We’ve talked about pre-installed apps AKA “bloatware” on many occasions. It’s not a mystery that shipping such non-essential apps is a crucial part of the carrier/OEM business policy. Considering the amount of diagnostic and usage data these applications can collect on your phone, one can easily deduce that carriers and OEMs do this for both additional revenue and control of the platform. Admittedly, bloatware is a rather subjective term, but the inability to uninstall or even disable some of these pre-installed system applications by traditional means is certainly a deal-breaker for the Android user base.
Fortunately, there are some community-made debloater tools that can help get rid of these apps. We also wrote a guide a while back that taught you how to uninstall any pre-installed app from the primary user account of your Android smartphone or tablet using Android Debug Bridge (ADB). In case you don’t want to go through all the manual ADB commands, XDA Member w1nst0n_fr has put together a script to help users debloat their devices in a safer way. Meet Universal Android Debloater — a list-driven debloating project that will not only disable the unwanted bloatware installed by OEMs and carriers, but also make it possible to delete the APKs if you have root access.
The heart of the project is a Bash script named
debloat_script.sh, which means it is compatible with Linux and macOS. Windows users, however, need to install a compatible Unix terminal first in order to utilize the tool. The script relies on crowdsourced debloat lists under the hood. You can find several OEM and carrier-specific lists out of the box, while the open-source nature of the project makes it super easy to contribute by submitting additional entries.
Here is a rundown of the features offered by Universal Android Debloater:
- Quick search among all the packages of an Android device
- Uninstallation of system/user packages (manually or with the debloat lists)
- Reinstallation of system packages (manually or with the debloat lists)
- ADB backup/restore
- Device brand detection and auto-selection of the appropriate manufacturer debloat list
- Logging: debloated_packages.txt, remaining_packages.txt, deleted_apks.txt (for root users)
- Root support (system and systemless with Magisk)
If you’re interested in trying out the debloater script, you can always find the latest version here. Those who want to take a look at the codebase and contribute can visit the project’s GitLab repository.