Firmware Updates, Removing Systemapps without root

Hello everyone,

I’m planning to get the Fairphone3 and flashing /e/. I want to avoid rooting my phone this time, because I don’t want to mess around with updating TWRP and rerooting after OS updates.

Is it possible to remove every app which comes preinstalled on /e/? E.g. if I don’t want the calendar app which is shipped with the OS I want to be able to completely purge it.

How do Firmware updates work with this setup? I’m not referring to the OS or Security Patches here but on updating Radio/Baseband or e.g. the Bootloader itself.

Regain your privacy! Adopt /e/ the unGoogled mobile OS and online servicesphone

you can remove them via TWRP or adb. But ensure you have installed am different launcher before removing bliss :wink:
I’m always move the apk to ‘sdcard’. Because if something went wrong and the system isn’t booting anymore, I can move the apk back and everything is as before :slight_smile:

In most cases the delete apks will come back with next OTA. But I have read that for some devices the deleted apps are still gone after OTA.

@Libre:
Unfortunately, without rooting your phone you won’t be able to uninstall SystemApps.

I found an interesting post: Uninstall default apps
You can uninstall apps for the current user with the following adb shell command:
pm uninstall -k --user 0 <system_app_name>

You can find the exact package name in the Development tools:

  1. Activate development settings: Settings > About phone > Tap 7 times on “Build number”
  2. Open the package manager in the Development tools: Settings > System > Advanced > Development options > Development tools > Package Browser

Here I found something about the plans in the future about two different versions: standard and minimal. It is still under development. Maybe it won’t be necessary to remove the SystemApps anymore because there will be only necessary SystemApps in the minimal version.

Next majors milestones:
in the future /e/ will be available in two versions:

standard /e/ with default applications
/e/ with minimal number of default/pre-installed applications

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it’s very, very easy and often named here in forum. go to TWRP file explorer, mount /system and use TWRP file explorer for deleting. But …
better moving in an different folder, because if your device won’t boot anymore you can move it back

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As the previous speaker confirmed, uninstalling the pre-installed /e/ apps without root is possible, but the applications aren’t really completely uninstalled from the device, but primarily only for the current user (user 0 is the default / main user of the phone):
adb shell command: pm uninstall -k --user 0 <system_app_name>

On different channels I’ve also read that, among other things, with LineageOS, once uninstalled apps are available again after an OTA. I couldn’t detect this with /e/ OS ROMs so far.

The uninstalled foundation.e.weather including lineageos.openweathermapprovider, lineageos.weather.provider and lineageos.weather.provider wasn’t renewed even after three OTA updates and is therefore still not usable.

If uninstalling the pre-installed /e/ applications is advantageous in any case, I’ll leave uncommented. In fact, uninstalling isn’t worthwhile if you primarily want to save disk space.

There’s also always dangers that the whole system could become unstable when uninstalling system maps.

If you just don’t want to use the apps pre-installed in /e/, and you don’t want to see the icons on the screen, you can disable all apps so that the icons are no longer visible on the home screen or subsequent display screen.

The advantage is: the whole system isn’t affected, the deactivated apps cannot be used and - the deactivated apps can be reactivated if necessary. The official OTA updates work as it should.

hlte_disabelt hlte_disabeld

This 2 screenshots show a completely disabled Apps e-0.9-n(ougat) Samsung Galaxy Note 3 LTE “hlte”.

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Thanks for all the information so far, it was really helpful. Do you have any info on the firmware part? How does /e/ update the firmware running on the parts of the fairphone (modem/baseband, bootloader etc.).

My aim here is to have a working phone, without a custom recovery, without root with a privacy friendly OS + no struggle for firmware updates :slight_smile: (+no bloatware)

I came a long way, every smartphone I owned so far got instantly custom recovery + custom rom + root after unboxing. But handling updates is just a pain then, I want to get rid of that. The only major drawback I see here is that I can’t restore my apps + data with TitaniumBackup, but I’ll life with that if updates are fully functional :smiley:

Radio-, Baseband-,Bootloader- Firmware depends largely on the manufacturer of the device.

The custom ROM manufacturers, like the general users, are dependent on this service from the device manufacturer. /e/ or Lineage, or whatever they are called, don’t usually update this device-specific firmware.

If the manufacturer doesn’t provide updates and/or has stopped servicing the device, there is a well-known security gap.

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On a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 LTE (N9005) “hlte” with LineageOS 16.0 I tested “this” behaviour of the system,

First, I disabled all preinstalled LineageOS Apps in Apps & notifications > App Info section, where the system enabled it by tap / click.

The three³ LOS apps org.lineageos.audiofx - com.android.gallery3d - org.lineageos.recorder do not allow for a deactivation, because the button is grayed out. Therefore they have been deactivated by ADB command for now.

Since the deactivated LineageOS apps remained deactivated after an OTA update, the three³ apps were completely uninstalled via ADB command (see posting #5)

The LOS system has been rebooted several times and two more OTA updates are being made.

Result: All deactivated apps remained deactivated, all uninstalled apps were not restored by the OTA’s.

So it’s not surprising that a /e/ OS ROM behaves identically.

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You don’t need a custom recovery to install /e/ on the Fairphone 3.
Also, the update mechanism of /e/ doesn’t rely on the recovery here (same as with the stock OS).

Furthermore, under normal circumstances you would not install a custom recovery on the Fairphone 3 anyway, you would just boot it when needed without installing it.

(The reason for this being … There is no separate recovery partition on the Fairphone 3 you could flash a custom recovery to. Installing a custom recovery on the Fairphone 3 means embedding it into the boot partition, so the boot partition gets altered. At least the stock OS updater checks for altered partitions and refuses to update in this case, though I don’t know how the /e/ updater handles that.)

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