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post #2 of (permalink) Old 2019-01-17, 06:37 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Calgary AB
Posts: 4,200
No they don't have the capability to randomly remove apps already pre-installed on the phone as the /system partition that pre-installed apps are installed in is read-only. A system update from the manufacturer of the phone could remove that app though.

That being said, there's a fair bit of misunderstanding about how things work on Android. In most cases, there is actually zero benefit to "uninstalling" a pre-installed app vs "disabling" it. Here's why:

Among the various partitions set up in Android are the /system and /data partitions. As alluded to before, the /system partition is read-only and contains the pre-installed software. This partition is a fixed size that can't be adjusted except by a custom rom. When a system app is updated (say, via Google Play), those updates are actually located in the /data partition as the /system one is read-only. When you disable an app, you'll see a notification asking if you'd like to restore the factory version, and that's why - it removes the app updates from the /data partition and then essentially hides the app from launchers. Yes, it is still taking up space in the /system partition, but even if you could remove it from there, you wouldn't really gain any more usable space because nothing else gets written to that partition anyways and it's not resizable (partly due to being read-only).

Now yes, there IS a way to gain write access to this partition, and that's by rooting the phone (specifically, allowing the "su" (SuperUser) command). That said, unless it's for adding specific software like the Viper4Android audio mod which requires system-level access, being able to enable write access to the /system partition still won't help much if you remove an app from there. You still can't resize the partition,and new apps (or updates to existing apps) will still get placed in the /data partition anyways. So whether you have 2KB or 2GB free in the /system partition really doesn't mean anything; you're not gaining any actual usable space.

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