Most Android TV’s and TV boxes come from the factory, bloated with so many apps that you can barely find what you’re
In this article, I’m going to show you how to uninstall or disable apps on your Android TV. I’m even going to show you a way to uninstall those stubborn, preinstalled apps that you didn’t think you could get rid of.
Depending on the app, you’ll either have the option to Uninstall it or Disable it from the Settings menu. There’s a separate section below for each option.
If you want to uninstall a system app, then skip down to the third section. The process is a little more involved, but it’ll work on any app installed on your device.
To find out an easy way to find unused apps and files on your Android TV, check out my article on Storage Analyzer & Disk Usage once you’re finished with this article.
How to Uninstall Apps on Android TV
First, let’s walk through how to uninstall an app using the Settings menu. This process will work for every app that you install on your devices, as well as many that come preinstalled from the manufacturer.
To start, go to the Settings menu. You can get there by clicking on the gear-shaped icon in the upper right-hand corner of the home screen.
Then, click on Apps to go to that sub-menu.
If you already see the app you’re looking for, then you can click on it. In most cases, you’ll need to click See All Apps and scroll down until you find the one you’re looking for.
In this example, I’m going to uninstall Kodi from my Android TV. Click on the app you want to uninstall to get to it’s detail page.
If you see an option to Uninstall, that’s good. It means the app isn’t protected and you can safely remove it without affecting other apps, or offending your device’s manufacturer.
Click Uninstall to continue.
A new screen will pop up and the system will ask if your really want to uninstall this app from your Android TV.
Click OK to continue.
The screen will briefly flash white while it’s uninstalling the app. Once finished, you’ll be taken back to the Settings menu and the app will no longer appear in the list.
How to Disable Preinstalled Apps on Android TV
Some preinstalled and system Android TV apps don’t have the option to uninstall them. Instead, you’ll see the option to disable it.
Disabled apps will still take up space on your device, but they won’t run in the background and consume your system resources. In most cases, it’s fine to just disable them, without going through the process in the next section to actually uninstall them.
In this example, we’re going to be disabling Netflix. It came preinstalled on my Mi Box S and doesn’t give me the option to uninstall it.
To start, click on the app to go to its detail page.
As you can see, there are a few new options,. You can uninstall the updates or disable the app entirely. Uninstalling the updates restores the version that came with the device initially.
There are only a couple of reasons why I disable an app.
Usually it’s because the app introduced a new feature (like more ads) that I don’t like or if it started causing an error.
If you choose to uninstall the updates, the size of the app goes way down. In this case, Netflix dropped from 24.55 MB down to 32.77 kB.
For that reason, I always uninstall updates on an app that I’m going to disable. If I’m not going to use it, I want it to take up as little space as possible.
Next, click on Disable to disable the app.
A new screen pops up asking to confirm that you want to disable this app on your Android TV.
Click OK to continue.
You’re then taken back to the menu and the app disappears from the list. However, if you scroll all the way down, you’ll see a new group called Disabled Apps.
If you ever want to re-enable an app that you’ve previously disabled, you can find it in this section. All you need to do to re-enable it is click in to it’s detail page and click Enable.
How to Uninstall System Apps Like Facebook, Netflix & YouTube from Android TV [Without Root]
If you want to take it one step further and actually delete that protected, system app from your Android TV, then follow these steps.
In this example, we’re going to be deleting the Netflix that we disabled in the previous section.
Warning: this method will allow you to delete ANY app from your device – even something that causes your system to break. If that happens, you may have to perform a full system restore to get it working again.
Before you begin, you’ll need three things:
- Enable Developer Options on your Android TV
- Download the Android SDK from Google (link)
- Install the OEM USB drivers for your device (link)
Enable USB Debugging on your Android TV
On your Android TV, go into Device Preferences in your Settings Menu.
Scroll down until you find Developer Options. Click on it to go that sub-menu.
Then Enable USB Debugging.
Connect your Android TV to your PC via USB
Next, connect your Android TV device to your Windows PC. Simply plug one end into a free USB port on your Android TV and the other end into your PC.
To do this, you’ll need a male-to-male USB cable. You can normally find these on Amazon for around $10 for a 15′ cable.
This 15 foot male-to-male USB cable is long enough to reach across your living room. It's perfect for plugging your Android TV box into your PC. Available in other lengths too.
Once you have them connected, open the Device Manager on your Windows PC. On Windows 10, you can do this by right-clicking on the Start Menu and selecting Device Manager.
This next part requires a little bit of detective work.
You’re looking for a new entry for an “ADB Device”, like you see in the image below. In my experience, the actual name of the device doesn’t appear in the Device Manager, so you’re left with trial and error to make sure you’ve picked the right one.
In this example, my Mi Box S Android TV was named “oneday” and located in the Universal Serial Bus Devices sub-menu. I was only able to find it by plugging-in and unplugging the USB cable several times and watching for any changes on the screen.
One way to verify that you’ve got the right device is to right-click on the item and click on the Details tab. You should see it listed as an ADB Device on this screen.
If this is your first time using ADB Debugging on this particular Android TV device, it’s a good idea to check to see if you’re running the latest drivers. On the Driver tab, click Update Driver. Then, scan the folder where you saved the OEM drivers in step 1.
If you get a message saying “the best drivers for your device are already installed”, then you’re good to go.
Start ADB Debugging using the Android Platform Tools
Next, navigate to the folder where you saved the Android SDK. On my system, I unzipped them to my Temp directory.
There’s a lot of stuff included with this development kit, but we’re only going to be interested in one file: adb.exe.
However, in order to run the ADB program, we’ll need to open a command prompt window. You can either open one directly from this location, or open one from the search bar and navigate to this location.
Once you’re in the same folder where you extracted the Android SDK, type in adb devices.
This returns a list of any Android devices that are connected to your PC. Each device will have a unique identifying number attached to it.
In this case, you can see the word ‘unauthorized’ next to my device ID. That’s because I haven’t authorized ADB debugging on this particular device yet.
To fix that, head back over to your Android TV. You should see a pop-up window asking for permission to allow ADB Debugging.
Click OK to continue.
Go back to your Windows PC and type abd devices again. If you’ve given permission for ADB debugging, you’ll see the word ‘unauthorized’ replaced by the word ‘device.’
Uninstall Apps via ADB Debugging
Once the device is authorized, type in adb shell.
The prompt will change to the device name. Since my device is called ‘oneday’, that’s how it appears on my screen.
To uninstall the app, you’re going to need the full package name.
Thankfully, this is in the App Detail page of the Settings menu. In this case, the package name for the Netflix app is com.netflix.ninja.
Your Android TV package name may be different, so be sure to verify this before trying to uninstall the app.
The command to uninstall the app is:
pm uninstall -k --user 0 <name of package>
I believe in knowing exactly what each command is doing, so let’s break that down a bit.
- pm: This calls the package manager. That performs any action on apps installed on your device.
- uninstall: This removes a package from the system.
- -k: This is an option on the uninstall command that keeps the data and cache directories around after the package is removed.
- –user 0: This specifies the target user. In this case, we’re uninstalling the app from User 0 only.
- <name of package>: In this case, we would enter com.netflix.ninja to uninstall the Netflix Android TV package.
If you want more information on how to use ADB and all of the options available, I highly recommend checking out Google’s documentation on the Android Debug Bridge here.
Here’s what that command looks like for our Netflix example.
If you typed it in correctly, you should get a success message. Then, you can close out of the ADB command prompt and go back to your Android TV device.
The app will no longer appear in your list of System Apps or under your Disabled Apps.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully uninstalled a preloaded Android TV app using ADB!