Yes, they achieve the same thing. Not only the app would not be available in the app drawer but the app cannot be launched using
am start too. The only difference is that default mechanism allows you to disable specific pre-installed apps while Titanium Backup would allow you to disable any app.
For Android version like 4.2.1, when you disable a pre-installed app from Android "Settings", this line would show up in
<pkg name="PKG_NAME" enabled="3" />
For Android 4.4 or 5.x, it would be:
<pkg name="PKG_NAME" enabled="3" enabledCaller="com.android.settings" />
PKG_NAME → package name of an app, such as for Calculator it is
However, when you disable aka freeze an app using Titanium Backup, the
enabledCaller gets the value
<pkg name="PKG_NAME" enabled="3" enabledCaller="shell:0" />
In both the cases, if the app is a pre-installed app then it would only show "Enable" option under Settings → Apps → your_app.
If it is a user installed app then Android would not show "Enable" option but the app would still be labelled "Disabled".
(Click image to enlarge)
pm is different
pm disable PKG_NAME also disables an app but the app then wouldn't be visible even under Settings → Apps.
Also, when you disable an app using
pm disable a different value for
enabled is recorded.
For Android 4.2.1:
<pkg name="PKG_NAME" enabled="2" />
For Android 4.4 and 5.x:
<pkg name="PKG_NAME" enabled="2" enabledCaller="shell:0" />
You can disable any app using
pm provided that you've root access.