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Old 10-07-2011, 05:28 PM   #1
tarvoke
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Exclamation mini HOWTO: removing unwanted system apps

it's annoying to have some applications install as system, that really should be in the userspace for us to decide to keep or not. e.g. I wanted to update to the latest K9Mail, but because it's a system app the market had problems updating it (file signatures or something) - and I also hate seeing things that I will never use, taking up space (esp. if I decide later I do want to use them, I can always simply install from the market)

anyway.

I guess one easy way (and possibly the safer way) is to get the paid version of titanium backup which apparently lets you convert apps between system and user. (EDIT: as far as I can tell testing it myself, the free version of TiBU also removes system apps just fine! thanks to bobthesane! so you may want to just try that instead, it's a bit safer and easier... /EDIT) but for the rest of us...

nb: please be careful, this involves setting the system partition to writeable and deleting stuff from it. wrong keystrokes can end up doing Very Bad Things. so if this scares away your dog or your boat is lost at sea or your toast burns, well, I warned you.

requirements:
- have a rooted PE (z4root is pretty elementary).
- have android sdk or at least the platform tools (or use a terminal emulator on the Edge itself, with a proper usb keyboard plugged in, this isn't too bad).
- turn on usb debugging in the Edge (settings->applications->development).

then, from your computer:
adb shell
$ su -
(may trigger a security dialog from SU app on the Edge, so click "allow".)
# busybox mount -o remount,rw /system
(turn the system partition writeable.)
# rm -r /system/app/Facebook.apk
(deletes the application you don't want.)
# rm -r /data/dalvik-cache/system@app@Facebook.apk@classes.dex
(deletes its cached data, if any.)
(feel free to repeat for CarHomeGoogle/CarHomeLauncher, Twitter, frozen bubble, minesweeper, the pinyin chinese keyboard, etc. etc.)
# sync
(forces the disk to commit changes. really probably don't need this but it doesn't hurt.)
# busybox mount -o remount,ro /system
(puts the system partition back to read-only.)
# exit
$ exit
(or press ctrl-c if you're feeling too lazy to type exit twice.)

- turn off usb debugging in the Edge. (I've forgotten and left it on for weeks with no apparent ill effects but ymmv.)
- notice that the apps are gone from the app screen, and you have a bit more free disk space. (yay.)
- rebooting isn't really necessary but couldn't hurt.

Last edited by tarvoke; 10-08-2011 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 10-07-2011, 07:04 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarvoke View Post
requirements:
- have a rooted PE (z4root is pretty elementary).
BTW, I am not sure this rooting thing is really a requirement. As far as I've seen it is only good for running apk applications with root privileges, which i do not think is a good idea anyway.

The rest of these instructions will work without z4root. Once you get adb access after enabling usb access you can do su without installing extra apk's. To enable usb debugging on PE without z4root a password is needed that is readily available from google search.
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Old 10-07-2011, 07:48 PM   #3
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good point vldmr!!!

it's even mentioned on these same boards... ;-)
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=136898
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Old 10-07-2011, 07:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vldmr View Post
BTW, I am not sure this rooting thing is really a requirement. As far as I've seen it is only good for running apk applications with root privileges, which i do not think is a good idea anyway.

The rest of these instructions will work without z4root. Once you get adb access after enabling usb access you can do su without installing extra apk's. To enable usb debugging on PE without z4root a password is needed that is readily available from google search.
I'm not sure about Dingo, but under Ermine you have to root to be able to issue "su" and you don't need any password to enter debug mode.
On other hand if you already running adb why you need to remove apps using questionable action like root if you can issue uninstall and no need in root.
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Old 10-07-2011, 08:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ptsenter View Post
On other hand if you already running adb why you need to remove apps using questionable action like root if you can issue uninstall and no need in root.
not sure but it seems like adb can only install apps to data, and adb uninstall can only uninstall apps from data.

e.g.

Code:
D:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools>adb uninstall EsiHelp.apk
Failure
from logcat:
Code:
W/PackageManager( 6796): Package named 'EsiHelp.apk' doesn't exist.
unless there's some adb option to specify fully qualified location, that I missed.
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:13 AM   #6
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I usually use the Titanium Backup uninstall feature (although to be fair I am not certain it can get rid of everything).
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:48 PM   #7
tarvoke
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobthesane View Post
I usually use the Titanium Backup uninstall feature (although to be fair I am not certain it can get rid of everything).
ha ha, wow, sorry for wasting everyone's time not to mention my own. I'd just always assumed the free version could not uninstall system apps but I tried it and darn if it didn't just totally work! bobthesane, thank you!!
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:56 PM   #8
ptsenter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarvoke View Post
not sure but it seems like adb can only install apps to data, and adb uninstall can only uninstall apps from data.

e.g.

Code:
D:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk-windows\platform-tools>adb uninstall EsiHelp.apk
Failure
from logcat:
Code:
W/PackageManager( 6796): Package named 'EsiHelp.apk' doesn't exist.
unless there's some adb option to specify fully qualified location, that I missed.
Yeah, I was late for my drink, my vision was blurry and my brain half-melted: you can't uninstall system app with adb. I stay corrected.
But the rest of the post stays intact: under Ermine you have to root and you don't need a password. (that's from un-melted half).

But I have another proposition for you: if you hate those apps so much (EsiHelp ?, really) you can delete them from update.zip even before issuing three-finger salute - no root, no password, no need in adb or Android SDK for that matter.
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:59 PM   #9
tarvoke
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptsenter View Post
But I have another proposition for you: if you hate those apps so much (EsiHelp ?, really) you can delete them from update.zip even before issuing three-finger salute - no root, no password, no need in adb or Android SDK for that matter.
ha, great idea! I was thinking the same thing yesterday, and do plan to make exactly that new update.zip!! (I'll want it for the next time I mess up the PE so badly that everything needs reinstalled ha ha ha) - might as well throw in ktwombley's allmine framework.jar, and a better build.prop while I'm at it...
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarvoke View Post
ha ha, wow, sorry for wasting everyone's time not to mention my own. I'd just always assumed the free version could not uninstall system apps but I tried it and darn if it didn't just totally work! bobthesane, thank you!!
Hey, it may very well NOT be a waste of time! There is no certainty that my method can in fact get rid of everything. I haven't tested it on every app
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