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Recently, on my Moto G5 I was hit with a situation of Google Play updating an application that is not listed in the application list:

enter image description here

Situation on right screenshot remained only until given update process has completed. Right after that "Moto Actions" application appeared on the list.

Questions here:

  1. Why Google Play calls something "an update", if in facts it installs it for the first time?
  2. Disable button for this app is disabled. Can't disable or uninstall it. Any option to get rid of it?
  3. How can Google Play install anything on my device without asking me for a permission?
  4. How can Google Play install anything that I cannot uninstall?
  5. Are there any other app-examples of such behavior?

I thought that this is possible only for apps that are part of core system and that anything that is installed through Google Play can be uninstalled?

I purchased my Moto G5, after having Moto G4 earlier and after having Moto E3 even earlier. I was using all my phones because Moto offers "as close to pure Android as possible".

Every phone came with some annoying Moto-like stuff, but I was always able to uninstall or disable it. This is first example. Is this some kind of change in Motorola policy? Cause I find hard to believe that "Moto Actions" is so essential system app that user can't uninstall it and Motorola only forgot about it in system release and had to later install it through Google Play.

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    Do you have "Show system" enabled in Settings-Apps? It is disabled by default. Moto Actions is a system application by default (won't show in the list), but after it is updated it will be in the normal application list. – acejavelin Apr 24 '18 at 14:04
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Why Google Play calls something "an update", if in facts it installs it for the first time?

  1. Even if you think the app was not installed before it may be the case that the app was renamed. Therefore the app name is new, but the app itself was already installed.

Disable button for this app is disabled. Can't disable or uninstall it. Any option to get rid of it?

  1. Apps that can't be disabled are system apps. The manufacturer installed it and the app itself is system critical (based on the manufacturers opinion), therefore you can't disable it. With root permissions you may be able to delete the app, however most likely your system will not work correctly at some point (or at all) afterwards.

Regarding the Moto Actions I assume that Motorola uses it for defining tasks that trigger under certain conditions. As those settings are integrated into the OS the app is system critical and can't be deinstalled.

How can Google Play install anything on my device without asking me for a permission?

  1. The answer is more or less already included in 1. Most likely the app was already installed.

How can Google Play install anything that I cannot uninstall?

  1. System apps can be updated - you will see that in the app overfiew you have the option to uninstall the update (but not disable the app). In such a case the updated app is installed into the regular app space and the system app is ignored.

Are there any other app-examples of such behavior?

  1. On nearly every device there is at least one pre-installed manufacturer system app that can be updated via Play Store and that can't be disabled.

If you want a clean Android System you can unlock your device and install LineageOS or another AOSP based custom ROM. Lineage OS for example does not even include the PlayStore and the other Google apps (but you can install them if you want).

  • Thank you for a more comprehensive and professional answer than I could ever imagine. Even though I broke one of the key rules of posting here (one question = one post) you did manage to answer it all. Thanks! – trejder Apr 25 '18 at 5:19

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