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Getting rid of unwanted apps

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by FatBear, Sep 29, 2020.

  1. FatBear

    FatBear Newbie
    Thread Starter

    I have this new phone: Samsung S10e. It was an unlocked phone I bought from Amazon, but was apparently an ATT phone before it was unlocked. It is loaded with ATT crapware and some other apps that I don't want and would like to get rid of. Like some sort of Game of Thrones app. But they are somehow locked onto the phone and there is no "uninstall" selection available in Setup | Apps.

    Can anyone tell me the magic to get rid of this junk?

    Thanks,
     


  2. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Do you have a "disable" option? That will stop them running or storing data (I'd clear data before disabling: it used to do that automatically, but some android versions no longer do so), will remove them from your app drawer, and be functionally equivalent to uninstalling.

    The problem is that the pre-installed software is in a different storage partition to the stuff you install, and one you don't have write access to. That is why you cannot uninstall it. But since it is in a different partition you also would not be able to use any of the space that would be freed in that partition if you did install it, which is why disabling is as good as uninstalling in practice.

    However sometimes pre-installed junk also lacks a disable option. Really the only apps that should have neither "uninstall" or "disable" are ones that are genuinely vital, but sometimes carriers decide to prevent you disabling junk that someone has paid them to install, even though it is absolutely unnecessary (and not just carriers: I've known Samsung do it on a non-carrier device I owned).

    If you don't have either "uninstall" or "disable" then you can do nothing unless you can root the phone (i.e. modify the system software to allow you to gain administrator access: "root" is the name of the linux admin account, hence this process is called "rooting"). US Samsungs tend to be very locked-down, so I don't know whether that will actually be possible. If you research this it's important to know that US handsets are different from "global"/"international" models, and you need to ensure that any methods you use or software you install is intended for the US model. Unfortunately as I am not American I have no personal experience of rooting these devices, and don't know whether it's possible for this model.
     
    Dannydet likes this.
  3. FatBear

    FatBear Newbie
    Thread Starter

    I think most of the ones I don't like have disable buttons. I don't want them on the phone at all, but I can see that disabling them will have to do.
    Yes, I do also seem to run into a bunch of Samsung stuff, too. My old phone had it's problems, but it used pretty straight Android which served me well and did not feel nearly so intrusive.
    Thank you for your advice.
     
  4. FatBear

    FatBear Newbie
    Thread Starter

    So I have a closely related question. I just discovered that there are a bunch of ATT contacts in the Contacts app. I tried to delete them but there is no delete option. A message said something about them being read-only. Is there a way to undo the read-only attribute so I can delete them?
     
  5. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Sheesh, I've never met pre-programmed read-only contacts. US carriers really do have bad control freak tendencies!

    What happens if you install a different contacts app? Your own contacts should appear in that anyway (android uses a central contacts database, regardless of which app you use to view it), but if these read-only contacts were programmed into the pre-installed contacts app by ATT they'll only appear in that. Of course if they've messed with the Contacts Storage app to hard-code these things in then it may come down to finding a way of hiding them: going into the contacts app's settings and seeing whether you can set it to display only some types of contacts, either those associated to a particular account (such as your Google account, which I assume these things are not) or by defining "groups" of contacts and only displaying some of those (either putting these in a group you don't display or, if that's not possible, adding all others to a group you do display). The "accounts" method would be better, as it would automatically show any new contacts you add, while if you have to put the contacts you do display in a special group that is something you'd have to remember to do for every new contact.

    Anyway, I don't know what will work, but those are the first few things that come to my mind.
     
  6. FatBear

    FatBear Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Thank you. That gives me plenty to start with.

    The US seems to have lost all sense of honor and that is reflected in the reprehensible practices not just of our government, but of large businesses as well. It's probably hard to believe, looking from the outside, but must of us individuals are still fairly decent. But we do sometimes feel pretty beleaguered.

    The last phone we bought for my wife was an international one from Motorola. So far the only trouble that has caused was when it asked if we wanted to do an OS update - in Spanish. At first we thought we'd strayed into one of the Tijuana cell tower zones, but we're too far away. Took some work with Google Translate, then we had no problems with the update. Other than that, the phone has worked well and has pretty much stock Android with some Motorola apps that are uninstallable if we wish.

    But back to the subject at hand.

    I looked through the directories on my phone - the ones I could see by plugging it into my PC - and found one called something like ...samsung.contacts... It was empty, but makes me realize that I can download the stock Google Contacts and switch to that. I'm used to it and maybe I can find a way to hide the ATT ones.

    Or is there a better Contacts app that I should consider?

    Thanks!
     
  7. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Actually I have no trouble believing it: I've collaborated with Americans for several decades, am currently working on one US-based project and spent a decade working on another around the turn of the century, in addition to having family and friends there. So I have plenty of experience of how decent most Americans are. I'd probably have been out there this Summer but for the current situation.

    I don't think you'll be able to see the actual contacts database or the installed apps from a PC. You would be able to see any public folders an app creates in the internal storage, but the apps and databases themselves live in an area you won't be able to access that way.

    Contacts apps are subjective. The Google one works OK (I have a Pixel, so it's the pre-installed app on mine), the only other one I've tried recently is Simple Contacts, which does what the name implies (but is open source and seems trustworthy, something I'd always consider when choosing a contacts app). But either will do to test whether these read-only contacts are coded into the Contacts app (in which case the alternative app won't see them) or the contacts database.
     
  8. FatBear

    FatBear Newbie
    Thread Starter

    I installed the Google Contacts app. So this is weird. I have pre-existing Google accounts tied to three different email addresses. In addition, one called "Samsung Account" was created as part of getting the phone going. And there is an account called "Device". All five of these accounts show up in Google Contacts. I can choose to view the contacts in any one of those accounts, or I can choose to view them all at the same time. My usual contacts appear in my existing Google accounts. The Samsung account is empty - no contacts. For some inexplicable reason, the Device account has a few of my contacts in it - I must have created them carelessly.

    Now for the weird part. I do not see the ATT contacts in any of them. But if I select "Contacts from all accounts" there are the ATT contacts. I have no idea how that works, but it does imply that if I organize them more carefully, I can probably exclude the ATT ones from my view. And who knows, the added discipline required my be good, anyway.

    But does that tell you anything about where the ATT contacts are actually located? It's probably useless curiosity at this point, but I guess I am curious.
     
  9. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum
    Moderator

    I have been an AT&T customer forever and I have exactly one AT & T contact on my phone and really, it's just a convenient list of quick dial references for things like directory assistance or checking account balances. More importantly, I can delete it if I so choose, so I am at a loss why those would be baked into your phone. It's not AT&T doing it.
     
  10. FatBear

    FatBear Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Here's a cool thing. While messing with Google Contacts I notice that a lot of my contacts were in the wrong accounts. I decided to straighten them all out. And I did so. Then I went to view All Contacts and there was the ATT one. I thought I'd try putting it into a category, but when I did so the delete option had become available. So I deleted it! When I went back to the Samsung Contacts it is now gone from there, too. Hopefully gone forever.
    Now I need to decide which Contacts I like better and get rid of the other one.
    Thank you very much for the help, Hadron.
     
  11. FatBear

    FatBear Newbie
    Thread Starter

    I have no idea why it was baked in, but it is gone now. I'm glad you like ATT. I do not. At all. We'll just have to agree to disagree on that part. ;)
     
  12. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum
    Moderator

    I don't know that I'd use "like". That's rather strong language. In fact, my first cellular contract was back in the '90s with Cellular One. That became AT&T Wireless (not the same as current AT&T) which was a truly awful company, until Cingular redefined awful. Cingular was bought by AT&T and it was less awful. That's about as far as I'm willing to go. Here in the U.S. we had our choice of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. I travel to abroad fairly frequently and I needed a phone that was compatible with the rest of civilization. AT&T was the only one who used the GSM bands that worked everywhere else. They got my business by default. From a service standpoint, they've been reliable. From a business ethics standpoint, they are as evil as the next guy.
     
  13. FatBear

    FatBear Newbie
    Thread Starter

    I remember Cellular One. I configured and built a big computer system for them once back in the early '90s. Bellevue, WA, if I recall. Hope they didn't mis-bill you!

    In the late '90s I had a small retail business. ATT used to cold call everyone all the time (I'm sure you remember). They were pretty hated and reviled for it. But one day I was alone on a super busy day at my store. There was a line at the counter and I was working hard when the phone rang. When they said they were from ATT I politely told them I was busy and didn't have time to talk. I tried to end the call gracefully, but the guy kept blathering and so I said good bye and hung up. Almost immediately the phone rang again. I answered it and it was the same guy. This time I told him to quit calling me and hung up on him. He called back a third time and cussed me up one side and down the other. My customers were most sympathetic and I made sure they knew who the rude caller was from.
    When things calmed down I wrote a letter to the president of ATT. I explained what happened and told him that I did not ever want to be called by ATT or any of their contractors again, and i gave my home and business numbers.
    You know what's amazing? The calls stopped. All of them. Completely. I had peace for years until both my address and phone numbers changed.
    Sometimes you win. ;)
     
    lunatic59 and Hadron like this.

Samsung Galaxy S10e Forum

The Samsung Galaxy S10e release date was March 2019. Features and Specs include a 5.8" inch screen, 16MP camera, 6/8GB RAM, Exynos 9820 processor, and 3100mAh battery.

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