Android devices usually come with various pre-installed apps. Most of these can actually be helpful, but some are only using up your battery.

The preinstalled apps usually cannot be easily removed without rooting the device.

In this post I would like to show how to disable these apps without root. For that I'll use my Sisabler app and Bugjaeger.

Bugjaeger will be used to install and activate Sisabler. Sisabler can then disable your preinstalled bloatware.

The disabled apps will still occupy space on your system partition, but they won't use up battery. These apps will disappear from app menu a become unlaunchable, so if you also didn't like any other annoying app behavior (tracking, notifications, ...), you'll get rid of that too.

Additionally, you can set a password for accessing Sisabler app. This allows you to control who will be able to reenable the hidden apps, so it can be handy if you want to temporarily give your device to somebody else (like your kids) without giving access to all your apps.

Note, that Bugjaeger gives an easier way to disable/hide apps directly (without Sisabler). You can do that from the "Packages" tab in Bugjaeger, by tapping on "Disable" next to the package name. However, disabling the package/app this way won't be password protected and the package can be re-enabled again easily via Bugjaeger or ADB.

Installing Bugjaeger & Downloading Sisabler

Bugjaeger is my multitool used for various development tasks and administration of Android devices. You will use it to later install and activate Sisabler.

Sisabler is my tool for disabling preinstalled system apps.

Bugjaeger is published on google play

I didn't bother with publishing the tiny Sisabler app. You can download it here.

I recommend to download it to the device where you've installed Bugjaeger because you can then use Bugjaeger to install the sisabler.apk file.

The other option is to download sisabler.apk directly to the device where you want to disable the apps. In the later case, to make the installation work, you'll need to allow installation from unknown sources in Android settings.

Connecting Bugjaeger to Target Device

To make instructions easier to follow, I'll call the device that has Bugjaeger installed the host. The device on which we want to install Sisabler will be the target.

Host and target can be the same device. I'll show how to configure your horst to be a target at the same time in the next section.

To create a remote ADB connection between host (Bugjaeger) and target, do the following

  1. Enable Developer options AND USB debugging on target device. Check out the official docs, if you're not sure how to do this

  2. Start Bugjaeger app on host device

  3. Connect host and target through USB OTG cable

  4. Authorize Bugjaeger app to access the connected USB device on host

  5. Authorize ADB connection on target

After performing the steps above, you should see your connected target device appear in the top device list spinner

device listed

Installing & Activating Sisabler

Sisabler is a device owner app which needs to be activated first, before you can use it's special capabilities.

If you're interested in how it exactly works, check out my blogpost here. You'll find the exact explanation how it works, including the source code it is based on.

To install Sisabler via Bugjaeger, do the following

  1. Switch to "Packages" tab
  2. Tap on the "Add" package button (+) in the top toolbar
  3. Choose "Select APK file" and tap on "OK".
  4. In the file browser, select the sisabler.apk that you've just downloaded from here

Once you've installed Sisabler, you need to make it a device owner. This will give it the capability to disable system apps (which regular apps don't have).

You can remove/disable device owner later, once you've disabled the apps that were bothering you. The apps stay disabled even after you remove Sisabler from your device.

Before activating device owner, there can be no accounts on your device. That means that you'll need to temporarily remove your added accounts in Android settings. You can add them back once Sisabler is activated as device owner.

To enable device owner go to the "Commands" tab (first tab) and create a custom command by again tapping on the (+) button in the toolbar.

Type in the following command

dpm set-device-owner eu.sisik.sisabler/.DevAdminReceiver

Once you execute the command, Sisabler will be activated as device owner app. You'll see "Dev owner activated" in top toolbar inside of Sisabler.

Disabling Apps

Sisabler can hide the apps you have issues with, once it is activated. The UI is straightforward. Just tap on the hide icon next to the app name.

Make sure you first do some research on the apps that you want to disable. Some of them might be required for proper functioning of the system or other apps!

You wont be able to uninstall Sisabler while it is activated as device owner. You can however easily deactivate device owner from the main menu at the top. Once it is deactivated, it can be uninstalled like regular apps.

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