How to uninstall, disable and force stop an Android app?

  • Posted on: 11 July 2015
  • By: sasi

Too many apps on your Android device can cause shortage of storage, battery and processing power. Like any software, Android apps also freeze or hang, requiring a 'force stop'. It is better to uninstall or disable unused apps. This post shows you how to uninstall, disable and force stop Android apps. It also explains the difference between uninstalling and disabling.

Related: How To Bulk Uninstall Multiple Android Apps At Once?
Uninstall apps (only for apps that you have installed; not for pre-loaded apps):

  • Go to settings>>apps
  • uninstall android app

  • Choose the app that you want to uninstall
  • Tap the button 'uninstall'.

The app is now uninstalled.

Pre-loaded apps:
You cannot completely uninstall pre-loaded apps (i.e. apps that the manufacturer has installed in the device for you). You can either:
a) Uninstall all app updates received till date or
b) Disable the app

Uninstall app updates:

  • Go to settings>>apps
  • Choose a pre-loaded app
  • Tap 'Uninstall updates'.
  • Click 'ok' when asked for confirmation.
  • Click 'ok' when asked if you want the app to be reset to factory version.
  • All app updates will be uninstalled and restored to the factory version.

    Disable apps
    Disabling an app is not the same as uninstalling. See the section 'uninstalling vs disabling' later in this post. To disable an Android app:

    • Go to settings>>apps
    • Choose a pre-loaded app
    • Tap 'Disable'. Tap ok when asked for confirmation. Your app will be disabled.

    But what about the warning that disabling a built-in app may cause other apps to misbehave? Android may allow you to disable some of the built-in apps like 'google play services', 'play store' and 'clock' to be disabled. There could be other apps which need these apps to function. In such a case, those other apps may misbehave. But apps for social networking, news, shopping etc. do not generally have any impact on other apps. To the best of my knowledge, such apps can be disabled. Also note that you can always re-enable a disabled app.

    Uninstalling vs Disabling difference

    When you uninstall an app, all the data and app files are deleted from your device. No updates are received since the app does not exist on your device any more.

    When you disable an app, it stops receiving receiving updates and all the data is deleted. The app itself is not deleted and the app files continue to occupy storage space. Even though the files are not deleted, a disabled app will not work.

    How to re-enable a disabled app
    To re-enable a disabled app:

    • Go to settings>>apps
    • Slide the screen to the extreme right to reach the 'Disabled' tab.
    • Tap the app that you have previously disabled.
    • Tap 'Enable'

    Force stop an app

    Use 'Force Stop' if you want to stop an app from running because
    1) the app has freezed (hanged, unresponsive) or
    2) the app has no option to cancel current operation.

    This is similar to End Task in Windows, Force quit in Mac or End process in Linux.

    To force stop an app:

    • Go to settings>>apps
    • Choose the app to be force stopped
    • Tap 'Force stop'.
    • All the app's processes will be stopped. They will restart only if you open the app again or some other action triggers this app.