(Q) How can I disable Instant Apps for Android

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fatapia

Senior Member
Apr 21, 2010
291
71
Like the title says, I've noticed since updating to 7.1.2 at least 2-3 times a day I am thrown a notification for "updating Instant Apps" but it never tells me if it was updated or installed. I tried going to Settings -> Google -> Instant Apps and it is disabled yet these apps are auto-downloading and installing in the background. I have auto-updates off on the play store but this still occurs.

Is there anything I can do to disable or at least cripple the instant apps? I'm reading the purpose of instant apps is so you can try an application without installing it, I do not want to test drive apps like Buzzfeed so however I can disable it would be great
 

fatapia

Senior Member
Apr 21, 2010
291
71
Like the title says, I've noticed since updating to 7.1.2 at least 2-3 times a day I am thrown a notification for "updating Instant Apps" but it never tells me if it was updated or installed. I tried going to Settings -> Google -> Instant Apps and it is disabled yet these apps are auto-downloading and installing in the background. I have auto-updates off on the play store but this still occurs.

Is there anything I can do to disable or at least cripple the instant apps? I'm reading the purpose of instant apps is so you can try an application without installing it, I do not want to test drive apps like Buzzfeed so however I can disable it would be great

So, using Titanium Backup I couldn't find the package com.google.android.instantapps.supervisor but using a root explorer I found the application in /data/app/com.google.android.instantapps.supervisor-2

I also found saved data in /data/data/com.google.android.apps.instantapps.supervisor

I have no idea if this will prevent the service from auto-updating as it has been without permission but I know where it is now...
Update: Deleting both folders causing settings to crash when you go to Settings -> Google -> Instant apps, so it might be deleted off my phone entirely. I will update if I see the application re-install itself
 
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fatapia

Senior Member
Apr 21, 2010
291
71
Instant apps are temporary apps. So you can't uninstall them or disable it. It's a feature built into Android that is not going away. Your only option is to install a rom without Gapps. Otherwise deal with it.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk

deleting those two files seemed to have broken that feature.

My issue was that I disabled that service through settings as suggested by one of the google support pages but it would still download and install "Instant Apps" the service throughout the day, not the actual temporary apps themselves. So it's been dealt with lol
 

speedee12

Member
Sep 14, 2010
39
13
I am hoping that this will work for me as well. The first time I saw the instant apps pop up I just connected to a free wifi in Mexico and freaked out. This seriously bothers me. I uninstalled it and it came back update after update. I also will not be using any instant apps, so this is something I want to break.
 

fatapia

Senior Member
Apr 21, 2010
291
71
I am hoping that this will work for me as well. The first time I saw the instant apps pop up I just connected to a free wifi in Mexico and freaked out. This seriously bothers me. I uninstalled it and it came back update after update. I also will not be using any instant apps, so this is something I want to break.

some how it was pushed back on to my phone. this is not a permanent solution...
 

fatapia

Senior Member
Apr 21, 2010
291
71
so I'm trying to disable this through other means now and I found something interesting? I need someone with more experience to chime in as far as what these* lines* do*.. and where I found it...

so in /data/data/com.google.android.apps.instantapps.supervisor/shared_prefs/phenotypeConfigurations.xml there are these three lines:

<boolean name="Supervisor__enable_instant_apps" value="true" />
<boolean name="Supervisor__disable_url_resolution" value="false" />
<boolean name="TestFeature__enable_test" value="true" />

I flipped the value of these three entries to see if this will disable it. I find it odd that for the first line it was set for "true" when the settings say it's off. I will update again if I see this come back. My coworker had suggested that this may be built in to the Google app itself? Let's see...
 
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fatapia

Senior Member
Apr 21, 2010
291
71
so I had to unroot my phone because I forgot to log into snapchat, then re-root after, and Instant Apps was back yet again. The changes I made to the XML file persisted but the app was back.

I think I found a way to remove it entirely. I used Root Explorer, idk what other applications would work for this. So I navigated back to /data/app/com.google.android.instantapps.supervisor-1 and I clicked the base.apk and I had an option to uninstall, I did this then rebooted my phone to see if reboots are why it fixes itself except the entry for Instant Apps has been removed from settings. This appears to permanently remove this feature.
 

fatapia

Senior Member
Apr 21, 2010
291
71
every time I think I fix this it keeps coming back lol, I finally called Google Support and this is the first they are hearing of it. The application re-installed itself at 430-some Mountain Time on it's own, other times it re-installs upon reboot. I'm going to find a way to cripple it if google cant

I recommend calling support to let them know that Instant Apps is enabled even though the switch says it is disabled.
 
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ninestarkoko

Senior Member
Nov 26, 2013
516
213
every time I think I fix this it keeps coming back lol, I finally called Google Support and this is the first they are hearing of it. The application re-installed itself at 430-some Mountain Time on it's own, other times it re-installs upon reboot. I'm going to find a way to cripple it if google cant

I recommend calling support to let them know that Instant Apps is enabled even though the switch says it is disabled.

I have the same annoyances, "Installig Instant apps" notification appears randomly during the last month, and reading in the logcat they are updates/patches to the new feature, managed by finsky app (Play Store). The most scaring thing is that one time it appeared also during mobile data connection, which is not acceptable (and 800kb background data from Play Store). Google is being too aggressive with it. Why not simply integrate it and update it along with Play Services like the other 1000 google APIs ? !on WIFI!

Thank you for your tests, unfortunately the update process seems to be triggered by Google Play services itself or by Google play store.
I searched for related alarms/wakelocks in Amplify and could only found one wakelock coming from com.google.android.apps.instantapps.supervisor itself: .ExperimentUpdateService. I decided to keep it as this probably isn't the trigger.
 

fatapia

Senior Member
Apr 21, 2010
291
71
I have the same annoyances, "Installig Instant apps" notification appears randomly during the last month, and reading in the logcat they are updates/patches to the new feature, managed by finsky app (Play Store). The most scaring thing is that one time it appeared also during mobile data connection, which is not acceptable (and 800kb background data from Play Store). Google is being too aggressive with it. Why not simply integrate it and update it along with Play Services like the other 1000 google APIs ? !on WIFI!

Thank you for your tests, unfortunately the update process seems to be triggered by Google Play services itself or by Google play store.
I searched for related alarms/wakelocks in Amplify and could only found one wakelock coming from com.google.android.apps.instantapps.supervisor itself: .ExperimentUpdateService. I decided to keep it as this probably isn't the trigger.

yeah that's now my only worrisome complaint is that it ignores the play store settings and will download over any network connection. You can try submitting feedback through settings and suggest they fix this part so that it updates as you said. Thanks for the additional info, I'll try disabling that and report back if it makes any difference. I doubt that's the source of the problem though so I uninstall the apk so something else must be initiating it.
 
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kathrynhr

Member
Jun 16, 2010
23
3
Thank you guys for this thread! I have the regular Pixel and have been seeing this happen... "Instant Apps" was disabled but somehow still updating either itself or something else, and I wondered if there was an additional switch somewhere to disable it. Looks like the answer is no. ?

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
 

fatapia

Senior Member
Apr 21, 2010
291
71
So I noticed every time the play store found an update, magically Instant Apps was back. I began to notice that this may be a service built into Play Store and not the Google app itself. So I had an idea, I went into Settings for Android and turned off background data for Play services. Obviously this will affect quite a bit, but honestly I am at that point from fighting this feature that I'd gladly give that up. So far after 2 days I have not seen the application re-install itself. It has been more permanent that the other solutions I've had so far.

There's an article from XDA in Analysis and Opinion talking about Instant Apps and Play Store 7.8.15, apparently this issue is affecting people all the way down to the Samsung S5... although people are hesistant to believe this issue exists for whatever reason.
 
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G1A

New member
May 15, 2017
3
1
You can cripple it by restricting its access to internet via firewall. Unfortunately this method also drives up battery consumption as the firewall does jujitsu with "Google Play services for Instant Apps" - I am actively fantasizing about taking my baby sledge to this thing and going back to a "dumb"-phone that doesn't have all this drama constantly! I'm using an S5 right now. This is definitely a google thing. They have a similar self-install-without-asking "feature" on windows via their chrome browser. Just look up "SwReporter" in that program's directory. It self-populates with an executable as you use chrome normally and there is no option in the program for it to not do that. You can safely make a shortcut to that directory and empty it out regularly to restrict its functionality which is presumably for keeping an eye on you. I am also trying an alternate method of changing security to prevent write access to that directory. I have no idea how to do that on an unrooted android. Any ideas? And does anybody know how to cripple "instant apps" malware/spyware backdoor "feature" on an unrooted device without eating battery like crazy?
 
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wgraz

Senior Member
Sep 22, 2012
151
21
New Jersey
Today I noticed that Instant Apps was installing without my permission. When I clicked on that notification, it brought me to the Google Play Store. (In Google Play Store, I have auto updates disabled.) I have an unrooted Galaxy Note 4 and I can't even find the settings for Instant Apps under the Google settings. Why aren't the settings there? I found the app in the Apps settings called "Google Play services for Instant Apps" (thank you G1A). I cleared it's the cache and data and then uninstalled it. So I'm assuming it will not come back but you never know.

EDIT: Well the "Google Play services for Instant Apps" reinstalled itself AGAIN WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. Getting sick of tired of Google's POMPOUS business ethics.
 
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exothermic

Member
Mar 8, 2015
11
1
If it reinstalled itself.... then his would require root privileges in order to disable.
 
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fatapia

Senior Member
Apr 21, 2010
291
71
yeah this issue is annoying, it seems to initiate the download upon every reboot and each time it checks the play store for updates for any of your apps.

I found a way to disable it but it required freezing the app through Titanium Backup. I have NO CLUE why I couldn't see Instant Apps before in this list but it is listed as "Google Play Services for Instant Apps." It does not re-install or try to even download, does not show in Settings under Google, but if you look at the app itself in settings you will see it does still run. I am not sure to what extent but yeeeaahhh at least it doesnt seem like it can run anything
 

G1A

New member
May 15, 2017
3
1
No problem ;) As an update, changing security permissions (specifically for writing) for chrome's target folder Definitely (in windows 10) serves as an effective measure to blockade its ability to regenerate itself. This same method also works for microsoft edge located in the C-Windows-SystemApps folder. I presume that the programming methods would be analogous with android on google's end. Anybody know how to restrict write access to a folder on android? So long as it checks for a folder existing and it does exist (multi-decade programming approach) then it attempts to write to that folder. However, because it's already running in stealth mode (aka background) then it will never show an error message when it fails to execute, and it won't report back either, as that functionality depends on the contents of the targeted folder it is denied access to. It should be effectively crippled without excessive CPU consumption if you can just restrict its ability to write to the default folder that it installs itself in. Any ideas how to execute this kind of blockade?

UPDATE: As a way to cripple not Instant Apps specifically, but an entire host of functionality on the android platform, something called "Power Saving Mode" seems to knock out a key background runtime required for this pest to run. Unfortunately it doesn't let you pick and choose what it shuts off, so other useful apps may lose their functionality too. Post if anybody finds a more app-specific method!
 
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evilwombat

Senior Member
Dec 26, 2012
268
2,596
Norcal
Does this crap have its own separate package? If so, you could uninstall it and make a dummy APK having the same package name. This could prevent "updates" due to signing key conflicts, but might also break things...
 

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  • 4
    oh man, when i saw this i thought i had a virus on my phone.
    especially when i couldn't find anything named "instant apps" in the app drawer
    3
    ...anyway, this crap from fck G auto-update itself. I restore just few minutes ago a ViperOneM9 backup where (I know for sure) the auto-update settings in PlayStore app was disabled.
    Now G auto-update his apps without ask nor advice... very nice. Thank you G for ruin my Android experience, every day worst and even worster.
    Best way is this.
    2
    So much whining, pointless anger and conspiracy theory bs over a complete non issue, smh. It seems like an idiotic herd has taken over XDA.

    Sir, if you consider this as a non issue to you, why bother reply?

    It is a ethical subject(read debate) which has to be looked into.
    And when you say idiots, does that #include you, sir?

    Apart from the above reference,

    great job all, there are some who are willing to get a work around.
    Im a victim of this forced update by google. Tried BK package which works onnly on samsung, my device wasnt allowed.
    Im a OP2 user, stock rom.
    If i could be of any help, please let me know.
    (And i will keep an eye on this thread)
    thanks!
    1
    Instant apps are temporary apps. So you can't uninstall them or disable it. It's a feature built into Android that is not going away. Your only option is to install a rom without Gapps. Otherwise deal with it.

    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
    1
    Enable/Disable Google Instant Apps.

    I found this solution(s) for my sister & a few other random people who WANTED TO ENABLE instant apps but maybe following the steps & tapping NONE instead of an account will help fix your issue.


    I have never had the option to enable Instant Apps (IA) via my Google settings. The ONLY way I have found to enable IA on any of my devices is by*following the steps listed below. Not listing all of my devices individually, but I have a collection ranging from: Protective plastic undisturbed to old & crappy but rooted.


    1. Tap the Play Store app
    2. Locate & tap to open the hamburger menu (3 stacked lines in upper left corner)
    3. Find & tap the Settings option
    4. Find the User Controls menu, the very last option should be Google Play Instant (GPI)
    5. Tap GPI & choose the account you would like to use.

    ALSO.....

    1. Go into your phone Settings
    2. Find & tap the Apps & Notifications option
    3. Find & tap the Default Apps option
    4. Find & tap the App Links option
    5. Toggle Open Links In App option on
    6. Right below that should be the Instant Apps Account (IAA) option - tap the IAA option & choose an account to use with IA.


    IF YOU WANT TO OPT OUT FOR ALL accounts: Tap NONE instead of choosing an account.