Samsung Galaxy S4 mini — S4 Mini, minimize all those apps!

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  • Forum posts: 37

Dec 14, 2013, 7:37:09 PM via Website

I want to minimize the presence in my S4 Mini of all those apps that i currently do not want to use [and probably never will]. Under the App Manager menu, for each app, i see this set of options [Force stop, Uninstall updates, Disable, Show notifications] which looks perfect for my purpose [i would uncheck the last one]. However, the following message is displayed with the Disable choice ...

"If you disable a built-in app, this may cause problems with other apps."

I hate this kind of scare message. "They" do not say what kind of problems or what apps may be affected. I am paranoid enough to believe that there will really be no problems and that "they" put this in there just to frighten off noobies.

I expect that it is the same as on my Windows based PC, that there are DLLs etc that are shared, and if one of these is deleted other programs that share it will not work. I have been ignoring the equivalent message on my PC for decades with no problems and i suspect the same will result here. And if a problem with an app does arrive it will be a simple matter to download and re-install it, perhaps with the loss of some not-life-threatening personal data.

So what do you think? Any ideas, opinions, even actual experiences and facts! will be appreciated. Thank you,

— modified on Dec 14, 2013, 7:40:18 PM

  • Forum posts: 37

Dec 15, 2013, 12:31:23 PM via Website

I do not know what is the technical difference between Apps and Widgets, but i extend my question to both. Can i safely remove any of the Widgets?

  • Forum posts: 610

Dec 15, 2013, 1:01:38 PM via Website

Just use disable, force stop just stops it; you don't need to do that if you've disabled, obviously. Uninstall updates does what it says, takes the app back to the version it was when you purchased the phone. The main side effects are if you disable certain apps that are used for sign in details by other apps i.e. facebook/twitter/Google+, or disabling apps integral to android such as google search, dialler, keyboard, thus the warning...


  • Forum posts: 37

Dec 16, 2013, 12:14:28 AM via Website

Thank you


  • Forum posts: 37

Dec 17, 2013, 9:19:30 AM via Website

This is my plan ...

First i have discovered that the Widgets cannot be removed without rooting the device, except for the ones that i downloaded myself. So they are staying put.

For the Apps, I am going to go thru each of them. If i suspect that the App is "used for sign in details by other apps i.e. Facebook/Twitter/Google+, or ... integral to android such as google search, dialler, keyboard", i will leave it alone. Otherwise, for those that i expect to be not using i will uninstall the updates, clear the data and cache, and disable the app.

Then i will check to see if this process has caused problems for important apps by running those apps - cellphone account, banking, e-mail, weather, software update, internet, and downloads. If there is a problem i will re-enable and update the app [and hope!].

This should minimize their footprints in my phone memory, which is what i want to be able to do.

  • Forum posts: 610

Dec 17, 2013, 9:57:02 AM via Website

That's the beauty of the disable option, you can test which apps are really necessary before actually uninstalling them. If you're using the stock launcher then invariably there'll be a social media plug-in that will be borked if you remove twitter/facebook, even if you don't use them.


  • Forum posts: 37

Dec 17, 2013, 3:30:47 PM via Website

Thank you!

So far i have disabled these ... ChatOn, DropBox, HangOuts, TripAdvisor. No probs so far. I'll keep this thread posted as i go along with this.

EDIT: Disabled SamSung Link and SamSung Hub. OK.

— modified on Dec 18, 2013, 4:39:03 AM


  • Forum posts: 37

Dec 19, 2013, 5:49:25 PM via Website

Minimizing the App footprints, what i have been doing so far ...

This is not all done yet. I have more to learn. Any comments etc will be greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, i have not kept track of the amount of memory recovered. But for me that is not the main point. I want to learn the tech details of my device, and this process is accomplishing that.

[1] I have disabled and cleared data for these 13 Apps with no issues ...
Chaton, Dropbox, Flipboard, Hangouts, Tripadvisor,
Samsung [Link, Hub, and Books],
Google Play [Books, Games, Newsstand, Movies, and Music]

[2] I found an App that i think is very good for cleanup: CleanMaster and the 1-Tap Boost that it spawns, on Google Play, in the free utilities section. Anyone else use this or a similar app? What do you think?

[3] The following i expect to not use, are not in the App Manager, AND can be neither disabled nor uninstalled. I expect to hide these. Comments? ...
Group Play, [Google] Photos, [Google maps] Navigation,
[Google Maps] Local, Google Play Magazines, Story Album, Watchon,
S Memo, S Translator, S Voice, Voice Recorder, Voice Search

[4] I expect i should keep any in the App Manager list with the word "Services" in the name, altho i doubt that i would need either of the print services. Comments? ...
Google Play Services
HP Print Service Plug-in
Samsung Print Service
Samsung Push Service

[5] There is a list of App's that i expect to keep because i will be using them ...
calculator, camera, contacts, Rogers App Zone,
downloads, e-mail, gallery, 100% Games,
Help, internet, messaging, music, my files, phone,
[Google] Play Store, QuickPic, Samsung Apps,
YouTube, Google Settings

I am not at all into computer games, but i am keeping 100% Games in case there is a Saturday nite with nothing to do, bored out of my gourd, almost crazy. The Samsung Apps Free Utilities section may contain some useful apps. I am keeping Google Settings only in case some other app may need it.

[6] These that i do not expect to use, and that can be neither disabled nor uninstalled, i will hide ...
chrome, Google, Google+,
Samsung [account, InApp purchase, print service, push service, and Hub Updater]

[7] I am using some Widgets ...
Software Update, Google Search transparent version, Active Apps, Alarm

[8] I am uncertain about these voice apps, S Voice, Voice Recorder, Voice Search, and Google Text to Speach. Has anyone found these to be useful? Since they cannot be disabled i expect to hide them.

[9] I tried unsuccessfully to use "S Planner". I set in an event, requested 1 day notice by e-mail, no e-mail arrived. Tried again, same result. I do need a small, simple app for event/appointment reminders. Any suggestions appreciated, on either how to use this one or an alternative.

[10] I found a micro SDHC card on sale at BestBuy, 16 Gb, so bought it and installed it. So cheap i do not remember; about $16.00 i think [a buck a gigabyte]. I do not need it but there it is. Backed up the contact list onto it. And this phone will take 64 Gb! I'm an old computer bum from the '60s. Back then i programmed a 32K IBM 7040 and a 4K PDP-8 [that's K = 1024], the latter with a 10 CPS [Characters/bytes Per Second] paper tape reader for input, that cost tens of thousands of dollars and occupied full sized rooms - just like in the old science fiction movies from the '50s. Hard to believe this new stuff. So anyway, now i know how that works.

Let us know what you think.

  • Forum posts: 610

Dec 19, 2013, 7:14:31 PM via Website

I still have flashbacks about Cobol compilers and being able to talk in hex/machine code, don't worry...
I can't advise you about using s planner, I've never owned a samsung android device, but the google/samsung apps you mention can be disabled/uninstalled, the most effective tool is probably titanium backup if you are rooted (without rooting, any system apps cannot be uninstalled or frozen and you are therefore stuck with them), though Google play services is fairly important if you want to install/update apps via the market, or use Google calendar or the search function, as it's now firmly intertwined in the 'Google experience'. As you say, if you don't use or logon to Google+, Chrome, Google and Sammy services etc. they'll remain fairly inactive(ish) and won't use memory/resources/bandwidth.
I've never used the voice/speech functions of any app as I'm just a bit too self-concious to speak at my phone but I'm sure there are many who use it as it seems to be a huge selling point for both Apple and android.


  • Forum posts: 37

Dec 22, 2013, 1:55:47 PM via Website

We have a series of license plates here that start with BDFH followed by 4 decimal digits. I see them from time to time and think it is a cool hexadecimal number with the top three odd hex digits. It just never goes away, eh.

I am actually afraid of the Google experience. It just seems to want too much of me. Would be OK i guess for people who are into the social network as the driving force or at least as a centerpiece of their life.

  • Forum posts: 37

Dec 25, 2013, 2:33:03 AM via Website

Further along with Apps disable ...

It is not possible to disable or uninstall any Widgets except for the ones you download yourself. The builtin widgets can be affected only by rooting the device.

Uninstalling a Widget that is an offspring of a main widget causes the parent widget and all of its child widgets to be uninstalled.

None of the builtin Apps can be disabled or uninstalled except by rooting the device. Only the ones listed in the App Manager can be disabled.

I hid the Apps that i cannot remove and do not want to see. Too bad this option is not available for the Widgets.

I uninstalled these Apps with no bad consequences, in addition to one ones listed in my previous post ...
  1. HP Print Service Plugin
  2. Google+
  3. Samsung Hub Updater
  4. Samsung In-app Purchase
The In-app Purchase got re-installed with no notification, probably when i downloaded a free app.

FYI ...

I downloaded these free Apps because they may be useful, or at least interesting, to me ...
  • The Weather Network
  • QuickPic
  • Wi-Fi Analyzer
  • BMO Mobile Banking
  • Clean Master
  • TapaTalk
  • QR Code Reader
  • Barcode Scanner
The Apps list is, to me, much neater with the Alphabetical List view type. Too bad it does not allow the same format for the Widgets - they occupy 9 screens compared to 1 or 2 for the Apps.

I have the device set up now the way i want it - the important stuff on the home screen with one additional screen to each of the left and right.

I really like the Clean Master and its child the 1 Tap Boost. I like also the Active Apps app for removing the active&unused from memory.

Well i think i am now done with this project. I really like this device a lot. It is a phone and camera, and allows useful internet access and other things.

I especially like that there are some very good apps among the free ones [ya hafta look carefully], and that the internet access can all be done, basically for free, at home or wherever else there is available Wi-Fi :)


— modified on Dec 25, 2013, 4:21:42 PM

  • Forum posts: 610

Dec 25, 2013, 2:12:30 PM via Website

Yep, without rooting you can't remove any stock apps/widgets, and some cannot be disabled. You could make a script to remove system apps that you can flash via recovery, it would be along the lines of this:
1ui_print(“Useless stuff cleaning start”);
2ui_print(” “);
3ui_print(“Partitions mount”);
4#Properly unmounting to avoid issues
5run_program(“/sbin/busybox”, “umount”, “/system”);
6run_program(“/sbin/busybox”, “umount”, “/cache”);
7run_program(“/sbin/busybox”, “umount”, “/data”);
8#Then mounting
9run_program(“/sbin/busybox”, “mount”, “/system”);
10run_program(“/sbin/busybox”, “mount”, “/cache”);
11run_program(“/sbin/busybox”, “mount”, “/data”);
12ui_print(” “);
13ui_print(“Useless system app removal”);
30ui_print(” “);
31ui_print(“Unmounting partitions”);
32run_program(“/sbin/busybox”, “umount”, “/system”);
33run_program(“/sbin/busybox”, “umount”, “/cache”);
34run_program(“/sbin/busybox”, “umount”, “/data”);
35ui_print(” “);
(these are example apps from a Galaxy Y, it needs to be of a script format. You can find the full instructions in this thread on XDA if you want to try.
If you use an alternative launcher then you'll probably get an alternative widget picker as well as more homescreen/theming options. Though, once again, you can't remove the stock launcher and it'll run in the background. Mainly due to stock bloatware I've rooted all my previous androids from my X10 running android 1.6 to my current Nexus 5 running 4.4.2 but it's not for everyone.
There are some really good app aggregators on the playstore which will recommend apps based on your input. Personally I use Fetch, Playboard and swably as well as here, obviously...
Anyway, Merry Christmas Mick ;)


  • Forum posts: 37

Dec 25, 2013, 4:19:26 PM via Website

Thank you! for the neat Christmas present. I have been away from Unix and code for too many years [decades?] so i think i will leave this alone and just use my device as a user.


  • Forum posts: 37

Feb 28, 2014, 3:10:27 PM via Website

Still moving along with this project of Disabling as many Apps as i can. So far i have Disabled about 51 of them. Here is a link to an album on my Picasaweb. It contains 39 images, of the All Apps list from my Samsung Galaxy S4 mini SGH-I257M, obtained with [Settings | More | Application manager | All].

I have had the device for 3 months so this is not the stock list, but the phone is not rooted. The last 8 images show the 51 Apps that i have already Disabled with [Settings | More | Application manager | All | tap name of app | Disable]. I will be going thru the list in these images and disabling as many more apps as i can ...

This Disable option is semi-permanent. They stay disabled thru power off/on including battery remove/re-install. Each can be re-enabled by [Settings | More | Application manager | All | tap name of app | Enable]

So far, in addition to those already Disabled, i am considering Disabling each of the following. If i am on the verge of a disaster with any of these please let me know. I'll post my results in this thread ...

Basic Daydreams
Best Face
Face Unlock
Mobile Print
Mobile Print Svc_CUPS
Mobile Print Svc_CUPS_..

There may be more possibilities that i have missed. I will go thru the list again after i explore this list and post the results here.

TIA for any comments,


— modified on Feb 28, 2014, 3:12:05 PM

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