Step-by-step guide showing how to remove stubborn Android apps not uninstalling

How to uninstall apps on Android that won’t uninstall?

  Reading time 11 minutes

Uninstalling unwanted apps from android devices is crucial for maintaining smooth performance and decluttering your interface; however, certain apps might stubbornly resist your efforts to remove them. While most applications can easily be uninstalled from Android phones, you might encounter situations where the ‘uninstall button’ is greyed out, or the app does not seem to acknowledge your attempts to remove it. This article delves into the reasons why apps on your Android might not uninstall and provides an array of methods to overcome this nuisance.

Reasons Why Some Apps Won’t Uninstall

Apps that could not be uninstalled are typically those that have more significant system access or those that have unfortunately been designed with the intent to be difficult to remove. Here’s a breakdown of the common culprits:

  1. Pre-installed Apps (Bloatware): Many android phones come with pre-installed third-party apps by the manufacturer or the carrier that you might not want. These can take up valuable space and resources but are often protected from uninstallation to ensure they remain on the device.
  2. System Apps: Forming the backbone of your device’s operating system, system apps perform essential functions. While you might not see their immediate utility, doing so could destabilize your Android’s ecosystem.
  3. Malware and Rogue Applications: These apps often disguise themselves as legitimate software, but in reality, they shield themselves from deletion through administrative privileges or by embedding themselves deep in the system.

When trying to uninstall these types of apps, you will see that the standard methods don’t always work. You might need to take additional actions to rid your device of these pesky programs successfully.

Expert technician demonstrating force uninstall of unremovable Android apps.

Standard Methods to Uninstall Apps

  1. Using the Application Manager:
    • Navigate to ‘Settings’ and then tapping ‘Apps’ or ‘Application Manager’ will see a list of all the installed apps.
    • If the app is not running, you might be able to uninstall it easily by selecting it and then tapping the ‘Uninstall’ button.
    • However, for some apps, particularly system apps, you won’t see the ‘Uninstall’ option, but only a ‘Disable’ button.
  2. Uninstalling from Google Play Store:
    • Open the Google Play Store app and tap on ‘My apps & games’.
    • Under the ‘Installed’ tab, locate the app you can’t uninstall.
    • Tap on the app, which will allow you to open its specific info page, where you might see the option to ‘Uninstall.’
  3. Using Settings to Uninstall:
    • Access ‘Settings’ on your Android device.
    • Scroll down and tap ‘Apps’ or ‘Apps & notifications’, and then find the app you want to remove.
    • First, ensure the app is not set as a device administrator, which might not allow it to be uninstalled.
    • Then, attempt the uninstall by tapping the appropriate option.

Even though these steps are straightforward, they might not always yield success for stubborn apps. This calls for more advanced tactics that could involve diving deeper into your device’s administrative settings.

Advanced Methods for Stubborn Apps

MethodDescriptionHow to Execute
Safe ModeTemporal deactivation of all third-party apps.Hold down the power button, then long-press the ‘Power off’ option to reboot in Safe Mode.
ADB (Android Debug Bridge)A command-line utility for communicating with an Android device connected to a computer.Install ADB on your computer, connect your device, and use specific commands to uninstall.
Third-Party Uninstaller AppsApplications designed to help with the removal of persistent apps that won’t uninstall.Download a trustworthy uninstaller from the Play Store and use it to target the stubborn app.

Sometimes, when troubleshooting, you will see that even these methodologies might not suffice. In those instances, it’s important to be aware that you could also resort to factory resets or — for the tech-savvy and adventurous — explore rooting your device, although these maneuvers carry considerable risks and may void warranties.

Tutorial screen on Android for uninstalling persistent apps that won't delete

Special Considerations

Despite the numerous tools and procedures at your disposal, there are always some points to bear in mind:

  • Ensuring Data Backup – Before embarking on any method that might result in data loss, such as a factory reset, always back up your valuable information.
  • Understanding the Impact of Rooting – While rooting your device might offer a path to uninstalling any app, it is essential to comprehend the ramifications of doing so, including increased vulnerability to security risks.
  • Device Stability – Always proceed with caution and be mindful of the potential adverse effects on device stability when removing necessary system apps.

Regular app maintenance is key to a healthy Android experience. Always review app permissions, stay on top of updates, and periodically audit your installed applications to avoid the accumulation of unwanted apps. Now let’s transition to the next steps in resolving the uninstallation dilemma.

Maintaining a Healthy App Ecosystem

Achieving and maintaining a healthy app ecosystem on your android devices is key to ensuring longevity and optimal performance of your Android phone. This not only means being vigilant when downloading new applications but also keeping an eye on existing apps and how they’re behaving.

Regular monitoring of app permissions can provide insight into which apps might potentially overstep their boundaries by accessing unnecessary data or system features. For instance, a flashlight app that requests access to your contact list is a red flag and likely indicative of unwanted behavior. Moreover, ensuring that your apps are regularly updated is crucial since updates often contain security patches and bug fixes that protect against vulnerabilities.

Another practice is the regular auditing of installed applications. Sifting through your app drawer might reveal apps that are seldom used or have been forgotten. These are prime candidates for uninstallation since they take up space and could potentially be running background processes that slow down your device.

To maintain a smooth-running Android experience:

  1. Regularly check app permissions to ensure your personal data remains secure.
  2. Update your apps as soon as updates become available to minimize the risk of security issues.
Error message on Android device when attempting to uninstall non-removable apps


Uninstalling apps on Android should be a simple task, but when it comes to persistent apps that won’t uninstall, the situation can become a little more complex. Whether you’re dealing with bloatware, system applications, or malicious software, understanding why certain apps might not uninstall can empower you to use the correct methods to remove them.

We have explored both standard and advanced techniques, including using Safe Mode, ADB, or third-party uninstallers to assist in removing problematic apps. The importance of backing up data, understanding the risks of rooting, and maintaining a well-managed app ecosystem have been duly stressed.

Dealing with stubborn apps is an unfortunate part of the Android experience for many users, but with the guidance provided in this article, the process should be less daunting. By taking the proactive steps suggested, you can ensure that your Android device remains uncluttered and performs at its best.


  1. What is bloatware and why is it hard to uninstall? Bloatware refers to unwanted software that comes pre-installed on a device. It’s often included by the manufacturer or carrier to provide additional functionality or services. Unfortunately, it’s hard to uninstall because it’s typically integrated into the device’s firmware or has been intentionally protected to prevent removal by the user.
  2. How does Safe Mode help in uninstalling apps? Safe Mode is a diagnostic mode that starts your Android device with the default settings and no third-party apps running. By doing so, it allows you to identify and remove apps that might be causing issues or that can’t be uninstalled while they are active. It’s a handy tool for troubleshooting without interference from other apps.
  3. Is using ADB to uninstall apps safe for my device? Using ADB, or Android Debug Bridge, is considered safe for your device if executed correctly. It’s a powerful tool intended for developers and advanced users. However, if misused, it can potentially cause system instability or remove critical components. Always ensure you follow the correct commands and understand their functions when using ADB.
  4. Can uninstalling system apps harm my device? Yes, uninstalling system apps can potentially harm your device. System apps are integral to the functioning of the Android system, and removing them may cause critical processes to fail, leading to instability or even preventing the device from booting up correctly. Only remove system apps if you are certain they’re not essential or if you’re prepared to handle potential consequences.
  5. What should I do if none of the methods work? If none of the standard or advanced methods work to uninstall an app, you may consider performing a factory reset. This should be considered a last resort as it will erase all data on your device. Before doing so, ensure you back up all important information. If a factory reset is not an option, seeking professional assistance or contacting your device manufacturer for support might be advisable.