more information.

    I believe it is installed from some "hidden partition" by some hidden app installer.
    The reason is.
    1. No data of what so ever is connected.
    2. The installed app version is old, as in few months before the official release.
    What is intriguing is.
    1. The delay before installing this app (and through an installer), rather than just install it fresh from reset.
    2. It doesn't appear to be consuming and storage, as if this hidden partition cannot even be seen. Once the app appears, the storage usage increases.

    Questions of a hidden Google mesh network come to mind after reading this. I guess it's theoretically possible via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth between devices. I don't know.
    I actually believe it is a thing. I vaguely remember that my brand new iPhone detected and recommended my current location region without even inserting a simcard or connecting to wifi yet. The kicker is, phone was purchased in another country that is separated by vast ocean and several time zones.

    To this day I still can't figure out how did the iPhone know that. I suspect that the wifi routers broadcast more than just SSID to any device that is not connected. Or it could be from another iPhone. Maybe some similar bluetooth tech that predates "Airtag". This was about 3-4 years ago, likely it was the X.