02/11/2012

How to Uninstall System Apps on Android

In most of the cases, Android phones come loaded with bloatware from the device manufacturers, I don't find this right, and chances are, you don't too. So, what can we do about it? If you had a old Nokia device, you can bang it on the wall, because you can't do anything for such problem on a Nokia. But because it's an Android, you can do what you wish. That makes me feel that I am truly the owner of my device.

Let me list down few of the cases in which you might want to uninstall Syatem installed apps:

  • You don't use some of the system apps at all:
    My Android device came installed with apps like Google Talk and Google Voice. I either don't use them or they aren't available at my location.
  • You find a better alternative for a default app:
    Like in my case, I find K9-Mail more functional than the default Gmail app. So, I deleted it! Ditto for Launcher, Keyboard and Music Player. (Deleting launcher can get tricky at times.)
  • You want more space:
    You want to carve out some space when the internal memory gets low. If you're unfortunate enough like me, to have a year old device which keep crying for space, then you can delete some apps which you rarely use. (Backup them with Titanium Backup so that you can restore them easily, later on!)
  • The apps are bloatware:
    Some apps like Spice Gang on Spice Android devices and Hookup on Micromax are quiet bloaty in nature. I would definitely uninstall them at the first glance.

Eligibility of a device for deleting System Apps:
You must be tempted by now to uninstall a few of your system apps, but wait, Is your Android eligible for deleting system apps? To be eligible, it must be having a degree in superuser permissions. Stating it clearly, your device must be rooted. If you don't know what rooting is, then get to know What Rooting is!
Basically, Rooting allows you to tinker with files at system level, and that's exactly you need to do in order to uninstall system apps. If you haven't rooted yet, find any guide for Rooting your Device on the net and follow that to attain Root. Rooting Guides for some devices is available at my blog too. Take a Nandroid Backup of your device, so that if you end up uninstalling some necessary app (like settings.apk or phone.apk), you can always go back.

How to delete the system applications:
Whatever I wrote above should be enough for an introduction. Here's how you can actually do that once you've rooted your device.
  • Download Titanium Backup from the play store, Apart from deleting system files, it can do a ton of other things, and features in my list of must have apps for Android.
  • It will ask for Root permissions. Grant it!
  • Click on click to edit filters and under the heading "Filter by type", click on system and finally hit apply.
  • This will sort out the full list of System apps on your device. Tap on any of them you want to uninstall and press uninstall. It will give you a warning, select yes.
    Tip: Before uninstalling, select backup, so that you can restore the app later on.
    Uninstalling System Apps using Titanium Backup
  • Woohoo, you have uninstalled one of them. Delete all others the same way you deleted this one.
  • Be careful while deleting any app, try to understand by the name of the app, whether your phone can function correctly without that app. For example: If you delete Launcher.apk and don't have any third party Launcher installed on your device, you won't see your Home Screen again. So, don't touch such apps.
There isn't a single way to delete/ uninstall system apps, but his was the best one. The others are using Root Uninstaller, or Root Explorer, or Super App Uninstaller or the dozen other apps available on Play Store for performing the same function.
Be adventurous at your very own risk. That's all from me, have fun taking revenge from those unwanted apps.
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