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The data associated with an app which we see when we go to Applications > Manage Applications > application, is it cleared when we hit "Uninstall" or is it left untouched by the uninstaller?

The reason why I'm asking it is, I've heard from a lot of people who first hit "Clear data" and then hit "Uninstall" mostly because they're not sure so they just ensure that they get rid of the data and then uninstall!! So do one need to hit "Clear data" before uninstalling.

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I'm quite sure it does clear the data, but I'll test in a bit. –  Matthew Read Aug 10 '11 at 20:38
Related:… –  Al E. Aug 10 '11 at 21:45

3 Answers 3

up vote 20 down vote accepted

As Matthew Read noted in a comment: yes, it is. The entire data directory is simply deleted:

C:\Console2>adb shell ls /data/data/
lib           shared_prefs

C:\Console2>adb uninstall

C:\Console2>adb shell ls /data/data/
ls: /data/data/ No such file or directory

#Reinstalled from the Market at this point

C:\Console2>adb shell ls /data/data/

The shared_prefs directory is absent in the last ls listing because I didn't launch the app, I only reinstalled it, therefore there were no preferences yet created for it (it sets defaults on the first launch). I point this out only because it illustrates that the preferences from the previous install were not retained anywhere.

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Thanks for doing this! +1. –  Matthew Read Aug 11 '11 at 2:40

Simpler and convincing test...

I installed Super Sudoku, changed a setting and Manage Apps showed data. I uninstalled it without data clearing, reinstalled it and Manage Apps showed no data. Setting was lost. But I have read several times documentation saying that the setting will be kept after the same operation. They must have some control of it.

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It'd be better if you could also provide the link to the documentation about that, as currently it contradicts the other answers. –  Andrew T. Apr 28 at 1:01
What exactly are you calling "that"? I'm not contradicting the "other answers", I'm producing an experiment that comes to the same conclusion as the only answer talking about the same subject: the data memory is erased, including configuration. The other answer says that other data may remain elsewhere. I added that I've seen programs guaranteeing to keep the configuration after uninstallation and I don't know how (it was not in /sdcardX). That could have been simply said in screen messages. I'm afraid there's mostly no longer proper, complete documentation by these days. –  Papou Apr 29 at 8:40
No problem, seems there's a misunderstanding. I was referring to "documentation" that says "the setting will be kept after the same operation, and I thought by documentation means official Android SDK doc, but your comment just clear my confusion. No worries... –  Andrew T. Apr 29 at 10:57

This is probably obvious, but... Some apps that have the permission "Modify/delete USB storage" may use the internal memory for caches etc. and may not necessarily remove the data once the app is deleted. I've seen apps to write in not so obvious directories like /sdcard/data/[package name]/, but mostly they use /sdcard/[app name]/ which is easy to spot and delete.

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Data written to the sdcard like that also won't be deleted by the Clear Data button, of course, so either way you'd need to remove it manually. Good point, though. –  eldarerathis Aug 11 '11 at 13:06

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