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Curiosity kills the phone: Here’s why you shouldn’t uninstall ‘Android system’

3 weeks ago 17

Pixel Sideload OTA Recovery Rescue

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you tried to uninstall the “Android system” app on your phone? One person on Twitter/X found out the hard way so you don’t have to.

Within your phone’s full list of apps, you can usually find a listing called “Android system.” Rather than being one of the many built-in apps on a typical phone, this is actually a significant portion of the Android operating system itself.

Because of its importance, the Android system app is blocked from being uninstalled on the overwhelming majority of devices. However, it seems that this particular safeguard is not enforced on all devices, a fact that @Eziosystem32 learned in the worst possible way.

It started as an innocent observation that his phone didn’t gray out the “Uninstall” button on the app details page for the Android system. As the conversation continued, one person replied with their previous experience of pressing the same uninstall button – “it would never uninstall.”

You can probably guess what happened next, but the exact error message displayed is quite funny.

The system has been destroyed

Press power button to shutdown

With one errant button press, the phone was immediately bricked beyond reasonable recovery. The lesson here is that if your Android phone might let you do something it probably shouldn’t – such as uninstalling a crucial system app – don’t try to see what happens if it does.

Thankfully, there’s a bit more to the story here. Xiaomi, the phone’s manufacturer, reportedly reached out to Eziosystem32 with more information about how this happened. Rather than a typical retail phone, this particular unit was either a prototype or a development kit. Even still, it seems like a major oversight to allow even an OEM developer to potentially brick the phone by accident.

To make the situation right Xiaomi has offered to exchange this broken phone for free, though there are unfortunately no Xiaomi stores in Eziosystem32’s country.

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