Android

How to uninstall stubborn Android apps

Jack Wallen shows you how to remove unwanted Android apps when the Uninstall button is grayed out.

Android device

Have you ever needed to uninstall an app from your Android device only to find, for some odd reason, that you can't? What gives? You installed the app from the Google Play Store, so the uninstall process should be a simple matter of going into Settings | Apps, locating the app, and tapping Uninstall. But sometimes, that Uninstall button is grayed out. You can't do anything with it.

Or can you?

Remember, this is Android, so there's always a way.

Here's the thing — sometimes an app requires what's called Device administrator privileges (on some devices, this will be called Phone administrators). If that's the case, you can't uninstall the app until you've removed those privileges. If you're unsure of what this is — the Device (or Phone) administrator system gives the installed app a bit more privilege than a normal app would have. Because of this added privilege, you must go through an extra step in order to remove said app. That step is quite simple if you know what you're looking for.

Let me show you how to take care of this.

If you open up Settings and go to Security, you should find (depending on your device) either Device administrators (such as on Motorola devices) or Phone administrators (such as on LG devices). Once inside that screen (Figure A), you should see a listing of apps that have been given administrator privileges.

Figure A

Figure A

The Verizon-branded LG G3 Phone administrators window.

In order to remove an app's privilege, tap to uncheck the app in question. You'll then be prompted to Deactivate the privileges (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

Deactivating Phone administrator privilege from Dodol Locker.

At this point, you should be able to go into Settings | Application manager (or Apps on some devices), locate and tap the app listing, and then tap Uninstall to remove the app.

You don't have to let app administrative privileges get in the way of removing those pesky apps you've tried and no longer want. Now, you know how to get around this issue.

Have you found an Android app that has caused you problems (either in the usage or the removal)? If so, let us know in the discussion thread below.

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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