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19/11/2012

How to Convert User Apps to System Apps (and vice versa)

I promised you to write this guide back in my article on the topic What you can do once you Root your phone. Got a bit late, but I am here with the guide!

Why would you want to convert a user app to a system app? The answer is, when you use a normal app more than the system's default app meant for the same purpose, you can convert the normal app to system app and delete the system app. For example, I use Swype, Player Pro and WP7 Calculator instead of Default Keyboard, Music and Calculator respectively. There is hardly any reason I would want to keep those apps if I don't use them! Another reason you might want to convert them is that some apps get elevated rights this way, and are able to perform in a better way.

Warning: Converting some important system apps to user app can cause a soft brick or a bootloop. By proceeding with this guide, you are on your own risk. Take a cwm backup as a precautionary measure.

You require root to do anything below in this guide. I have found three different ways in which you can achieve the desired result.

Guide: Convert User App to System App

Using Titanium Backup Pro:

Converting any app to system/user app using Titanium Backup; Click on the image to zoom in
If you have bought the paid version of Titanium Backup, then open up the app and under the applications tab, long press on any user app you want to convert to system app. Then tap on the "Convert to System App" and reboot your phone after the process completes.
Note: Long pressing on a system app will allow you to convert it to user app.

Using /system/app mover:

Using /system/app mover; Click the image to zoom
This app is my favourite to perform this job. /system/app mover is a small and free utility, just 233 kb in size, which lets you convert user apps to system apps and system apps to user apps. When you first start the app, allow it root access, it will take some time for the first time it will load the apps list. Once it loads all the apps, tap on any user app to get an option to convert it to system app. After the app is successfully moved, it will ask if you want to reboot. Reboot when you're done with the task of moving all the apps.
Note: Similar to Titanium Backup, tapping on a system app (highlighted with a small red "system" label) will pop up the option to convert it to user app.
Using Root Explorer; Click to Zoom in

Using Root Explorer:

This one is the most tedious of the lot, and I use this method only when I have to convert just a single app. You need to have any file explorer with root permissions, I use Root Explorer.
To convert a user app to system app:
  1. Go to /data/app or wherever your user application is installed.
  2. Cut the apk file of the application you want to convert to system app.
  3. Go to /system/app and paste the file there.
  4. Long press the apk file and click Permissions.
  5. Set the permissions as rw-r--r--, if you don't know what they are set them as I have done in the screenshots I have attached.
To convert a system app to user app:
  1. Go to /system/app and locate the system file you want to convert.
  2. Move the file to /data/app.
  3. Change the permissions to /data/app and reboot.
As I already told above, /system/app mover is my favorite to convert any of my user apps to a system app. You may use any of the above methods as per your wish. Comment below if something odd happens or just to say a few nice words!
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