Uninstall any preinstalled system app from Android cell phone

YouTube and many other preinstalled apps have no button Uninstall. Instead they have button Disable that itself might be disabled. Such apps can only be transiently stopped by tapping button Force stop.

New smartphones tend to be stuffed with useless and sometime annoying applications. Unlike the apps installed by phone owners, some preinstalled apps cannot be uninstalled by tapping the buttons on the phone screen.

With the help of a computer any system app can be uninstalled from a mobile phone. The procedure is not complicated, but is longer than tapping a button. To illustrate the procedure, I demonstrate how to remove YouTube and Facebook, two widespead apps that are often classified as system.

The first step is the most complicated. You have to enable and then find the Developer options menu in your phone. A general procedure is described in the Android documentation https://developer.android.com/studio/debug/dev-options. However, the exact way depends on the phone model. Search in Google how to enable Developer options in your phone model if you want to do it quickly.

Activate the USB debugging option in the Developer Options menu.

Connect the phone to the computer using a standard cable that you use for transfering photos or videos from your phone to your computer.

Download SDK Platform Tools zip archive from https://developer.android.com/studio/releases/platform-tools to your computer and extract its contents any folder of your choice (for example C:\TEMP). The archive includes Android Debug Bridge (adb), a command-line tool for sending commands to a phone from a computer. The three adb commands used below are explained in the adb user guide https://developer.android.com/studio/command-line/adb.

Launch the Windows command prompt (consult Google if you do not know how) and set the working directory to the folder containing the downloaded adb.exe (for example by executing:).

Type . A popup asking if you accept an RSA key appears on your phone. After you agree, a List of devices attached is displayed the command prompt.

Start an interactive shell:

Determine the package name of the YouTube app:

Uninstall the identified package:

A sample output of the commands executed to uninstall the preinstalled YouTube system app. The output might depend on the phone model.
  • Check your phone to make sure that YouTube app is gone. Reuse the same two commands to identify several Facebook package names and then to remove them.
  • To identify the packages of any other app, use another expression (app name in lowercase) in the first command after

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