How to remove bloatware (carrier) apps from your Android phone?

I just got another Samsung S3 I9300 sold by Personal (the phone carrier). After unlocking the phone, I noticed I had no permission to remove all the annoying Personal’s applications.

If you want to remove these apps without having to install a different firmware in your phone, there is another option. Use the Android Debug Bridge (ADB).

Before you start, ensure to have the following:

  • USB cable to connect your Android phone to your PC
  • Install the Kies software for phone drivers
  • ADB  *

Follow the steps below, and make sure you do it in this order:

  1. Install Kies in your PC and make sure that your phone is recognized when connected via USB.
  2. Decompress ADB and make sure the application is at <some_drive>:\ADB (e.g. C:\ADB)
  3. Enable USB debugging on your phone. It should be somewhere within your Settings (in Samsung S3 Android 4.0.4 is under Settings > Developer options).
  4. Connect your phone to your PC via USB
  5. Open the Command Prompt (go to Start > Run and type cmd.exe)
  6. Go to the C:\ADB directory and type adb devices. The result should display your phone’s ID.
    ADB devices

    ADB devices

  7. Now access the ADB shell by typing adb shell.
  8. Bloatware apps are usually in the systems folder. In order to delete them you need super user access. Type suto change to super user mode.
    ADB shell as Super User

    ADB shell as Super User

  9. Now type pm list packages -f to list all installed packages (including bloatware apps).
  10. After listing all packages, you need to mount the device in order to remove anything. Type mount -o remount,rw -t rfs /dev/stl5 /system to mount the device.
  11. From the previously listed packages, copy the name of the package (including the path) and type rm -r /system/app/[app-name].apk. For example, to remove AllShare type rm -r /system/app/AllshareMediaServer.apk. Follow this step until you remove any unwanted bloatware apps.
    ADB package list and removal

    ADB package list and removal

  12. Type exit to exit the shell.

That’s it. Let me know if you have any questions.

* If you don’t want to download the Android SDK to extract ADB, just Google “download ADB” to download the compressed ADB files.

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