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I have built AOSP for the kiddo's phone. My goal was to remove the Play Store so that he can't install games or other apps.

However, we use Google Fi for our phone service, which requires Google Play services to function. That alone isn't a big deal using Open Gapps. However, I would like to remove the Play Store, but keep Google play services so that the Fi app can be used.

From what I can tell, Play Store and Play Services seem to be married (i.e., removing Phonesky.apk with Titanium Backup removes both the Play Store and Play Services).

Is there any way that I can remove the Play Store, but keep access to Play Services so that the phone can still register through Google Fi?

Note: this is on a rooted Pixel 1. AOSP is not a strict requirement, just something I was trying to use to solve my problem. If it can be done on, i.e., the stock ROM that'd be great too.

Note 2: I realize the Play Store can be disabled in the apps settings, but this kid is smart enough to figure that one out. I also tried hiding it in Nova Launcher Prime, but it still shows up in search results within the launcher.

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For my purpose, the following works in adb shell (as root):

pm disable com.android.vending

Of course, now I need to figure out a way to make this persist over a factory reset...

  • It's equivalent to Disable app from app settings. You can't make it persistent across factory resets. It's just a configuration written in /data/system/users/0/package-restrictions.xml which is wiped on factory reset. – Irfan Latif Apr 2 at 21:33
  • Yeah, I figured this out in some further research. But, oddly enough it actually doesn't entirely even persist through a reboot. Initially, it will be disabled, but within a minute it magically reappears. I guess that Play Services is forcing it to re-enable a short time after login. Even setting enabled="2" (DISABLED rather than USER_DISABLED) doesn't keep it from getting re-enabled. – Chuck R Apr 6 at 6:16
  • It's also unfortunate that there is no system-level package-restrictions.xml that can be used as an inherited default. I also considered making him a second account on the phone while I kept admin permissions (and my Google account) but in order to unlock the phone on reboot you need the admin PIN. – Chuck R Apr 6 at 6:22
  • You can't fully disable Play Store. Play Services make use of many activities from Play Store app even when it's disabled. Uninstall it if you don't really need it. See this: android.stackexchange.com/a/209870/218526 – Irfan Latif Apr 6 at 11:18
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On the LeEco Le Max2 with LineageOS 16, I am the admin and my child is user 10. pm disable com.android.vending did not work, but
pm disable --user 10 com.android.vending has the effect that the Play store disappears. At least the icon, not sure if it is possible to get it back. Google Play Music works, so my child can hear music but not install apps.

  • Replace disable with enable in your command to restore the Play Store app, whenever needed. – Firelord Apr 11 at 6:19

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