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What are System Apps?

Installing apps on your Android device is an absolute breeze. Just search for the app on the Play Store and click on the Install button. You can install it either as system apps or as user apps.

System apps are pre-installed apps in the system partition with your ROM. In other words, a system app is simply an app placed under /system/app folder on an Android device.

/system/app is a read-only folder. Android device users do not have access to this partition. Hence, users cannot directly install or uninstall apps to/from it.

Apps such as camera, settings, messages, Google Play Store etc. come pre-installed with the phone and manufacturers do not generally provide an option to remove such apps as this might impact the functioning of your device. If you want to remove a system app you need to root your device first.

Non-system Apps


Non-system/third-party/User apps are apps downloaded from Google Play Store or sideloaded with an APK file.

A non-system app is installed under /data/app folder and has read, write privileges. If there are apps that you have installed but you no longer use, you can simply uninstall them to free up storage space.

There might be situations when you wish to do a factory reset because your phone “misbehaves”. But the problem with factory reset is that it removes all user data and applications. In such cases, you can convert the apps you wish to keep as system apps and then perform a factory reset. You can use apps such as Titanium Backup to convert user apps as system apps. Unlike user apps, system apps will not be deleted after a factory reset.

How to Blacklist/Whitelist System Apps

With Hexnode MDM, you can blacklist or whitelist apps on Android and iOS devices. Blacklisting restricts users from using specific apps on the devices whereas whitelisting restricts users to using specific apps on devices.

Notes:

  • In iOS devices, you can blacklist all your system apps except Phone app and Settings app.
  • For devices running iOS 11 and above, Hexnode lets users remove system apps.

To remove system apps on your device,

  1. Go to Policies > New policy.
  2. Click on Advanced Restrictions under iOS Settings.
  3. Enable Allow removal of system apps.
  4. Click on Policy Targets to add the devices you wish to associate the policy with.
  5. Save your policy.


Here’s how you blacklist/whitelist iOS and Android apps.

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