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Dane Kouttron

Spring Cleaning- Phone edition:

I finally upgraded to a modern-ish phone, here's a quick guide to strip out the junk-ware that's installed in default builds on the Samsung S10e without needing root permissions or dubious 3rd party android apps.

[Ahem, this was mostly written so I remember how to do this the next time I lose my phone]
Android Debug Bridge System Updates Interim Review Conclusion Image Directory

Samsung S10e software removal (without root)

I picked the Samsung S10e [link] as an upgrade from the Samsung S8 active. Note this is the SM-G970F/DS model (global version) I have not tried the SM-G970U (US version). I chose this phone as it fit the bill for a few requirements:
  • A reasonable camera
  • Waterproof-ness [IP68]
  • >4gb of ram
  • Relatively reasonable price [used]
 I'd love to buy a Liberm phone, but they are a bit out of my price range. I was excited that Lineage is supported on the s10e, as trying out new, less crappy operating OS builds can be interesting. I think there's still a bit to be worked out for voice calling over 4G in Lineage OS land but otherwise its great to know there's another option going forward.

One interesting thing:

This phone is not mechanically ginormous. I tried out the Motorola 2021 and it was somewhat ludicrously large for normal pants pockets. It also had a fairly rough camera but that's beside the point.

Bundled in junk apps

By default, on a fresh factory reset, you get 'extra junk that Samsung probably gets compensated for installing'. These range from Facebook garbage-ware to Samsung dubious-ware [ahem, Bixby]. Whats incredibly frustrating is I doubt third parties are paying 'many dozens of dollars' per phone to have this bundled in, and I'd love the option of buying a vanilla android phone but that doesn't exist, so here we are. Its annoying that incredibly nice hardware is coupled with this excess. 'Dane why did you use a normal camera instead of screenshots?' grumble grumble its way easier to document things. I did find a great guide sof the S10 here [link] and I included some extra parts in the application remove list.

Cleanup process

This process is really straightforward, and is really three steps:
* Grab android DEV tools that exist for Windows / Mac / Linux) & Install on your laptop / desktop
* Wake up developer mode on your phone and permit USB debugging.
* Connect Phone to computer, issue ADB commands listed below
* That's it, applications are now removed.

Process for cleaning out everything that doesn't belong

Enable Developer Mode

Developer mode on android devices allows access to some information that is helpful in debugging or troubleshooting. In this case we're going to enable developer mode, and also enable USB Debugging. This is incredibly easy, goto:

  1. Settings > About phone > Software information
  2. Tap "Build number" ~10 times
  3. Congrats, developer mode is enabled
  4. Go to Settings -> Developer Options, and turn on "USB Debugging Mode"
  5. Allow USB Debugging

Keep the screen on

As a precaution I set the screen back-light timeout to be a while, this was nominally as I was concerned if the screen went to sleep it would interfere with ADB shell commands, which as it turns out didn't make a difference.  For reference this is listed under 'screen timeout' under display. There is also a mode in 'developer options' labeled "stay awake", this prevents the screen from sleeping while the phone is charging.

Step 1: Setup Android Device Bridge

  1. Grab Android Debug Bridge from google [zip link] [local copy]
  2. Make a folder at the base of your C: drive called adb
  3. unzip "platform-tools-latest-windows" to C:\adb
  4. That's it, you now have android debug bridge, there's nothing to install, you're executing it via cmd line

Step 2: Establish a connection to the phone

  1. With Android Debug Bridge installed, plug your phone in over USB.
  2. Open a command prompt \ powershell, then navigate to the ADB directory. If you have not done this in a while in windows land here's a quick refresher course:
  3. Make your way to C:\adb (the place you installed android debug bridge)
  4. Type in 'adb devices' This should list devices attached. If the device is listing as 'unauthorized' your phone is probably asking you if its OK to connect, you need to accept on the phone before the device is authorized. You can 'remove usb debug access' then re-allow it if the popup requesting permission does not appear
Windows Terminal

What it does
cd .. change down one directory
dir list things in the directory
cd /adb change into the directory titled adb

Step 3: Get ADB shell

  1. Type adb shell
  2. It is literally this easy, you now have shell access to issue commands to your phone.

Step 4: Issue commands to uninstall specific things

Now plug in the lines below, one at a time, to remove specific installed things. For convenience i broke it up by category. If you want to keep something just, don't remove it. Copy and paste each line and you should get a 'success' response back if the action completed. If you receive a 'Failure not installed', the item you're trying to remove was not there in the first place.

Bixby Related things
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
Facebook pm uninstall -k --user 0  com.facebook.katana
pm uninstall -k --user 0  com.facebook.system
pm uninstall -k --user 0  com.facebook.appmanager
pm uninstall -k --user 0
Samsung Email pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0  com.wsomacp
Samsung Browser pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
Random Gimmick Applications pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
Samsung Game Launcher pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0  com.enhance.gameservice
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
Samsung Kids pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
Samsung Gear VR
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0              
pm uninstall -k --user 0      
Samsung Pass & Samsung Pay pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0 <-- not installed
pm uninstall -k --user 0
Unnecessary Galaxy Store pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
Samsung Cloud pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.sec.enterprise.knox.cloudmdm.smdms
pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.ebay.carrier
Amazon pm uninstall -k --user 0
(This is the face scanner for face login)
pm uninstall -k --user 0
Random Junk pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0
pm uninstall -k --user 0

Step 5: That's it, your phone is now a happy camper again

This came in at about 2.3gb of ram running idle, which, is high but way less higher than the 3.7gb of ram it was previously idling at after a factory reset. I will say things are way more responsive. I also found that i could now uninstall two applications that i previously couldn't, "My O2" and "O2 Priority". I think these are carrier specific, but i'm not using O2 as a carrier so they are really not applicable.

Update time

So I completed all the above and lo, from the ether above, an update appears. Does a software update (security patches?) bring back the extra unwanted applications? Some quick digging online did not indicate it either way, so the only way to find out is to try. Note these details are only really applicable to this particular update, I'm certain that some further update could have extra application packages added in.

Update details online?

The details for updates are available here: [link]. This is, well dubious at best. The only thing that is visible is
"The security of your device has been improved"
There are no detailed change logs, or really anything. Amazing.


The Update Begins

After some time the phone begins updating, I got a little curious as it displayed "Optimizing app xx of 451" excuse me, what 451 applications??? While this seemed high, 'app' here is a blanket statement for anything executable that is touched by this update. I probably should have had the phone plugged in during update but the battery was relatively fully charged.

Post install updates

A while after the update completed, there's post-boot updates which take a few minutes. I inspected the installed applications, and impressively nothing changed. I suspect this is possibly some subsequent downloads or some other miscellaneous tasks. I guess we're good to go!
For reference the phone OS details are included below:
  • Android 11
  • Security patch level Dec 1 2021
  • Build #: RP1A.200720.012.G970F_11_0010

S10e review so far

Battery Life

The battery life has been somewhat middle of the road, while I get thru the day with somewhat reasonable usage (with power-saving settings on), it's definitely a phone that wants to be charged nightly.


Opencamera officially supports the two front-facing cameras, you can use either fairly easily. The high-speed video modes that the phone is capable of are only really accessible thru the Samsung Camera app. This hasn't really been a problem as the number of times I use that feature are relatively small.

Otherwise in Opencamera, the video format interestingly defaults to 1080p [1920x1080], but it does seem to support both 4k [3840x2160] and a real curious [2288x1080]. Also somewhat curiously the default frame rate is 30fps, but support is available up to 120fps. Generally 1080p x 30fps is a fairly good choice. Its unclear if image stabilization is only available at certain video resolutions, there doesn't seem to be a setting for it at the moment. There are some notes here [link] for an 'Enable Digital Video Stabilization', but for whatever reason that's not present for me.

Concluding Remarks:

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