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How Did I Prevent Bloatware And Google From My New Device? (My latest experiment)

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by puppykickr, Sep 12, 2021.

  1. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    TL;DR:
    I think I found a simple, quick way to prevent bloatware from ever being downloaded onto a new device, and also not have any Google junk as well.

    So, after years of frustration with bloatware and Google, and without root only being able to disable every such crAPP on my old 5.1- I now have a Moto e (2020) running Android 10.

    This is a far cry better than my previous devices, and is the first unlocked device I have ever owned.

    I am not sure how much, if any, bloatware gets downloaded as soon as a new unlocked device gets online and has a Google account attached to it- but I was not taking any chances.

    I had earlier picked up the Straight Talk locked version of this device for my ol'lady, and set it up for her.
    So I was a bit familiar with it already, although I wanted to go much further in the ways of blocking bloatware and all things Google.

    To get started, I first put most of the apps I planned to install onto an SD card in apk form- I used Apk Extractor from F-Droid to get the apks from another device, and then moved the apks onto the SD card and put that into the Moto e.

    Sitting in the parking lot of the store where I had just purchased the device, I plugged the phone into the charger and turned it on.

    The first things I did was refuse to allow it to connect to anything- no Wi-Fi, no cellular.
    (I had not inserted a SIM card yet.)
    I refused to enter a Google account as well.

    As soon as the startup prompts were over with, I made sure that the device was in Airplane Mode, and then opened the file manager and found the apk for the firewall that I was to use.

    Initially, everything is blocked by default, but I still did not allow any internet connection until I had installed the apks from the SD card and then gone through the apps and permissions on the device.

    Anything that was Google related was disabled.
    Anything that was not needed that was from the manufacturer was disabled.

    What could not be disabled, I restricted battery and whatever permissions I could.

    Android is pretty slick in that it is pretty hard to make an unrooted device nonfunctional.

    Yes, this took quite a while- about three hours in the parking lot, sitting in my car.

    Look at it this way- I would be doing the exact same thing if I were anywhere else, even if I were at home.

    By the time I grew tired, I was not completely finished, but I was confident enough to finally turn the device off, insert my SIM card, power it back up, and then even latch onto the Wi-Fi from the store where I purchased it.

    To be honest, not only was I tired, I was anxious.
    I had noticed incredible speeds while installing my apps in comparison to all my other devices, even against my Moto e6.

    Success!

    It's alive!

    It immediately connected to my cellular carrier and to Wi-Fi, and did not download anything except for the APN settings for the cellular connections.

    Like I said, I am not sure if bloatware is supposed to be on an unlocked device, but aside from some Motorola stuff (that might be nice, I don't know. I am not a fan of gesture controls or automatic anything) there is nothing.

    Some Google and Motorola apps were not able to be disabled in the traditional way, requiring me to scroll to the end of an app's page and tap battery, then tap battery again for the disable option to become available.

    After a few days a couple of issues popped up, the first being that Wi-Fi would not stay on, courtesy of the 'Wi-Fi Manager' app stating that it could not work without Google Play Services enabled.
    Seeing as how it is blocked from internet access by the firewall, and how I have barely any apps from the Google Play Store (an even smaller number of those are up to date) I am living with that for now.

    The other issue was that a supposed 'security update' was being forced down my throat- a malicious full screen pop up demanding that I restart the device to allow the update to proceed interrupted every touch and function until I found the three apps that I assume were responsible- Dynamic System Updates, Device Care, and Internal Device Care.

    Clearing all data from these and then a force stop of each ended the pesky update annoyance.

    After what happened with my last device, I have absolutely no interest or want of any updates for anything, unless I give the approval of each and every part of it.

    The very same bogus 'security update' crap occured on my last device, and all that it entailed was an update for all the Google apps (none were being used or were) wanted) and also for almost 20 apps that I did not want any updates for- ever.

    Because the Google and bloatware on that device was not able to be disabled, the 'security update' pestilence would appear each time the screen turned on, and the dismiss button was very close to the restart button.
    Of course, restarting would initiate the 'update', and that would take about 20 minutes.

    Then I could swear and scream as I had to reconfigure the entire device again, only to then have that bastard 'security update' crap pop up all the time again.

    The last time, I accidently tapped 'restart', and I had had enough.

    I dashed the turd of a phone onto the driveway as hard as I could.

    Update that, Google!

    Never again.

    I immediately drove to the store and purchased my Moto e and did as I described above (the apks on the SD card and such, not the driveway part, lol).

    So it has been a few weeks now, and aside from the typical oddities of a nonGoogle device* it functions well.

    As soon as I can get away from the horrid cellular 'service' that is T-Mobile, it will be a great device.

    * Contacts must be entered manually, and previous phone calls are not remembered.
     


    #1 puppykickr, Sep 12, 2021
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2021
    mikedt, Xavier Black and ocnbrze like this.

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  2. PitCarver

    PitCarver Android Expert

    Seeing that I've been charactorized as an old fart, that basically wants simplicity, I appreciate this tutorial, PuppyKickr. After my bout with this "Covid Confusion", which I assume came from the Delta Variant, my search for simplicity is greater than it was before.

    Please keep your observations alive in this thread, for folks like me.
    Thanks.
     
    ocnbrze, puppykickr and Dannydet like this.
  3. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    I appreciate that, my friend.
     
    ocnbrze likes this.
  4. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Just for future reference, the firewall that I used is NoRoot Firewall.

    I also put NetGuard and Tracker Control onto it.

    All stock utility apps were disabled and replaced by everything from Simple Mobile Tools.

    The Google Fikes app was able to be disabled, but the other built in app by the same name was not.

    Hopefully when I can get a friend with a computer to fix me up with some ADB I will be able to eliminate it and the other ones mentioned earlier.
     
    ocnbrze likes this.
  5. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    This goes along with this post in what way?

    Also, any antivirus on Android is not going to do anything beneficial.

    There is no need for any antivirus on Android.
     
    PitCarver likes this.
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