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    Haalcyon's Avatar

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    Default [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    For the power user there can never be too much speed, never be too many free resources. One of the things you can do in Android to set your phone or tablet free from that all too well known carrier/OEM stuff (and any other apps you don't plan on using) is DISABLE it. This keeps these apps from running and taking up system resources, leaving those resources for the apps and processes you actually DO want. Disabling apps doesn't require any root privileges and is a popular, simple, and effective method of tuning your Android device.

    By disabling, the apps aren't uninstalled and are still sitting in your devices and, therefore, can be re-enabled should you change your mind. They're sort of in a coma. [WARN]Remember, with great power comes great responsibility. You don't want to go and disable something your phone actually needs running to be happy. [/WARN] That said, let's take a look at how to do this quick, popular, and often useful tweak on both a Samsung (left) and Nexus device (right). Most other Android devices based on recent builds accomplish this in a similar manner.

    First you'll want to head towards Settings, by pulling down on the notification bar or clicking any shortcut for it that you may have:

    [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps-settings.png

    Then, you'll want to head to the Application Mangler Manager:

    [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps-apps.png

    Once in the Application Manager scroll over to All. So here we are in the land of Oz. Carrier bloat, undesirables, and just any app we don't plan to use is waiting for us to have our way with them. In our example we'll disable AT&T Code Scanner and Google Chrome (not that these are bloat or undesirables, they're just our examples):

    [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps-applist.png

    Now, we're in the castle and just have to disable our apps and get out before the guards find us in here. On the example on the left (our Samsung example), you'll tap 'Turn Off'. On the right (on our Nexus device) you'll tap 'Disable'. They're doing the same thing.

    [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps-justdoit-.png
    [INFO]Any updates that have been installed will first be uninstalled and the app will be returned to its factory fresh state and disabled.[/INFO].
    You'll receive a warning notice that any dependencies on the app may not be happy that their brethren have been disabled. Once you're sure fairly certain nothing else you want to use is going to be broken by disabling the app go ahead and tap 'OK':

    [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps-warning.png
    [INFO]On some devices you may get an additional notice that the app will be returned to its factory condition, it's okay, just tap 'OK'[/INFO]
    At this point your device is probably just a little happier and things are just a little bit better in the world. One less potentially performance-sipping app robbing your device of resources:
    [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps-done-.png

    With this you're done and free to disable any other apps you may wish. [INFO]If at a later time you change your mind just return to the Application Manager and scroll over to the Turned Off / Disabled section, select your app and enable it.[/INFO]

    [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps-disabled-list.png

    By doing this you can prevent a lot of that carrier/OEM bloat (or any other app) from affecting the performance of your otherwise great device.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps-settings.png   [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps-applist.png   [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps-applist.png  
    Last edited by Haalcyon; 10-26-2013 at 01:13 PM.
    Live long and prosper.


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  2. #2  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    Outstanding concept, but the first two items I attempted to do away with were not compatible with your instructions.

    The first item had no turn off or disable button (or anything similar) to allow me to turn it off.

    The second item had a Turn off button, but it is disabled.

    I am running a Samsung Galaxy S4 on Verizon with the most recent OS updates installed.
  3. #3  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    Not sure if this is a given or not but I did run into one problem on my Sprint Galaxy S3 when disabling apps. I had disabled the Voice Mail app as I was using Google Voice exclusively. For reasons I won't get into here I decided to port my GV number to Sprint so it was my phone's dedicated number. I don't recall in what order these events happened but after disabling the Voice Mail app early on in my ownership of said phone there was an OS update and an app update. I missed the app update because I had it disabled. When I decided to enable the Voice Mail app after porting my number from GV to Sprint I ran into problems. The app didn't want to work. I never figured out the exact reason but my guess was that the old version didn't play nice with the new OS and I didn't get the app updated. I ended up having to factory reset my phone.

    Kind of a long story but I wanted to share so others didn't go down the same path as me. The easy fix, IMO, is to enable any apps before updating the OS.
  4. #4  
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    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    You mean, "enable any apps that are not available from Google Play"...any app you disable can be updated when you re-enable it, if it's from Play. Core carrier apps, not so much.

    Sent from the (4.2 updated) redheaded stepchild of the Nexii
  5. Thread Author  Thread Author    #5  
    Haalcyon's Avatar

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    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Sutton2 View Post
    Outstanding concept, but the first two items I attempted to do away with were not compatible with your instructions.

    The first item had no turn off or disable button (or anything similar) to allow me to turn it off.

    The second item had a Turn off button, but it is disabled.

    I am running a Samsung Galaxy S4 on Verizon with the most recent OS updates installed.
    Note all apps on all devices can or should be disabled, your mileage may vary.

    Note 8.0
    Live long and prosper.


  6. #6  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    "Mediaserver" is the only app/service I have trouble with. Keeps eating my battery on new 2013 Nexus 7. How do I disable that?
  7. #7  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    Quote Originally Posted by bigdaddytee View Post
    You mean, "enable any apps that are not available from Google Play"...any app you disable can be updated when you re-enable it, if it's from Play. Core carrier apps, not so much.

    Sent from the (4.2 updated) redheaded stepchild of the Nexii
    Exactly.
  8. #8  
    sectime's Avatar

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    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    Note sure what you mean but many of the Samsung apps on my Note 3 can't be disabled. Flipboard as well.
    Paul Thurrott:
    Not now mom, somebody is wrong on the internet
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  9. #9  
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    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    Galaxy Note 3

    My Magazine - Here and Now
    My Magazine

    Neither provide the option to "Turn Off" --- or more correctly stated that option is grayed out.
  10. #10  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    One thing not addressed:

    The, the Show Notifications checkbox.
    If you have an app that you don't intend to use, you want to uncheck this checkbox.
    A pop up will say:

    If you turn off notifications for this app,
    you may miss important alerts and
    updates.

    This has always meant that the market won't notify you about updates for the app.
    (Which is fine, since you don't use it anyway). (Even disabled apps will see market update alerts).

    However, Google violated their own rule about what this checkbox means when Google Hangouts came out.
    In their rush to force everybody to Hangouts before it was ready, they also prevented Push of notification
    to the old TALK app.

    With every other app, if you attempted to keep an older version on your phone, without seeing the update
    in your list of apps every time you check for updates, you could simply un-check the Show Notifications checkbox
    and your phone would happily use the old version and not nag you to update.

    But with Talk, Google also prevented Talk from getting notifications of incoming messages when this was unchecked.
    So in order to remain on Talk you have to see the nagging alerts about updates. (Some of us can't get Hangouts
    to work or fit on old devices).

    So far as I know, only Google has confused the purpose of this checkbox. And I think they did it intentionally.
  11. #11  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    Some LWP uses mediaserver, I found out that from using 3d image LWP, after I disabled that my mediaserver battery consumption went down. Worth a try
  12. #12  
    vpblaze's Avatar

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    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    Great write up. I really appreciate it! Thanks.

    Sent from my Note 2 using Tapatalk 4
  13. #13  
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    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    if you power cycle your phone will you need to disable all the apps again? thanks for any help....
  14. #14  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    Quote Originally Posted by way2broke View Post
    if you power cycle your phone will you need to disable all the apps again? thanks for any help....
    No the apps should stay disabled even after a reboot.


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  15. #15  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    Quote Originally Posted by sectime View Post
    Note sure what you mean but many of the Samsung apps on my Note 3 can't be disabled. Flipboard as well.
    This still falls in the carriers & OEM hands. If they want something to be excluded from being disabled they have the option to do so.


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  16. #16  
    TenshiNo's Avatar

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    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    Quote Originally Posted by geekynerd00 View Post
    "Mediaserver" is the only app/service I have trouble with. Keeps eating my battery on new 2013 Nexus 7. How do I disable that?
    The "MediaServer" process is what goes and finds "media" (aka: music, sounds, pictures, videos, etc) on your phone's storage and creates a catalog of those items so that it won't have to perform this lengthy scan when you open an app that wants access to these files.

    Sometimes, though, certain files can cause the MediaServer to "hang" and run continuously, chewing threw your battery like crazy. This has been a problem for Android forever, and I've never seen anyone give a good reason as to why this happens, but the general consensus is that it's a problem with a particular media file that causes it. Usually, that means an MP3/WMA/etc with a "bad" ID3 tag that the MediaServer process can't quite read, so it just keeps trying over and over. I've also seen suggestions that certain types of files that the MediaServer process tries to read, it can't.

    There are a few ways to handle this:

    1) Find some tool that will "refresh" all of the ID3 tags on your music. There are a number of them out there. Just Google "id3 tag updater" and you'll get a few pages of results. Many of them are free, and will just scan all of the music in a given folder and make sure the ID3 tags are "good".

    2) It may not be music. If you have a folder that you use to "transport" files, like say some AutoCad images, that you don't necessarily want the MediaServer to try and parse anyway, just create an empty file called ".nomedia" (period [.] at the front is important) in that folder, and the MediaServer will not attempt to scan that folder for media. Now, if you're running on a Windows PC, you're going to have to put something in front of the period, and then rename it on the phone. Linux considers files that begin with a period to be "hidden/system files", but Windows doesn't like you making a file that (as far as Windows is concerned) has only an extension and no name. Any basic file explorer tool for Android (such as ES File Explorer) will allow you to do this easily.

    3) This one is not pretty, but if you have a lot of music on your phone, consider pulling all of it off for a few hours and see if the problem stops. If it does, then it's one of your music files. Try adding them back, 10 or so at a time, every few hours, until you see the MediaServer "hung" again. Then you know it's one of those 10, so start taking them back off the phone one-by-one until the problem stops. This method is, unfortunately, aggravating and very time consuming and would require you to potentially go without your music for a few days, but I can speak from personal experience that it *will* fix the problem.

    Good luck, and let me know if you need any additional help.
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  17. #17  
    TenshiNo's Avatar

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    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    Quote Originally Posted by TenshiNo View Post
    2) It may not be music. If you have a folder that you use to "transport" files, like say some AutoCad images, that you don't necessarily want the MediaServer to try and parse anyway, just create an empty file called ".nomedia" (period [.] at the front is important) in that folder, and the MediaServer will not attempt to scan that folder for media. Now, if you're running on a Windows PC, you're going to have to put something in front of the period, and then rename it on the phone. Linux considers files that begin with a period to be "hidden/system files", but Windows doesn't like you making a file that (as far as Windows is concerned) has only an extension and no name. Any basic file explorer tool for Android (such as ES File Explorer) will allow you to do this easily.
    Actually, this can be a useful trick if you have games that store in-game images (like a menu background) on the phone storage or SD-Card, and they start showing up in your gallery. This will effectively "hide" those images from the gallery, since the MediaServer is responsible for finding images, creating thumbnails, and adding those thumbnails to the gallery. *Most* games *shouldn't* be storing images as just straight bitmaps (they should be part of the application's resource pack) and *most* of the ones that do, usually put this ".nomedia" file in place themselves. But, for that one game that doesn't, it can be annoying to see those images in the gallery.
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  18. #18  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    Disabling apps can cause problems. If you are going to that much work to tweak your phone, you might as well root it and use 'Greenify'. This first identifies which apps constantly wake-up using CPU time thereby decreasing battery life. From that list, you choose which apps to hibernate. The apps aren't disabled, but are prevented from launching on their own. You can launch any hibernated app the same as any regular app. When you are done using the app, it is automatically hibernated again and won't wake up until you call for it again.
    Hibernation has an advantage over disabling apps. If you want to launch a disabled app, you must go through the step of enabling it as well as updating the app through Google Play. This can be time consuming. Just hope you don't need that information quickly and that you have decent internet access while you are going through these steps. Hibernated apps update via Google Play without losing their hibernated status.
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  19. #19  
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    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    I think what you are saying is there is not a button to Disable apps under the app info screen. I do not have it on my Nexus 7
  20. #20  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    Thanks for this. I've been fighting Samsung WatchOn on Samsung GS4 with no success. It uses resources and since it is set up for US, it has annoyed me since day one.

    To be honest, when I read your guide, I scoffed at it because you never said to "Disable Notifications". I had worked out this was/may be a component of the problem.

    So then I read comments and I see flush cache. This was the piece I needed and it made complete sense once I read it.

    For me:
    • Disable Notifications
    • Force stop
    • Disable
    • Clear cache

    has finally got rid of an annoying app.

    Thank you...
  21. #21  
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    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    Quote Originally Posted by icebike View Post
    One thing not addressed:

    The, the Show Notifications checkbox.
    If you have an app that you don't intend to use, you want to uncheck this checkbox.
    A pop up will say:

    If you turn off notifications for this app,
    you may miss important alerts and
    updates.

    This has always meant that the market won't notify you about updates for the app.
    (Which is fine, since you don't use it anyway). (Even disabled apps will see market update alerts).

    However, Google violated their own rule about what this checkbox means when Google Hangouts came out.
    In their rush to force everybody to Hangouts before it was ready, they also prevented Push of notification
    to the old TALK app.

    With every other app, if you attempted to keep an older version on your phone, without seeing the update
    in your list of apps every time you check for updates, you could simply un-check the Show Notifications checkbox
    and your phone would happily use the old version and not nag you to update.

    But with Talk, Google also prevented Talk from getting notifications of incoming messages when this was unchecked.
    So in order to remain on Talk you have to see the nagging alerts about updates. (Some of us can't get Hangouts
    to work or fit on old devices).

    So far as I know, only Google has confused the purpose of this checkbox. And I think they did it intentionally.

    based on what I've experienced the show notifications is not for what you think. This checkbox disables the app from sending you notifications to your notification pull down box. Thats it. The apps still auto update just fine. Some apps like to cleverly hide the notification option and some like the apps whisper still will send you notifications even if its turned off in its own settings. I have several notable apps with turned off notifications and they always updated
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  22. #22  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    I disabled the Google Play Movies & TV app on my VZW GNexus running 4.2.2. When I check the Play Store for updates, the update for that app appears. If I let it do the update, the app is re-enabled again. Sounds like for apps like these, you may want to use the Greenify app mentioned by jtrangsr above to make them stay disabled. From jtrangsr's description, it sounds like you would not need to uninstall the updates when you hibernate an app. What happens when there's a new update for the hibernated app?
  23. #23  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    'Would love to get that flipboard gone!

    cvt
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  24. #24  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    I just got my very first Android Phone (Moto G) There are so many apps listed that look important...How do I know which apps I can disable and which ones I shouldn't mess with? Is there a list out there somewhere?
  25. #25  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] How to Disable Apps

    Welcome to Android Central, and congrats on your G! I'm not sure if there's a list specifically for that phone, but you can always experiment and re-enable a disabled app if you need to. Just don't disable Download Manager, since that's important for installing apps from the Google Play Store. Here's a list of apps I've disabled on my Nexus 5:

    Email (I only use Gmail)
    Exchange Services
    Face Unlock
    Google Hindi Input
    Google Korean keyboard
    Google Pinyin
    HP Print Service Plugin
    News & Weather
    Sun Beam (live wallpaper)
    TalkBack

    You can disable all Google Play apps (like Books, Movies, etc.), but I'd leave Play Store and Google Play Services alone. Any preinstalled app that came with your G is definitely something to consider disabling.
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