I have a rooted Android device and have a couple of pre-installed System apps in the /System/App folder that do not show up in the normal App list.

Using various file explorers, I can "look inside" the APK files or view and change information on them, but if I try to open them, I'm prompted to install the app which then gives me a warning that it will replace the existing app and it's settings. This leads me to believe these apps are already installed and functional.

Is there a way I can just run these apps instead?

I do not want to Install, Replace, Move, or Remove anything which is all I can find via Google. I just want to run the existing pre-installed app that has no icon in the app list.

As a side note, I tried using ES Explorer and created a shortcut on desktop to one of these APK files, but opening it from the desktop shortcut just prompts me with the same Install and warning about replacing the app.

  • What are those apps' name ? Some system apps are libraries and doesn't have any activities and some have hidden activities that launch via an intent from an other system app and they don't show up in the app drawer because they don't have the intent action.intent.action.MAIN May 30, 2015 at 6:31

2 Answers 2


Is there a way I can just run these apps instead?

If I were you and see such apps that are not in the Apps list, then I would take a look at AndroidManifest.xml inside the .apk (Extract by touch holding file under Es File ExplorerMore →Open →ES Zip Viewer → Select .xml file and Extract, and view using Axel).

I would first try to see the activities registered under action.intent.action.MAIN e.g. for a file named Galaxy4.apk the associated activity name is .Galaxy4.

Relevant output from Axel:


     <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN"/>

What's next to do? Fire up ADB or a terminal app and type:

am start -a android.intent.action.MAIN -n com.android.galaxy4/.Galaxy4

This command launched the app with its default activity. What's more? I realized that this .apk was actually a live wallpaper native to Android and can be accessed inside Wallpaper settings. Now it makes sense why it isn't needed in the Apps list.

Your case probably would differ and so, type am to see various parameters that it has. You may also take a look here and here.


Sounds to me like you have just disabled the apps. If that is the case just go to Settings/Application Manager then select all apps. Locate the app(s) in question and if it is disabled, just enable it. Good Luck!

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