You don’t need to be a tin foil beanie aficionado to want to go light on Google and vendor preinstalled software on you android device. After all, what’s the point of using up space for selfies with apps you never use. More importantly though, getting rid of vendor and google telemetry will quite nicely increase your battery life too, since your device isn’t constantly powering up to snitch on you by reporting back to the mother ship.
There are drawbacks too of course, depending on how far you want to take things. If you remove the play store and google services you will find the universe of available apps shrink considerably. Although other stores from Amazon to Yandex are available. GPS positioning may also start to take longer or work less accurately.
That said, f-droid provides a good google free store, based on open source applications that can meet your basic needs. If you device supports it, you could also consider installing a custom rom such as LineageOS. Of course this isn’t for everyone, and so disabling or uninstalling various unwanted components can present a happy medium for some.
This post is applicable to the OnePlus Nord but should be easily adaptable to other OnePlus phones in the range, or generally phones that provide ADB access. Obviously as usual, our disclaimer applies. Proceed at your own risk.
Do NOT just randomly uninstall everything unless you have a way to restore your device, you may otherwise live to regret it.
- On your phone, go to “Settings” and tap on “About Phone”.
- Find the “Build Number” and tap on it 7 times to enable “Developer Options”.
- Enter Developer Options and find “USB Debugging”. Enable it.
Next install Android Debug Bridge
sudo apt update sudo apt-get install android-tools-adb
Connect your phone via USB to your computer, then start the ADB demon on your computer.
You should see a security message on the screen of your phone asking to approve the machine trying to connect to it. Confirm and proceed. The adb devices command should now return your device with its serial number at the prompt.
Next get yourself a shell prompt ON you device with this command:
Now use either of the repos below to de-bloat and de-google your device:
- https://github.com/themagicalmammal/oosDebloater provides general de-bloat list for OP7/7T/8/7Pro/Nord/Lite.
- https://github.com/globalcargo/adbdebloater_opseries8_Nord provides a version of the above repo more specifically tuned to the Nord with EU rom. Also has some explanations for the various files that are suggested for removal.
This guide is tuned for the OP Nord and thus we’ll use the suggested de-bloats from the globalcargo repo. But you can easily come up with your own customized de-bloat list by drawing from both repos. This is a pretty personal process as some people may want some specific features, while others will accept reduced functionality in return for removing everything that is not strictly needed. So we encourage you to look at the relevant files in the two repos.
As for the globalcargo repo, applying the debloater.txt, facebook_deletes and trial_donotuse files produced a very stripped down but workable configuration. Those wanting fast and efficient gps triangulation may want to refrain from removing the location service related files though. The optional_debloats.txt file contains some further potential uninstalls such as the Google One App or OP’s Zen Mode.
Note that files ending in “enable” such as optional_debloatsenable.txt use the disable rather than uninstall command, so changes can be reversed out more easily by just enabling the specific app again.
Other than optional_debloats.txt all files are formatted in such a way that you can just copy and past them into the ADB shell prompt and they will execute the modifications line by line.
Note, after software updates from OnePlus we noticed particularly the Facebook and Google apps reappear. So best to document your own selection of de-bloat items and then reapply them after the monthly updates. If you keep a list similar to, or use the repos files unmodified, this process only take 2 minutes or so. Maybe even consider sticking your version into a github repo for easy access and share it with the world. 🙂
Enjoy, and good luck!