Do you have apps on your Android phone that you want to get rid of for good? Maybe it‘s an app you tried and don‘t need anymore. Or it could be pre-installed bloatware you want to remove.
Whatever the reason, just tapping "Uninstall" doesn‘t permanently delete an Android app. For complete removal, including wiping the app from your Google Play history, additional steps need to be taken.
In this guide, I‘ll walk you through how to fully delete apps from an Android device step-by-step. By the end, you‘ll know how to remove all traces of an app for good!
Why You Should Delete Unused Apps
Before we dive in, let‘s discuss why you may want to permanently delete apps from your Android:
Save storage space – Removing unused apps frees up precious internal storage on your device. The average Android app is over 100MB according to Statista. Those megabytes add up quickly!
Improve performance – Having fewer active apps improves your phone‘s overall speed and responsiveness. Resources like RAM that were tied up can be freed.
Enhance security – Apps you no longer use have access to sensitive data like location, contacts, camera, etc. Deleting them reduces potential privacy risks.
Remove bloatware – Pre-installed apps from Android or your carrier eat up space without adding value. Completely removing them gives you control over your device.
Break app addiction – Deleting apps like games or social media can help reclaim time lost to mindless scrolling and refocus.
According to a Nokia study, the average person uses less than 30 apps per month on their phone. So all those extra apps are just taking up space!
Now let‘s get into the step-by-step guide for permanently removing apps on your Android.
Step 1: Uninstall the App
The first step is to uninstall the app from your home screen, which removes the primary components and deletes some data.
Here is how to uninstall an Android app:
Press and hold the app icon until a popup menu appears. On some Android devices, this may be a short press and hold instead of a long press.
In the menu that pops up, tap Uninstall. This is usually at the top of the menu.
Confirm that you want to uninstall the app when prompted.
Once the uninstall process finishes, the app icon will disappear from your home screen. Depending on the app, you may recover 5-200+ MB of storage, according to Norton.
However, data, cached files, and folders related to the app likely still remain on your Android device even after standard uninstallation. We‘ll cover how to delete those next.
Step 2: Delete Associated App Files and Folders
When apps are installed on your Android, they often create folders and store data in specific locations. Even after uninstalling, these files stick around taking up space.
Deleting associated folders and files is crucial for recovering the most storage and removing all app data from your phone. Here‘s how to do it:
Open the File Manager app on your Android. If you don‘t already have File Manager installed, download a file manager app from the Google Play Store.
Navigate to the following folders where app data is commonly stored:
- Android > Data
- Android > Obb
- SD Card > Android > Data
- SD Card > Android > Obb
Look for any folders with the app‘s package name (e.g. com.facebook.katana for Facebook) or named after the app itself. Delete any folders related to the uninstalled app.
Also delete any loose APK files, media files, or other data you know is associated with the removed app.
Be very careful not to delete folders for apps you still use – this could cause them to lose data or crash! Only remove files you know for certain belong to the uninstalled app.
If you aren‘t sure what files are associated with a particular app, search online to see if other Android users have identified the relevant folders and data files.
With all associated files removed, you‘ll recover the maximum amount of storage and eliminate any lingering app data left behind after uninstall.
Step 3: Clear App Cache in Storage Settings
Beyond folders and files, apps also store cached data from usage that builds up over time. Clearing cached data can recover additional storage space.
Here‘s how to wipe app cache on Android:
Go to Settings > Storage.
Tap the Apps button near the top to view apps storing cache data.
Tap the app you want to clear cache for, then tap Clear Cache.
Repeat for any other apps you want to clear cache data from.
This doesn‘t directly relate to deleting apps, but is good device maintenance after uninstalling large apps or games that may have built up substantial cache.
Now let‘s move on to the last step…
Step 4: Remove App from Your Google Play History
Even after uninstalling an app and deleting associated files, the app remains in your Google Play app history. Until removed, it can be reinstalled from your library.
Here is how to fully remove an app from your Google Play history:
Open the Play Store app, go to your account profile, and select Manage apps & devices.
Choose Manage from the menu, then select the Installed tab.
Check the box next to the app you want to remove. You may have to select Not installed first to see uninstalled apps.
Tap the trash can icon at the top to delete the selected app(s) from your library.
After following this process, the app will be completely removed from your Android device and disconnected from your Google account.
Alternative Methods for App Removal
Beyond the main steps outlined above, there are a few other options for deleting apps from your Android:
Use an uninstall tool app – Apps like Package Disabler Pro, 3C Toolbox, or Bouncer can help remove bloatware and system apps that are otherwise hidden.
Perform a factory reset – Resetting your phone through Recovery mode or Settings wipes all apps and data, restoring the device to factory conditions.
Clear all user data – If you added separate user profiles, deleting those user accounts also deletes their apps and files.
Gain root access – Rooting gives you administrator control over your Android, allowing you to fully delete system apps and bloatware. However, this complex process risks "bricking" your device if done improperly.
Uninstall over ADB – Using the Android Debug Bridge tool, you can remotely uninstall apps by connecting your phone to your computer. This is an advanced technique with some risks.
So in summary, the main steps involving standard uninstall, file deletion, and clearing Play history should cover most use cases for removing apps. But the above methods give you additional options if needed for special situations.
What To Do When You Can‘t Delete an App
On some Android devices, pre-installed apps from manufacturers or carriers cannot be completely uninstalled. These are often referred to as bloatware.
When you encounter apps that can‘t be deleted through normal means, here are some options:
Disable the app – Go to Settings > Apps, select the app, and tap Disable. This stops the app from running or showing up on your device without deleting it.
Clear app data – You can clear an app‘s cache and data to delete saved files and info. This won‘t remove the app but can free up storage space.
Hide the app – Use your Android settings or a third-party launcher to hide unwanted apps from your home screen and app drawer.
Unfortunately, without root access, completely removing pre-installed bloatware may not be possible. You‘ll have to settle for disabling and hiding these apps instead.
Proceed with caution if considering rooting your device solely for app removal, as there are risks involved like voiding your warranty or bricking your phone.
Let‘s Recap the Key Steps
To recap, here are the key steps to permanently delete an app from your Android:
Standard uninstall – Long press the app icon and select Uninstall to remove primary files.
Delete associated files/folders – Dig into your file manager and delete any data related to the app.
Clear app cache – Free up space by wiping cached data for uninstalled apps in Storage settings.
Remove from Play history – Delete the app from your Google Play library via Manage apps & devices.
Following this full process ensures no trace of the app remains on your device or cloud account!
I hope this guide gives you a better understanding of how to fully delete apps on your Android. While a standard uninstall takes care of some components, you need to dig deeper to remove all files, cached data, and Play history information.
By completely deleting unused or unwanted apps, you can free up storage space, speed up your phone, eliminate security risks, and generally improve your Android experience!
The key is being cautious about only removing files associated with the apps you want gone from your device. And don‘t hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions!