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My son had an old Moto G running KitKat. On that phone, I set up an app locker to block the Google app because there was no way to restrict the "safe image search" on that app. Instead of him potentially being exposed to explicit images, I just blocked the app entirely.

That phone broke last week, and I just bought him the new Moto G (2015). Evidently, in Lollipop, you cannot block the Google search app using an app blocker. Accordingly, there is no way to keep my son from searching for and finding explicit images using the Google search app.

I have searched the internet for a solution, but cannot find one. Does anyone know whether there is any way to block the Google search app on Lollipop?

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There are multiple solutions which can be used here.

Disable or hide the app

If the device supports multi-user setup, you can can create a secondary user account for your son and put as much restrictions you want.

If you don't see Users under Settings app, your device officially doesn't support multi-user setup. See a bypass here: Multi-user option not avilable in Android one after Lollipop update

Anyhow,

  • Setup in PC, enable in device and plug the device into PC.
  • Create a new user from Settings -> Users and switch to it.
  • Go to Settings → Apps → All apps → find your app, tap and disable it.

If you think disabling may not be enough, simply make the app inaccessible to your son. Follow these steps:

  • We need to know the UserID of the secondary user we created. For that follow my answer at How to find out currently running user name/ID from ADB?. The UserID most likely would be 10.
  • We're going to hide any app whose usage you find questionable for your son. Execute

    adb shell pm hide --user UserID PACKAGE

    Replace UserId with current user ID you found and PACKAGE with package name of the app. For Google search app, it is com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox.

    Hiding here is akin to temporary removal of app, with the major difference that app is never removed from the system but only inaccessible to current user. You can always unhide the app by replacing hide with unhide in the said command.

You may be able to skip some steps by using Debloater app


Rely on automation

I'm not sure how your app blocker app really works. It should have no problem. Anyhow, you can use an automation app, such as Tasker to block usage of an app.

  • Profile: Applications → choose app(s)
  • Task : (Actions): you have range of options to choose.

    • You can send the kid back to home screen whenever app is launched.

      Action: App → Go Home

    • You can launch another app as an alternative.

      Action: App → Launch App

    • You can create a transparent scene with dimensions equivalent to screen and use it in overlay blocking mode. This would make screen not receive any input hence app would become useless for your son.

      Action: Scene → Show Scene

      Disable the scene whenever the app is closed or some app takes over, using an exit task.

      Action: Scene → Destroy Scene

      See my answer for more info at How to add screen filter with tasker?

    • If the Android is rooted:

      • you can force-stop your app

        Action: App → Kill App

      • you can implement previous section for your only user in order to hide or disable the app on-the-fly without the need of PC. You just would need a suitable trigger

Note: some of the actions mentioned for Tasker can be achieved using MacroDroid, AutoMagic, Automate and AutomateIt individually.

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