Some of you might not have the luxury of going fully private by picking up a Linux phone or GrapheneOS (Pixel) but maybe need to go for a full blown Android phone. Perhaps that’s for business or because you just feel that the pen is mightier than the sword so go for Note 20 Ultra. Oh yes, its a sexy phone, yes, it takes great pictures but it comes with a bunch of bloatware no-one needs and a bunch of trackers no-one wants.

So what can you do?

You can always jump to XDA developers forum and find a way to root the phone, maybe get a custom ROM, but this article is about what to do when you have to use the phone straight out of the box! We did it for iOS so why not for Samsungs Flagships?

We go two ways here, option one is ADB and option two is an easier way that involves a 3rd party app called Packagedisabler. For both options you do not need to get your phone rooted. And once we've removed some apps I'll advise you on some replacements as well,

Removal

ADB

Open your Terminal or comment prompt on your PC, connect your phone to the PC via USB-C and type:

adb shell

Here you can delete bloatware with the following comment:

pm uninstall --user 0 [package name]

Replace package name with the actual name of the package you would like to remove.

Just hit enter and the programs will be uninstalled, for example:

Bixby

pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.bixby.wakeup
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.bixby.service
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.app.routines
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.bixby.service
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.visionintelligence
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.bixby.agent
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.bixby.agent.dummy
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.bixbyvision.framework

Samsung Pass & Samsung Pay

pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.samsungpassautofill
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.authfw
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.samsungpass
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.spay
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.spayfw

Facebook

pm uninstall --user 0 com.facebook.katana
pm uninstall --user 0 com.facebook.system
pm uninstall --user 0 com.facebook.appmanager
pm uninstall --user 0 com.facebook.services

Samsung Game Launcher

pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.game.gamehome
pm uninstall --user 0 com.enhance.gameservice
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.game.gametools
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.game.gos
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.gametuner.thin

Samsung Gear VR

pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.hmt.vrsvc
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.app.vrsetupwizardstub
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.hmt.vrshell
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.vr.vrcore

Samsung DeX (useful if you like to use your phone on a TV)

pm uninstall --user 0 com.sec.android.desktopmode.uiservice
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.desktopsystemui
pm uninstall --user 0 com.sec.android.app.desktoplauncher

Samsung’s LED Cover (useful if you use Samsung's original LED cover)

pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.app.ledbackcover
pm uninstall --user 0 com.sec.android.cover.ledcover

Samsung Browser (download Bromite first)

pm uninstall --user 0 com.sec.android.app.sbrowser
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.app.sbrowseredge

Samsung Email

pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.email.provider
pm uninstall --user 0 com.wsomacp

Printing Services

pm uninstall --user 0 com.android.bips
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.printservice.recommendation
pm uninstall --user 0 com.android.printspooler

Samsung Edge (useful if you use the Edge)

pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.service.peoplestripe

Samsung Kids

pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.kidsinstaller
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.app.camera.sticker.facearavatar.preload

Other Bloatware

pm uninstall --user 0 com.dsi.ant.sample.acquirechannels
pm uninstall --user 0 com.dsi.ant.service.socket
pm uninstall --user 0 com.dsi.ant.server
pm uninstall --user 0 com.dsi.ant.plugins.antplus
pm uninstall --user 0 com.android.egg
pm uninstall --user 0 com.sec.android.easyonehand
pm uninstall --user 0 com.sec.android.widgetapp.samsungapps
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.mateagent
pm uninstall --user 0 com.sec.android.easyMover.Agent
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.app.watchmanagerstub
pm uninstall --user 0 com.sec.android.daemonapp
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.app.social
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.aremoji
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.ar.core
pm uninstall --user 0 flipboard.boxer.app
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.wellbeing
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.da.daagent
pm uninstall --user 0 com.samsung.android.service.livedrawing
pm uninstall --user 0 com.sec.android.mimage.avatarstickers
pm uninstall --user 0 com.hiya.star
pm uninstall --user 0 com.microsoft.appmanager
pm uninstall --user 0 com.touchtype.swiftkey
pm uninstall --user 0 com.netflix.partner.activation
pm uninstall --user 0 com.microsoft.skydrive
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.apps.tachyon

Launcher (if you don't have another launcher installed do not remove!)

pm uninstall --user 0 com.sec.android.app.launcher

Google

pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.youtube
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox
pm uninstall --user 0 com.android.hotwordenrollment.xgoogle
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.apps.docs
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.apps.maps
pm uninstall --user 0 com.android.chrome
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.apps.photos
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.tts
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.videos
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.gms.location.history
pm uninstall --user 0 com.sec.android.app.chromecustomizations

If you want to remove even more Google, this removes the Google Framework and the Google Playstore but use with caution!

pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.onetimeinitializer
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.as
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.gm
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.setupwizard
pm uninstall --user 0 com.android.sharedstoragebackup
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.gsf
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.partnersetup
pm uninstall --user 0 com.android.vending
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.gms

Please note that ADB does not really remove the applications, but uninstalls them in the user's account. In other words, these applications can easy be reinstalled with an factory reset or also with this simple comment:

cmd package install-existing [package name]

Replacement

Packagedisabler

Firstly you need the Packagedisabler which you can find in the GooglePlay Store so if you are not removing vending (PlayStore) and stick with Google that can be a good option to get the application.

Be informed and warned that Packagedisabler has Google ANALytics in this app!

If you use Packagedisabler I have made a list from which you can easily import and have all the above and more disabled. I disabled some others here which I did not try to disable via ADB comment but I have not added them to the list yet, however I might update this list from time to time and add other 'safe to uninstall' apps to it.

This still allows the phone to functon perfectly and you have all the features including the s-pen that are nessesary to enjoy your Note 20 Ultra.

Now, let's assume you use the Note 20 or Ultra and along with the mightly pen and most of the preinstalled (useful) Samsung apps, I still recommend disabling or uninstalling the actual note taking app! This has Google ANALYtics in the background and that makes no sense but can easily replaced with another note taking app. I personally go with Nextcloud Note as I also use Nextcloud for bookmarks, calendar and contact sync.

F-Droid should be your 'go-to' store and if you do need anything from the PlayStore but have removed it or don't really want your name attached to Google you can always use Aurora Store

Android has a great feature that I really miss on iOS and that's encrypted DNS.

Private DNS

Remembert that every Android Phone uses 8.8.8.8 out of the box which means that every DNS inquiry goes to Google's servers. So to browse more privately and surely safely you should use your own DNS and that should be encrypted. To do so just go to Settings -> Private DNS and enter an DNS server, perhaps one with a built-in ad blocker like NextDNS. If you use NextDNS enter your NextDNS address in the field and you are ready to go, on NextDNS you click on Privacy and select Native Tracking protection and add Samsung. Also add no Google to the list and, of course, any of the fitting trackers which fit you and your location best.

I would personally also click on Denylist and add the following domains:

samsungimagine.com
samsungcloud.com
samsungdm.com
samsungapps.com
crashlytics.com

Alternatively, you can always use any other free DNS service.

This setup also works if you use a VPN client, I tried this with iVPN and linked the IP address iVPN assigned to my NextDNS account and you would have a perfectly encrypted, filtered and secure setup which does not show your IP address or track you on Google or most known services.

Scrambled Exif

Last but not least I strongly recommend getting Scrambled Exif which removes Metadata from your photos. Everytime you share a picture to any app, just select Scrambled Exif first and then the app with which you want to share the picture with, it then removes all metadata and makes your life a little more private.

Tracking

Ever wonder what apps track you? You have two options to find out. Exodus and ClassyShark3xodus

Weather

The 'out of the box' weather app tracks you and you don't really want this so another great weather app that respects your privacy is called Forecastie

DAVx5

CalDAV/CardDAV Synchronization and Client, which allows you to sync your contacts and calender with Nextcloud and other services.

This setup will not be the magic bullet when it comes to no tracking, but it certainly gets you one step closer. And if you are one of those people who likes to have the next shiny new Samsung phone, this advice gets you closer to being more private in the future.

Remember! Knowledge is power but knowledge about you is power over you. Your information will be used to anticipate your actions and manipulate the way you shop, vote, and think.

So take care, now and always!

The Privacy Advocate