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On a non-rooted Android 5.1 phone, is there a way to "freeze" an applications, settings, and data?

I don't want to uninstall or need to consistently kill a process. I would like to archive an application, and when I need it, take a brief moment to "thaw" it, use it, and freeze again when done.

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  • Is your device rooted? – Izzy Mar 9 '17 at 22:07
  • No. I'd prefer not to root it. This is my main phone and my primary 2FA device. – Rick Mar 9 '17 at 22:17
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    And the apps you want to "freeze" are pre-installed ones, or user-installed? In the latter case, "hibernating" them would be sufficient? – Izzy Mar 9 '17 at 22:49
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    You could use the command-line solution. adb shell pm hide package will do, where package is package name of the app. – Firelord Mar 10 '17 at 7:59
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    If the app can be backuped you can create a backup of the apk+data via adb: adb backup -f mybackup.ab -apk <packagename of app>. When you need the app again you can restore the mybackup.ab file. This works on non-rooted phones. – Robert Mar 10 '17 at 13:56
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You shoud try a software developped by gatesjunior, a Recognized Developer at XDA-Developers. I doesn't require root for hiding/blocking apps.

  • Download debloater.exe here (mirror) for Windows (May require .Net Framework 3.5 or higher). Download dmg file for OSX here
  • Enable USB debugging on the phone
  • Connect the phone to the computer (Should install drivers to get the phone detected)
  • Run debloater, clikc on "Click here togin"- should list all installed apps. Just check the check-mark related to the apps you want to hide/disable then click the first icon in the top left.

enter image description here

I found the complete link on how to use the software, check it out here

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  • Another great suggestion. Upvote. For my situation though, I run linux everywhere, and haven't had great experiences with Android tools over Wine. Still holding old for the unicorn of non-rooted and on the phone. But again, many thanks. – Rick Mar 20 '17 at 20:28
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If you have ADB enabled on your device and the app allows to backup it's data you can use the connected PC to backup the app data and the app APK file using the adb backup command:

adb backup -f mybackup.ab -apk <packagename of app>

When you need the app again you can restore the mybackup.ab file. This works on non-rooted phones.

Note: If the app denies backup the backup will not fail, the data wil be just empty. Therefore It may be wise to execute the adb backup command first without the apk option. If the created backup file has a size of more than a few bytes most likely the app allows data backup.

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  • Still hoping for an on-the-device answer, but this is definitively a runner-up. Thanks. Up vote. – Rick Mar 10 '17 at 21:18
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    Important note: This doesn't work for all apps. If you end up with a 0 or 41 byte file, the app in question has blocked itself from being backed up (ALLOW_BACKUP=FALSE). // And btw: the on-device-variant of Robert's advice is Helium Backup :) – Izzy Mar 10 '17 at 22:06
  • @Izzy - That might be the correct answer. Would you mind creating an entry for it. Testing this soon. – Rick Mar 20 '17 at 20:32
  • @Richard done, with additional instructions. Enjoy! – Izzy Mar 20 '17 at 20:45
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As your targets are "downloaded apps" you've installed yourself, I'd suggest you take a look at Greenify:

Greenify Greenify
Greenify (source: Google Play; click images for larger variants)

Greenify help you identify and put the misbehaving apps into hibernation when you are not using them, to stop them from lagging your device and leeching the battery, in a unique way! They can do nothing without explicit launch by you or other apps, while still preserving full functionality when running in foreground, similar to iOS apps!

Once you've defined the apps to deal with, you're done: use them as you always do, no manually handling required. Greenify takes care that those apps are not running when you're not using them.

Greenify works even without root, though not all of its features will be available then. It unleashes its full power, though, only on rooted devices having the XPosed framework installed: Then you can also deal with system apps.

For further details, also see:

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As a variant to Robert's answer, but working on-device: Helium Backup does ADB backups directly there. If your device is not rooted, it will however need to be initialized via its desktop component after each boot.

Helium Helium Helium
Helium (source: Google Play; click images for larger variants)

Other than with my other approach, you'd need multiple steps here to "freeze" it:

  1. backup the app using Helium
  2. uninstall the app (e.g. via *Settings › Apps)

However, "unfreezing" would just mean to restore it.

As I commented on Robert's answer: before deleting the app, make sure a proper backup was achieved. Developers can chose to have their apps opt-out of this, setting ALLOW_BACKUP=FALSE. In this case, one usually ends up with a 41 byte file (just containing the "backup header", but neither app nor data). Also make sure to tick the box for inclusion of the .apk file (see second screenshot), or you might have another surprise :)

Side-effect: As the 3rd screenshot shows, you can use Helium also to create regular backups on a schedule. Can't hurt :)


In case you wonder about the app being named "Carbon" in the screenshot: that was its former name, Koush obviously didn't remove it there.

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