25

I come from a Windows background where anything you install-uninstall usually leaves traces which are sometimes hard to detect and remove.

Does the same happen when you remove Android apps? I know there is no registry in Linux/Android, but is there any place where traces can still remain?

I have seen some apps creating folders on the SD Card, but that's easy to spot and delete.

Thank you.

  • 3
    I've only seen cases where games/apps will download/store extra content on the SD card. The market keeps a psuedo-history of what you have recently downloaded/installed in the downloads tab. – Bryan Denny Dec 31 '10 at 16:29
17

On an unrooted phone, apps run as distinct users, and don't have access to any files created by other users or system files, i.e. they are 'sandboxed'. Since they can't make any such changes, I would say the only thing they can leave behind is a little detritus on your SD card.

On a rooted phone, an app which has been granted root access can do pretty much anything that is possible in the hardware. Apps that have root permissions can write on non-read-only storage media (including modifying the bootloader), modify other programs' private data, modify system settings, modify system files, etc. A rooted app can also hide itself from the system, and pretend to be uninstalled while being perfectly well and alive.

Basically, rooted apps can do anything that the hardware allows

Updated to include Lie Ryan's info on rooted apps.

  • 4
    Hmm, thanks Matt. Could you please give me a few examples of what kind of debris apps with root access can leave? As I said I am new to the non-Windows environment. – Francisc Jan 1 '11 at 12:27
  • 6
    @Francisc: apps with root access can do pretty much anything that is possible in the hardware. Apps that have root permissions can write on non-read-only storage media (including modifying the bootloader), modify other program's private data, modify system settings, modify system files, etc. Rooted apps can also hide itself from the system, and pretend to be uninstalled while being perfectly well and alive. Basically, rooted apps can do anything that the hardware allows. – Lie Ryan Jan 1 '11 at 15:45
  • 1
    @Lie - should I edit my answer to include your (very helpful) extra info about root apps? (Don't want to steal rep or anything) – Matt H Jan 1 '11 at 22:20
  • 1
    sure, I'd be happy if you do – Lie Ryan Jan 2 '11 at 8:22
  • Non Rooted Apps can also abuse their permissions. SD Card is an easy one, but you have other examples such as abusing contacts to put stuff there. So I feel like there are ways for apps to leave traces. – Didier A. Oct 29 '14 at 0:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.