Plus, the three main reasons you can't uninstall
If you’re here, you’ve probably realized that there’s an app you can’t delete by just tapping and holding the icon. In this article, we’ll show you how to delete apps on Android that won’t uninstall the regular way.
Why Can’t You Delete Some Apps?
The three main reasons you can’t uninstall a particular app are:
- It’s a system app. These are necessary for your phone to function. They generally play critical roles, and you want to keep these around.
- It’s a preinstalled app. Preinstalled apps are installed on your device before you buy it. Even if you factory reset your phone, these apps will remain. A classic example of a preinstalled app that many users try to remove is Samsung Pay.
- Administrator privileges protect it. Some apps require admin privileges to function, which can protect them from being uninstalled.
How To Disable Apps
Some preinstalled apps just won’t budge. Instead of going through a lengthy process to uninstall them manually, you can disable them. Disabling an app prevents it from using system resources, but it remains installed and still takes up space on your hard drive.
To disable an app:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap on Apps.
- Find the app you want to disable and tap it.
- If Uninstall is grayed out or not present, select Disable.
Some apps won’t allow you to disable them. If this is the case, try the following methods to uninstall them.
How To Delete Apps With Administrator Privilege
Some apps are granted Android administrator access. These will prevent you from uninstalling them unless you revoke their administrator privilege. Sometimes, malware can use administrator privileges to wreak havoc on your phone. If you’re concerned you have malware, check out our guide for removing it.
To do so:
- Open Settings.
- Tap on Biometrics and Security.
- Select Other security settings.
- Tap Device admin apps.
- Find the app you want to remove and tap the slider to revoke administrator privileges. You may have to tap the app and select Deactivate on some models.
- Head back to Settings > Apps.
- Find the app you want to uninstall and tap it.
- Select Uninstall.
How To Delete Apps with Android Debug Bridge (ADB)
This is the lengthiest option but is guaranteed to uninstall any app from your Android phone. We recommend you use caution if you try this approach because uninstalling the wrong apps can break several of your phone’s functions. Note: You can use ADB to install apps as well.
First, you need to enable USB debugging on your phone. To do this:
- Open Settings > About phone.
- Scroll down and tap on Software information.
- Tap on Build number 7 times and input your security pin when prompted. You will see the message “You are now in Developer Mode.”
- Go back to Settings and tap on Developer options.
- Find USB debugging and tap the toggle to enable it.
- Connect your phone to your PC and ensure that USB file transfer is turned on. You may receive a message that says, “Allow USB debugging?”. If so, select Allow.
Next, you will need to retrieve Android’s SDK Platform Tools. Head to the official Android ADB software download page and download the package for your operating system. Android provides software for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Extract the files from the downloaded archive.
You must know the app’s package name to uninstall apps using this software. It isn’t easy to find the package name, but luckily, the App Inspector can reveal it for you. To install it and find the app’s package name, do the following:
- Open the Google Play Store app.
- Search for App Inspector.
- Install and open the app.
- Find the app you want to uninstall and tap on it. Note the package name.
Next, use the Command Window (or Terminal on Mac) to access your phone via ADB. To do this:
- If you’re using Windows, open the folder containing your ADB files, hold down the shift key, and right-click anywhere on the screen. Select Open a command window here. On Mac, open the Terminal app, type cd, press the Spacebar, then drag the ADB folder into the Terminal window. Finally, press Enter.
- In either window, type ./adb uninstall, press Spacebar, enter the package name, then press Enter.
For example, if you want to uninstall App Inspector, you would type:
./adb uninstall bg.projectoria.appinspector
If successful, the window should display a message saying “Success.” And that’s it – your app will now be uninstalled.
Stubborn Apps Begone!
Hopefully, one of these methods helped you remove that stubborn app. Using the ADB tool takes the longest to set up, but it’s easy to clear all those unused apps quickly once you do.