When an app is uninstalled, is the data in its SharedPreferences database deleted?

If not, without a device being rooted, is there any way to clear that data? (Or at least view it?)

  • SharedPreferences is located in the data directory of the app which gets deleted during uninstallation. Do you have a case where it was not deleted by the system?
    – Firelord
    Jun 12, 2019 at 20:36
  • @Firelord I was reading up on Stack Overflow on how to make an app with a "trial period". One of the answers recommended writing data to SharedPreferences, because they claimed it can remain when an app is uninstalled. That doesn't match what I remembered, so I thought it best to ask. Jun 12, 2019 at 20:41
  • SharedPreferences are backed by Google if the app participates in the backup. It would be best if you clarify whether "they" assumed your app would be backed up.
    – Firelord
    Jun 13, 2019 at 5:58
  • @Firelord I don't back up anything to Google (well, not intentionally), so I'm looking up what you're referring to. I see a "Back up my data" option deep within Android Settings... is that it? Jun 13, 2019 at 6:34
  • 1
    If auto backup is the issue, then you can clear the app data after reinstalling to delete all the shared preferences.
    – Andrew T.
    Jun 14, 2019 at 10:03

2 Answers 2


SharedPreferences are actually saved in a file in the app private directory: /data/data/package_name/shared_prefs/somefilename.xml

When an app is installed this directory and file are automatically created. When an app is uninstalled this directory is deleted along with its parent /data/data/package_name UNLESS the app is uninstalled in order to update it. From command line this is done using the flag -k or -r that is

adb uninstall -k package_name - Keep the data and cache direct­ories around after removal

adb install -r package_name - Replace existing application (effectively reinstall an existing app, keeping its data)


SharedPreferences database always deleted when app is uninstalled. But when in the AndroidManifest.xml allowBackup is set true then data is not cleared even if application is uninstalled and re-installed.


So, always keep allowBackup to false when you don't want the data to be stored.

  • Thank you. What is the best way to keep allowBackup as false? Jun 14, 2019 at 6:35
  • 3
    @user298642 The allowBackup flag usually only affects the adb backup. Do you have a source that backs your answer?
    – Robert
    Jun 14, 2019 at 19:57

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