Since its inception, uninstalling an app on Android has been a painless operation, with no strings attached. All you had to do was click the ‘ Uninstall ‘button, and the program — alongside its data and cache — ceased to exist. There was no way you could restore app info, and you needed a reinstall to do it all over again. Although for most people this “full” removal wasn’t too big a issue, some wanted a way to save user data before the app went away for good — just like Windows offers while uninstalling an application.
With Android 10, Google finally introduced the understated feature, finally allowing users to keep their data before uninstalling. Today we’ll cover everything related to it.
How to delete an application but keep its data on Android 10?
No extra steps are involved here and any Android 10 user should be able to achieve the desired results by following the above steps. First, go to Settings, and tap ‘Games.’ Then you’d see the ‘Uninstall’ button at the bottom of the page. Tap it, and you’d see a popup that lets you uninstall an app but ‘Keep xxx MB of app info.’ Mark the checkbox, and hit ‘Ok.’ the app would be uninstalled, but the data would be safely kept.
What happens when you keep app data but uninstall an app?
You ‘d be setting up yourself for a smoother experience when you reinstall the app when you deinstall an app, but keep the system details. For example, if you choose to save a game’s app data, you will effectively keep your games saved. Next time, the game will load your previous save game when you reinstall the program, instead of asking you to start again from the start.
Why are you not getting the option to save app data when uninstalling?
Well, here are some reasons for that.
Your Android OS isn’t supported
This feature is currently only available for Android 10 systems, as mentioned in the section above. So, unless you’re running Android’s latest update, you won’t have the option to uninstall an file, just keep the game saved. Android Pie or older framework did not allow developers to cook in the feature which forced users to give up their precious save games and start the next time from scratch.
The app doesn’t support the function
Even if you’re running Android 10, you may experience situations where the app you ‘re trying to uninstall doesn’t offer you the choice to retain data from the system. In such instances, you will just have to conclude that the app’s creators didn’t have the reach or feel it appropriate to provide the nifty information.
How some applications store data despite deleting local files?
While giving users the option to keep app data is a sure-fire way to earning their trust and offer peace of mind, some developers seem to skip the feature altogether and make their apps store essential data in a more secure space. Yes, we’re talking about Cloud storage here.
With cloud storage, developers can pretty much achieve the same desired results — give you secure access to your saved files, personalized profile data, and more. More and more apps are moving to cloud storage every single dat, which is the main reason why we haven’t been seeing the perseverance of local data.
Although cloud storage is a lot more convenient, it doesn’t work as expected if the application is dealing with a large chunk of data. Depending on the internet connection, it could take an annoying amount of time to download the data and set you up.
How to keep app data on Android 9 and older Android versions?
If you have a non-Android 10 system, it’s a little more difficult to keep the app data while uninstalling an app. You’ll need to make use of Android’s Package Manager (PM) to get the job done.
The aim here is to instruct the PM not to delete your local files — app data —and keep it secured for further use. To do so, you’ll need a few things and follow a couple of steps.
Step 1: Download SDK Platform tools
Before starting to use Android Debug Bridge or ADB to keep app data, you’ll need to download and extract SDK Platform Tools. Go to this link to download the latest version of SDK Tools. Once you’ve done that, extract the ‘platform-tools’ folder to somewhere very accessible. Here, we’ve chosen our system drive ‘C.’
Step 2: Enable USB Debugging on mobile
After you’ve extracted the SDK Platform tools, turn attention back to your Android system. To make changes to the Android system externally, you’d need to enable USB debugging. Unfortunately, USB Debugging is hidden behind ‘Developer options,’ which also happens to be a secret menu item tucked behind the ‘Build number.’
To enable ‘Developer options,’ go to Settings, ‘About phone,’ ‘Software information,’ and tap on the build number seven times.
Once you do that, ‘Developer options’ will be enabled.
Now, go to ‘Developer options,’ and hit the ‘USB debugging’ toggle.
Step 3: Connect to PC and keep app data
Before establishing a link between your phone and PC, it’s important to figure out the package name of the file you’d be uninstalling — barring the app data. The easiest way of identifying the package name is to go to the Play Store website, look for the app, and copy the bit after “id=” Once you’ve done that, keep it safe.
Now, connect your device to PC using a USB cable and allow the required permissions. Then, fire up Command Prompt on your computer and enter the following command.
After the directory is set to ‘platform-tools,’ run the following command to get a list of attached devices. Here, you should see your phone listed. If not, check your cable and reconnect.
Now, you’ll need to get into the Shell to explore the Package Manager (PM). Enter the following command to access the Shell:
Then, ask the PM to list all the packages installed on your mobile with the following command:
pm list packages
Finally, to uninstall a package, enter the command listed below. Of course, replace “ABCD” with the name of the package you want to uninstall. The “-k” string asks PM to remove the app without deleting its data.
pm uninstall -k com.ABCD
Once the process successfully completes, you’ll see a little contratulatory “Success” message on your screen.
You’re all set!
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