I just migrated to Android 6.0 and the 'Share to' panel has a new grey area on top of the various apps in which it puts contacts that, I assume, you pin there. This would be a good feature, except a contact ended up there and I can find no way to remove it. Is there one?

Specifically, the contact seems to have been put there by the Messenger app but there is no way to alter its pinning from the app, either.

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    Based on my experience, the contact is added because of sharing history with them, not because of specifically pinning them (similar to "App suggestions" on "Home screen", though it can be disabled in that case), but I agree there's no hint if it can be removed easily.
    – Andrew T.
    Nov 6, 2015 at 3:47
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    The rather interesting (...) aspect is that the specific contact was, originarily, a phone number to which I had sent exactly one SMS. I added it to a new contact in the hope of gaining a 'remove/delete' button/method... no such luck. OTOH, several contacts with which I have shared things a lot more do not appear.
    – lfabio
    Nov 6, 2015 at 13:18
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    I created a feature request on AOSP Issue Tracker: #194126. Consider starring it to follow the progress.
    – Andrew T.
    Nov 14, 2015 at 18:47
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    Update after a few days of using the phone: now the area has been taken over by whatsapp - which is well and good, except a) it only has WA contacts b) it shows some to which I haven't shared stuff in at least 12 months. So it seems like one app can take over the entire panel and at that point it simply shows some subset of its contacts on there? OTOH, messenger only ever put the one contact there.
    – lfabio
    Nov 25, 2015 at 19:45
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    Following up, it's been a (very) long while. The original defect sort of corrected itself insofar as with use, other contacts have taken the area over. The choice of which contacts get presented remains rather random and only loosely to frequency or recency of use.
    – lfabio
    Feb 11, 2016 at 10:17

7 Answers 7


It turns out that - for rooted people - there is a way to completely turn off Direct Share!

For the short version skip to the bottom of this answer.

In my search for a way to stop this stupid feature from bugging me I had a look at how the feature is actually implemented in apps by developers. It turns out that they register a service with an intent receiver (read: event listener) and when I realized that, I started looking for a way to block certain intents from broadcasting through the system. Well, Android actually has that built in. It's called the Intent Firewall. I quickly figured out how to create a rule for it to block apps from receiving the "Hey are there any apps that want to bug the user by putting a couple of Direct Share buttons under their thumb as they're about to tap something?"-event.

You just create a simple xml file like and drop this into it:

  <service block="true" log="true">
      <action name="android.service.chooser.ChooserTargetService" />

Now you have to put it on the phone and copy it into the Intent Firewall directory. On most devices that would be


I simply used Root Explorer to copy the file there (no chmod required), tried to share something that caused Direct Share targets to pop up and BOOM! Nothing!

I recommend to do some background reading (see links above), especially about how the Intent Firewall works and how you can find the folder.

Happy not-sharing!

  • I created a file called disable-direct-share.xml containing the exact XML content above, then copied it to the existing folder /data/system/ifw/ using Root Explorer, and... the annoying "Share via" individual contacts still appear, a few seconds after the apps. Rooted LineageOS, Android 7.1.2. Any idea? Thanks! Mar 22, 2018 at 6:33
  • Hmm no I think that should work. This is the file I literally download and move to the folder: stor4ge.rejh.nl/_stored/var/android/system-images/…
    – REJH
    Mar 26, 2018 at 14:56
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    Thank you!! Based on your answer I created a repository with three ways to install this file: computerless on phone only, with adb, and finally with a flashable recovery zip file. See github.com/stefansundin/android-disable-direct-share May 19, 2018 at 23:31
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    You can also apply this fix without root via TWRP. 1. copy the xml file somewhere. 2. reboot into recovery (TWRP). 3. Press Advanced > File Manager. 4. Find your file on /sdcard/, copy it. 5. open directory /data/system/ifw, paste 6. reboot back into system. May 28, 2019 at 17:02
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    I would advise against this method in Android 10 (Q) - it worked fine through 9 (Pie) but in 10 it crashes the app you're trying to share from. Sep 4, 2019 at 6:18

Go to settings. Click on Advanced Features. Scroll to "Direct Share". Turn it off and all contacts are gone from share via.

Image shows a before and after visualization of disabling Direct share.

enter image description here

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    Uh, I do not have Advanced Features in the settings menu? We're talking about the phone settings, right?
    – lfabio
    Sep 29, 2016 at 11:21
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    It worked for the Galaxy S7. So maybe this method is specific to Samsung phones? And yes, I found the "Advanced Features" in the phone settings menu, after "Display".
    – kdb
    Dec 29, 2016 at 14:43
  • This was the exact answer that required barely any digging and not having to root the phone or anything drastic.
    – John
    May 21, 2017 at 20:55
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    Could you please include a screenshot? Thanks a lot! :-) Mar 22, 2018 at 6:34
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    This is not an android setting, it depends on your ROM manufacturer to implemented
    – Slim
    Aug 19, 2021 at 22:05

You can disable the 'share via' menu by removing Messenger's permission to access your contacts. This isn't practical if you use Messenger as your primary SMS app, but if you use another app, it's fine.

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    This is not really a solution, is it?
    – REJH
    Jul 22, 2016 at 5:44
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    This works if they only come from Messenger and user uses other SMS app as the default SMS app. The contacts can come from other apps too (in my case e.g. from 3rd party email app and Whatsapp), but disabling the contacts permission causes them to malfunction. Aug 28, 2016 at 2:35

Currently. as of 6.0 there is no way of disabling direct share all together. Some apps may add an option to disable direct share for their apps though.

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    I'm actually fine with the feature - if it worked as intended, i.e. (I assume) put the 'most frequently shared to' contacts there. I'd welcome it. But there needs to be a way to edit the list. I should say - there needs to be an easy way to edit the list.
    – lfabio
    Nov 6, 2015 at 18:11
  • Currently the issue with it is that apps can add any contact and if multiple IM adds same person for example, they you are left with multiple methods of contacting same person. Taking up space above all. a tab at top to switch between people and apps is a better option in my opinion.
    – Roh_mish
    Nov 13, 2015 at 6:47

I discovered that if you block the contact in WhatsApp, it stops showing it in the share menu and in the new "frequent chats" section when you share or forward stuff.

However, when you unblock it, it's possible for it to show again in those two places.

  • For non-rooted and non Galaxy devices this is the only viable solution (if you don't mind blocking the contact of course).
    – merosss
    Jun 26, 2021 at 8:14

To successfully remove Outlook contacts from Share via menu, I did the following:-

  1. Settings, Applications, Application Manager, Outlook, Permissions - uncheck all
  2. Outlook, Gear icon, click account in question, uncheck Sync contacts, click RESET Account

This removed outlook email contacts from the Share Via menu. Outlook works as normal but is ring fenced from the rest of my phone.

  • This isn't really an answer to this question, but it's exactly what I was trying to do. So thanks for the answer!
    – ssmy
    Sep 1, 2016 at 2:03
  • This was what I was looking for too, and it worked but unfortunately it seems it was only a temporary solution. The Outlook contacts have returned.
    – bmaupin
    Nov 9, 2017 at 11:48

I discovered that in the case of WhatsApp showing the offending contact on your direct share menu (i.e. your side chick when your girlfriend is looking), you can push that contact down and out of the list by sending attachments to other, more safer, contacts.

Since WhatsApp displays the last four people with whom you have shared something, share a photo with four other people, or as many contacts as needed to push the offending contact out of the top four.

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    The problem is, it's erratic. It might work, it might not. It might bring up people I actually interact with, it might not - it brought up a couple contacts I have not had interaction with in three years..
    – lfabio
    Jul 11, 2016 at 16:32

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