Remove Android system applications (an example)


11 - 14 minutes read, 2845 words
Categories: android
Keywords: android bloatware

Lately I’ve changed my current phone with another android phone (from Sony). I thought this time I could document better what programs I’ve removed, and my decisions criteria, as an example of why I find it frustrating configuring an android phone.

In this post I’ve enlisted the adb commands for querying, removing and/or disabling, if not all, most packages I do not want.

First of all, I’ve enlisted all installed packages. The output of adb shell pm list packages | sort was …​

package:android
package:android.autoinstalls.config.sony.xperia
package:android.enterprise.overlay.common
package:android.enterprise.overlay.generic
package:android.overlay.common
package:android.platform.overlay
package:android.product.overlay
package:android.stamina.res.overlay
package:com.amazon.avod.thirdpartyclient
package:com.amazon.clouddrive.photos
package:com.amazon.kindle
package:com.amazon.mShop.android.shopping
package:com.android.apps.tag
package:com.android.backupconfirm
package:com.android.bips
package:com.android.bluetooth
package:com.android.bluetoothmidiservice
package:com.android.bookmarkprovider
package:com.android.browser.res.overlay_305
package:com.android.calllogbackup
package:com.android.carrierconfig
package:com.android.carrierconfig.res.overlay_305
package:com.android.carrierdefaultapp
package:com.android.certinstaller
package:com.android.chrome
package:com.android.companiondevicemanager
package:com.android.cts.ctsshim
package:com.android.cts.priv.ctsshim
package:com.android.dreams.basic
package:com.android.dynsystem
package:com.android.egg
package:com.android.emergency
package:com.android.externalstorage
package:com.android.facelock
package:com.android.hotspot2
package:com.android.hotwordenrollment.okgoogle
package:com.android.hotwordenrollment.xgoogle
package:com.android.htmlviewer
package:com.android.inputdevices
package:com.android.internal.display.cutout.emulation.corner
package:com.android.internal.display.cutout.emulation.double
package:com.android.internal.display.cutout.emulation.tall
package:com.android.internal.systemui.navbar.gestural
package:com.android.internal.systemui.navbar.gestural_extra_wide_back
package:com.android.internal.systemui.navbar.gestural_narrow_back
package:com.android.internal.systemui.navbar.gestural_wide_back
package:com.android.internal.systemui.navbar.threebutton
package:com.android.internal.systemui.navbar.twobutton
package:com.android.keychain
package:com.android.localtransport
package:com.android.location.fused
package:com.android.managedprovisioning
package:com.android.mms.service
package:com.android.mtp
package:com.android.musicfx
package:com.android.nfc
package:com.android.nfc.overlay
package:com.android.omadm.service
package:com.android.ons
package:com.android.pacprocessor
package:com.android.partnerbrowsercustomizations.chromeHomepage
package:com.android.phone
package:com.android.phone.overlay.common
package:com.android.phone.res.overlay_305
package:com.android.printspooler
package:com.android.providers.blockednumber
package:com.android.providers.calendar
package:com.android.providers.contacts
package:com.android.providers.downloads
package:com.android.providers.downloads.ui
package:com.android.providers.media
package:com.android.providers.partnerbookmarks
package:com.android.providers.partnerbookmarks.res.overlay_305
package:com.android.providers.settings
package:com.android.providers.telephony
package:com.android.providers.userdictionary
package:com.android.proxyhandler
package:com.android.sdm.plugins.connmo
package:com.android.se
package:com.android.server.telecom
package:com.android.server.telecom.overlay.common
package:com.android.settings
package:com.android.settings.intelligence
package:com.android.settings.stamina.res.overlay
package:com.android.sharedstoragebackup
package:com.android.shell
package:com.android.simappdialog
package:com.android.smspush
package:com.android.statementservice
package:com.android.stk
package:com.android.stk.product.res.overlay.common
package:com.android.storagemanager
package:com.android.systemui
package:com.android.systemui.stamina.res.overlay
package:com.android.theme.color.black
package:com.android.theme.color.green
package:com.android.theme.color.purple
package:com.android.theme.font.notoserifsource
package:com.android.theme.icon_pack.circular.android
package:com.android.theme.icon_pack.circular.launcher
package:com.android.theme.icon_pack.circular.settings
package:com.android.theme.icon_pack.circular.systemui
package:com.android.theme.icon_pack.filled.android
package:com.android.theme.icon_pack.filled.launcher
package:com.android.theme.icon_pack.filled.settings
package:com.android.theme.icon_pack.filled.systemui
package:com.android.theme.icon_pack.rounded.android
package:com.android.theme.icon_pack.rounded.launcher
package:com.android.theme.icon_pack.rounded.settings
package:com.android.theme.icon_pack.rounded.systemui
package:com.android.theme.icon.roundedrect
package:com.android.theme.icon.square
package:com.android.theme.icon.squircle
package:com.android.theme.icon.teardrop
package:com.android.traceur
package:com.android.vending
package:com.android.vpndialogs
package:com.android.wallpaperbackup
package:com.android.wallpapercropper
package:com.android.wallpaper.livepicker
package:com.facebook.appmanager
package:com.facebook.katana
package:com.facebook.services
package:com.facebook.system
package:com.fingerprints.extension.service
package:com.google.android.apps.docs
package:com.google.android.apps.maps
package:com.google.android.apps.messaging
package:com.google.android.apps.photos
package:com.google.android.apps.restore
package:com.google.android.apps.tachyon
package:com.google.android.apps.turbo
package:com.google.android.apps.wellbeing
package:com.google.android.apps.work.oobconfig
package:com.google.android.calendar
package:com.google.android.captiveportallogin
package:com.google.android.configupdater
package:com.google.android.documentsui
package:com.google.android.ext.services
package:com.google.android.ext.shared
package:com.google.android.feedback
package:com.google.android.gm
package:com.google.android.gms
package:com.google.android.gms.location.history
package:com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox
package:com.google.android.gsf
package:com.google.android.ims
package:com.google.android.marvin.talkback
package:com.google.android.modulemetadata
package:com.google.android.music
package:com.google.android.networkstack
package:com.google.android.networkstack.permissionconfig
package:com.google.android.onetimeinitializer
package:com.google.android.overlay.gmsconfig
package:com.google.android.overlay.gmsgsaconfig
package:com.google.android.overlay.gmswellbeingconfig
package:com.google.android.overlay.modules.ext.services
package:com.google.android.overlay.modules.permissioncontroller
package:com.google.android.overlay.modules.permissioncontroller.forframework
package:com.google.android.packageinstaller
package:com.google.android.partnersetup
package:com.google.android.permissioncontroller
package:com.google.android.printservice.recommendation
package:com.google.android.projection.gearhead
package:com.google.android.setupwizard
package:com.google.android.syncadapters.contacts
package:com.google.android.tts
package:com.google.android.videos
package:com.google.android.webview
package:com.google.android.youtube
package:com.google.ar.core
package:com.google.ar.lens
package:com.qti.confuridialer
package:com.qti.dpmserviceapp
package:com.qti.qualcomm.datastatusnotification
package:com.qti.qualcomm.deviceinfo
package:com.qti.xdivert
package:com.qualcomm.embms
package:com.qualcomm.location
package:com.qualcomm.qcrilmsgtunnel
package:com.qualcomm.qti.cne
package:com.qualcomm.qti.optinoverlay
package:com.qualcomm.qti.performancemode
package:com.qualcomm.qti.poweroffalarm
package:com.qualcomm.qti.qms.service.trustzoneaccess
package:com.qualcomm.qti.qtisystemservice
package:com.qualcomm.qti.remoteSimlockAuth
package:com.qualcomm.qti.services.systemhelper
package:com.qualcomm.qti.simsettings
package:com.qualcomm.qti.telephonyservice
package:com.qualcomm.qti.uceShimService
package:com.qualcomm.qti.uimGbaApp
package:com.qualcomm.qti.workloadclassifier
package:com.qualcomm.timeservice
package:com.qualcomm.wfd.service
package:com.s.antivirus
package:com.sonyericsson.album
package:com.sonyericsson.android.addoncamera.artfilter
package:com.sonyericsson.android.camera
package:com.sonyericsson.android.camera3d
package:com.sonyericsson.android.camera.res.overlay_284
package:com.sonyericsson.android.omacp
package:com.sonyericsson.android.servicemenu
package:com.sonyericsson.cameraextension.permission
package:com.sonyericsson.crashmonitor
package:com.sonyericsson.devicemonitor
package:com.sonyericsson.idd.agent
package:com.sonyericsson.lockscreen.uxpnxt
package:com.sonyericsson.mtp
package:com.sonyericsson.mtp.extension.backuprestore
package:com.sonyericsson.mtp.extension.update
package:com.sonyericsson.music
package:com.sonyericsson.organizer
package:com.sonyericsson.photoeditor
package:com.sonyericsson.providers.cnap
package:com.sonyericsson.psm.sysmonservice
package:com.sonyericsson.settings
package:com.sonyericsson.settings.res.overlay_305
package:com.sonyericsson.setupwizard
package:com.sonyericsson.setupwizard.res.overlay_305
package:com.sonyericsson.soundenhancement
package:com.sonyericsson.startupflagservice
package:com.sonyericsson.tetherentitlementcheck
package:com.sonyericsson.textinput.chinese
package:com.sonyericsson.updatecenter
package:com.sonyericsson.usbux
package:com.sonyericsson.wirelessplaybackquality
package:com.sonymobile.advancedwidget.clock
package:com.sonymobile.android.addoncamera.soundphoto
package:com.sonymobile.android.addoncamera.timeshift
package:com.sonymobile.android.contacts
package:com.sonymobile.android.dialer
package:com.sonymobile.android.externalkeyboard
package:com.sonymobile.android.externalkeyboardjp
package:com.sonymobile.anondata
package:com.sonymobile.apnupdater
package:com.sonymobile.aptx.notifier
package:com.sonymobile.assist
package:com.sonymobile.assist.overlay.fingerprint
package:com.sonymobile.assist.overlay.tama
package:com.sonymobile.assist.persistent
package:com.sonymobile.audioutil
package:com.sonymobile.btidd
package:com.sonymobile.camera.addon.permission
package:com.sonymobile.cameracommon
package:com.sonymobile.cameracommon.permission
package:com.sonymobile.cameracommon.wearablebridge
package:com.sonymobile.colorgamut
package:com.sonymobile.coverapp2
package:com.sonymobile.deviceconfigtool
package:com.sonymobile.devicesecurity.service
package:com.sonymobile.displaybooster
package:com.sonymobile.dlna
package:com.sonymobile.dropbox.system
package:com.sonymobile.dualshockmanager
package:com.sonymobile.email
package:com.sonymobile.enterprise
package:com.sonymobile.enterprise.essservice
package:com.sonymobile.enterprise.service
package:com.sonymobile.glovemode
package:com.sonymobile.gotaidd.service
package:com.sonymobile.gps.extension
package:com.sonymobile.home
package:com.sonymobile.home.product.res.overlay
package:com.sonymobile.idd.permission.application_certificate
package:com.sonymobile.imageenhancer
package:com.sonymobile.imageprocessor.permission
package:com.sonymobile.indeviceintelligence
package:com.sonymobile.infoapp
package:com.sonymobile.intelligent.backlight
package:com.sonymobile.intelligent.gesture
package:com.sonymobile.intelligent.iengine
package:com.sonymobile.intelligent.observer
package:com.sonymobile.moviecreator
package:com.sonymobile.mtp.extension.fotaupdate
package:com.sonymobile.nfcextension.nfcextraresources
package:com.sonymobile.nfcservicemenu
package:com.sonymobile.onehand
package:com.sonymobile.pip
package:com.sonymobile.pobox
package:com.sonymobile.pocketmode2
package:com.sonymobile.prediction
package:com.sonymobile.rcahandler
package:com.sonymobile.recallplaybackphotos
package:com.sonymobile.retaildemo
package:com.sonymobile.rro.platform.telecomm
package:com.sonymobile.rro.platform.telephony
package:com.sonymobile.runtimeskinning.core
package:com.sonymobile.runtimeskinning.effects
package:com.sonymobile.runtimeskinning.picker
package:com.sonymobile.scan3d
package:com.sonymobile.simlock.service
package:com.sonymobile.simlockunlockapp
package:com.sonymobile.smartcharger
package:com.sonymobile.smartcleaner
package:com.sonymobile.smartnetworkengine
package:com.sonymobile.smartnotification
package:com.sonymobile.smtofrgbc
package:com.sonymobile.staminalevel
package:com.sonymobile.storagechecker
package:com.sonymobile.sunlightbooster
package:com.sonymobile.superstamina
package:com.sonymobile.support
package:com.sonymobile.susrescheck
package:com.sonymobile.swiqisystemservice
package:com.sonymobile.synchub
package:com.sonymobile.telephony.extension
package:com.sonymobile.telephonythermalcheck
package:com.sonymobile.themes.liquid.cid49.black
package:com.sonymobile.themes.liquid.cid50.silver
package:com.sonymobile.themes.liquid.cid51.green
package:com.sonymobile.themes.liquid.cid52.pink
package:com.sonymobile.transmitpower
package:com.sonymobile.tvout.wifidisplay
package:com.sonymobile.uiccdetection
package:com.sonymobile.updatecenter.config.autoinstall
package:com.sonymobile.updatecenter.config.latecmz
package:com.sonymobile.whitebalance
package:com.sonymobile.wifi
package:com.sonymobile.xperiaservices
package:com.sonymobile.xperiasystemserver
package:com.sonymobile.xperiasystemserver.res.overlay
package:com.sonymobile.xperiasystemserver.res.overlay_305
package:com.sonymobile.xperiatransfermobile
package:com.sonymobile.xperiaweather
package:com.sonymobile.xperiaxloops
package:com.sony.tvsideview.videoph
package:com.swiftkey.swiftkeyconfigurator
package:com.touchtype.swiftkey
package:com.touchtype.swiftkey.res.overlay
package:vendor.qti.hardware.cacert.server
package:vendor.qti.iwlan

Which is quite a lot, more than 330 packages!

I have no idea why I need kindle, dropbox, or facebook apps, as I do not have an account on those services. Also strangely there are no visible apps, so I would probably not have noticed them without adb pm!

As there is no reasonable expectation for the phone to stop working if those services are not available, thus I’ve removed those applications.

com.amazon.avod.thirdpartyclient
com.amazon.clouddrive.photos
com.amazon.kindle
com.amazon.mShop.android.shopping
com.facebook.appmanager
com.facebook.katana
com.facebook.services
com.facebook.system
com.sonymobile.dropbox.system

I also removed some application of google, but I did not try to remove everything, as some google applications might be necessary for the phone to work correctly,

For example, I removed without thinking too much gmail, docs the chrome browser, and youtube.

As a precautionary measure, I rebooted the phone quite often to ensure it worked correctly. In case I’ve disabled some app that the phone needs to work, I want to know as soon as possible in order to identify with ease the offending package.

I would have kept the default application for dealing with SMS (com.google.android.apps.messaging), but it complained when I disabled the google play services, so I disabled and replaced it too, as it is very annoying, and did not find the option for disabling the warning. I would have also disabled the default file manager (com.google.android.documentsui), as it had some quirks, but later I found out that some applications are unable to pick files if this is not installed. For my daily usages, I’ve installed another and IMHO better (because it is less mart and has a consistent interface) file manager.

In the end, I’ve removed following google packages

com.android.chrome
com.android.partnerbrowsercustomizations.chromeHomepage
com.google.android.apps.docs
com.google.android.apps.maps
com.google.android.apps.photos
com.google.android.apps.messaging
com.google.android.apps.restore
com.google.android.apps.tachyon
com.google.android.apps.turbo
com.google.android.apps.wellbeing
com.google.android.calendar
com.google.android.gm
com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox
com.google.android.ims
com.google.android.music
com.google.android.partnersetup
com.google.android.projection.gearhead
com.google.android.syncadapters.contacts
com.google.android.tts
com.google.android.videos
com.google.android.youtube
com.google.ar.core
com.google.ar.lens

After installing blockada I noticed that swiftkey communicates a lot with some servers, and discovered that it is the preconfigured keyboard. Not good. So I installed an alternative keyboard that does not use my internet connection and disabled swiftkey, thus I’ve disabled the following packages

com.swiftkey.swiftkeyconfigurator
com.touchtype.swiftkey
com.touchtype.swiftkey.res.overlay

I also remove some packages of the vendor, and the antivirus (avg)

com.s.antivirus
com.sonyericsson.music
com.sonyericsson.textinput.chinese
com.sonymobile.android.externalkeyboardjp
com.sonymobile.email
com.sonymobile.pobox
com.sonymobile.scan3d
com.sonymobile.xperiaservices
com.sonymobile.xperiatransfermobile
com.sonymobile.xperiaweather
com.sony.tvsideview.videoph

In total, I’ve removed more than 40 programs, many of them not documented. Fortunately, the apk names are unique, so it has been relatively easy to search packages I had no clue about and leverage the experience of other people.

During the process, I also installed stanley, as I was not able to find the gmail package. Later I found out that it is named com.google.android.gm, which explains why I was not able to find it.

I could have probably removed a lot of other applications, but I value my time, so I did not want to test everything I could remove. Also because the experience I would gather can hardly be reused on another device.

I’ve removed mainly

  • programs that I do not need (like programs that require an account from Facebook, Amazon, Dropbox, Microsoft, Google, …​)

  • those programs that started automatically and

    • complained that google services were not enabled (as they were easy to find and disturbed me all the time)

    • consumed data for no reason (found thank to blokada and "data usage" from android settings)

    • consumed battery for no reason (found thanks to android "battery usage" settings)

  • Programs I know I’m not going to use because there is an alternative I prefer.

Notice that I’ve not disabled Google Services with adb but from the phone. This way I can reactivate it when I want to, as I use a couple of programs that want (I believe for no good reason) Google Play to be available, otherwise, they will not work correctly.

This is the list of packages I’ve installed while doing the cleanup

  • DAVx for synchronizing calendar and contacts with my computer

  • K-9 Mail for managing my email accounts

  • KeePassDX as password manager

  • AnySoftKeyboard as a keyboard replacement

  • Vinyl Music Player

  • F-Droid as a package manager

  • Stanley for determining package names of some programs, after the cleanup I’ve removed it

  • OsmAnd~ for managing maps

  • Blokada, thanks to it I found out how much my keyboard sent who knows what to the web without me realizing it

  • Firefox as browser

  • Silence instead of the default app for managing SMS, as the default one wanted google play services

  • Etar as a calendar application

  • Termux, as it gives a Linux shell and many command-line utilities, like ssh

  • File Manager instead of the default, as it behaved buggy

  • Calculator++, as I did not like the default

All those applications, (Firefox indirectly) are available on F-Droid. Most projects also give the possibility to download the .apk directly, they might be available on other stores, like the Google Play Store.

I also could have avoided removing some applications. For example, I did not even test the default email client and music player! By using programs that do not depend on a single vendor/are not bundled, I’m pretty sure I’ll always be able to use those programs when I’ll use a phone of a different manufacturer.

There are surely other programs I could try to remove but my time is probably not worth it. Also, there is always the risk to soft-brick the phone, and I have no desire to debug issues, or find at a later point that something does not work as expected (as it happened to me with the file manager), and having no clue where to begin my analysis.


Do you want to share your opinion? Or is there an error, same parts that are not clear enough?

You can contact me here.