An Android 7 (Nougat) device that hadn't been used in a while (perhaps a few months) was recently turned on. That device has Nova Launcher Pro installed. It does not have external (microSD card) storage.

I noticed that one of the launcher's folders had a couple empty spots. I don't recall deleting any apps, nor any icons from the launcher's folders.

I don't remember exactly which apps were in those folders. I think one of the apps may have been a bubble level tool, but I'm not sure.

When Google Play Protect is disabled, I'm wondering if Google has the power (and legal authority, but that's a bigger question) to simply remove apps from Android devices if they deem those apps to be "bad". By "bad", I simply mean they contain crash too often, contain malware, violate user's privacy expectations, violate Google's Terms & Conditions, or something along those lines.

Note that all apps on that device were installed from Google's Play Store or from F-Droid (via it's primary repository). Google Play Protect was not enabled. Although Google does have a bad history of enabling functions/permissions that the user explicitly disabled, Google Play Protect does show itself as disabled on that device.

  • Have you ensured that you don't have these apps disabled?
    – Firelord
    Oct 27, 2022 at 5:40
  • @Firelord Yes, There are no newly disabled apps. Thanks for considering that possibility. Oct 27, 2022 at 10:34


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