I recently tried to disable bloatware in my cheap Vivo and Oppo smartphones. These apps named Themes, Game Center, etc. keep giving me notifications that can't be disabled through the UI. The notification settings are on by default and greyed out (can't be changed).

Edit: Digital Wellbeing's Focus Mode and Dashboard (0 allowed minute) can mostly suppress the notifications with some weird effects, because these bloatwares are considered as the "default applications" for things you do with the phone. For example, opening play store links by default opens these manufacturers' own app marketplace. Even though Google's Play Store is installed. Another example, trying to interact with files, images will trigger these manufacturers' built-in file managers and gallery, even though alternatives are installed. Of course these attempts failed, because the 0 minute restriction from Digital Wellbeing. Making you unable to do what you meant to do. Btw disabling their ability to open the relevant links under Default Applications doesn't work. Simply awful.

Using ADB, I tried the usually recommended commands such as pm disable-user --user 0 com.bbk.theme and got hit with:

Exception occurred while executing 'disable-user':
java.lang.SecurityException: Cannot disable com.bbk.theme no root permission

I was confused, and googled the issue. Based on XDA and Reddit threads I read, the claim that ADB being able to disable/uninstall everything without root is a myth. Although I found different errors such as




For certain apps, manufacturers have disabled this method and several other workarounds. Like the workarounds mentioned in https://stackoverflow.com/questions/72006988/pm-uninstall-k-user-0-failure-delete-failed-user-restricted . None of them works anymore, even the freezing/ignore RUN_IN_BACKGROUND one.

So I wonder, why can't I uninstall/disable all bloatware through ADB without root, even though most people online keep insisting that this works? For example, on threads about Canta/Shizuku, which is yet another workaround when ADB commands don't work. This method btw doesn't work for my phones. Canta says they are uninstalled (and installed at the same time). But Themes, etc. still show up in the phone.

Some of my guesses for the reason:

  1. The method still works with popular brands like Samsung. I haven't tried doing this with Samsung though.

  2. Only the cheaper models have this issue. Because these bloatwares offset a lot of the manufacturing costs.

  3. Regional difference. Perhaps some laws like EU's DMA prevent this issue.

  4. The method still works on some bloatware. So people just assume it works for everything.

  5. The internet commenters have older phones. Perhaps the manufacturers didn't disable this method back then.

Perhaps someone more knowledgeable knows the actual answer.

  • I hope this won't be too upsetting for you, but some people actually have beliefs about all sorts of things that are objectively wrong, and are unwilling to admit this. Commented Apr 13 at 9:15
  • 2
    Manufacturer can modify Android, so if they want to make certain app package uninstallable they can. On most Android devices pm disable-user --user 0 <packagename> works.
    – Robert
    Commented Apr 13 at 9:41
  • Thanks for the comments, guys. I'll just say this, these Chinese brands have pretty big market share in some countries including mine. And online and offline, concerns about these brands' bloatware are always dismissed with "just use ADB to uninstall them". Felt like I fell for a marketing scheme.
    – dictum
    Commented Apr 13 at 11:24
  • FWIW, 1 & 5 are universally correct since manufacturers do customize their Android, even for different models/firmware updates under the same manufacturer. 2 is very hard to prove. 3 & 4 maybe. And this applies to most things on Android, like bootloader unlock. Creating a database for every possible combination to document every feature will be a heroic effort.
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Apr 15 at 15:45
  • However, there is a potential problem with the title since we can't really guess people's minds, so I reworded the title to make it acceptable on here. That said, as I've mentioned above, your guesses (and @Robert 's comment) are the answers to this question, so feel free to post them as an answer (preferably with references to back them up). I hope you understand.
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Apr 15 at 16:01


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