LG P690B Smartphone: Root, CWM, Delete Bloatware

Old phone I do have. All extra cash goes into the kids, and I scrounge whatever is left for myself. While a new Android phone is ~$200CAD, a neighbour gave me a 3 year old LG P690B smartphone, 2011, 512mb, AKA LG Optimus Net P699, LG Optimus Link P690. It was new, and low powered. I rooted it, installed Clockwork Mod, installed the Cyanogenmod 7.2.0 rom, then reverted back to stock and started deleting off bloatware. Here are some hints and tips.

Basically I deleted off about half the preloaded apps on this phone. You must do this so the phone will simply run, and then you’ll be able to connect to the Google Play store, and download apps you want. Space is critically limited, so large apps are a problem. Keeping the phone stock will mean the phone will run more slowly the more you use it as a smartphone. If you only use the phone as a dumb phone, with no texting, you should be Ok stock.

You’ll need a Windows PC, as Ubuntu will not work. The root and CWM install are on Windows, as is the renaming of bloatware. Follow Guide: Root and install ClockWorkMod custom recovery on LG P690 (Optimus Net / Link / Spirit). The instructions are pretty clear. To boot to recovery, power + Vol up + home for 5-7 secs.

Volume +/- = Move up/down
Power / Search = Select
Back = to go back.

Note that to delete files from the sd card you need to do the delete from the Android file manager. Deleting from the PC will put the file into the trash-1000 directory and your sd card will fill up.

When I do a CWM boot I get an error CWM E:Bad boot message “recovery”, which on research is normal. The backup works ok and I get a completion message

I did not have a file manager on my phone, so you’ll need to download one from the Google Play store. Turn off automatic updates, or Google will force feed your phone until it runs out of memory and dies. Google is the not so benign being, but you need the Google Play store.

When the instructions say to search for the /sdcard directory, this is the default view from Windows and Ubuntu. It took me a while to figure this out.

Do a system backup: ClockworkMod was easy to install. Ensure you do a full backup, what they call a Nandroid backup, so that you can go back to stock. This is critical. I tried the Cyanogenmod 7.2.0 and found stock was better, so I went back. Copy your backup off your phone to your PC for safe keeping.

Deleting Bloatware: The instructions say to use a tool called “Root Explorer”, an app in the Google Play store, but I found a different way. Boot up your Windows machine, enable USB debugging, open the Fast Boot folder, Shift and Right click, then “Open Command Window Here”, then type “adb shell”. You now have a terminal to your phone. I followed these instructions to change permissions to rw. Here is a cross-reference from XDA-developers, we do the same thing. You will need to know unix terminal. After “su” [enter], you should get a “#” prompt. Type “mount -o remount,rw -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system” [enter], then “cd /system/app”. From here you can rename your bloatware from .apk to .apk.bak using the mv command. This way you can undo your changes later. For example, mv Bloat.apk Bloat.apk.bak” will remove the app Bloat from your phone.

Sometimes Windows won’t recognize your device in adb. Go to device manager, pick the device to install and reinstall it. source. Then adb will work.

I wrote a shell script to automate the renaming, called it don.sh. To execute type “sh don.sh filename.apk”, and it will change filename.apk to filename.apk.bak:

# Call this script with a file name parameters, for example
# sh scriptname 1

echo "first parameter is $1"
echo "${1%.*}"
echo "${1%.*}.apk.bak"
# mv $1 ${1%.*}.apk.bak
mv $1 $1.bak
exit 0

Apps I renamed to disable (44 apks):
BellMob2.2-6201018-ProdSigned.apk TelNav GPS Navigator for Bell Mobility. This was misleading apk name. 5.5M
BooksPhone.apk.bak: Google Books, an app 2.3M
Calendar.apk .6M
CalendarProvider.apk .22M
DM_RsupInput.apk: All these DM apks have no odex, 15k
DM_rsinput.apk dummy systems app?!?
DRMService: DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. Without getting too technical, it’s a service that deals with managing digitally protected media on your device. source, 60k
DrmProvider: 19k
Email.apk.bak Email program, not GMail, 1.6M
Finance.apk.bak Yahoo Finance, .75M
GoogleCalendarSyncAdapter.apk .27M
LGATCMDService.apk.bak: connects your phone to your PC source 82k
LGWorld.apk.bak 18k
lgercui.apk.bak LG Remote Call, fix phone remotely, not going to happen 1.6M
LiveWallpapersPicker.apk 37k
Maps.apk Google Maps, 12.5M between the .apk and .odex, also downloads a lot of data
MediaUploader.apk Picassa .39M
MoviePlayer.apk Video Player .84M
News.apk.bak Yahoo News, not Weather and News .67M
OmaDmclient.apk LG auto update .69M com.lge.omadmclient: over the air updates for stock rom source, source
PicoTts.apk – voice to text/text to speech support 21k
Protips.apk: Android hints and tips on front screen 55k
Remote_PVR.apk.bak Bell app, did not work 33k
RSstarter.apk LG RemoteCall (LG’s direct remote-control support), 68k for all Rs, no odex
SearchAppWidget-1.3.3-signed.apk Yahoo Search 57k
selfserve_v2.2_rel3.apk.bak 90k
SmartShare.apk.bak Bell app, did not work 1.6M
SNS.apk: Social+ app, Facebook, Twitter source a widget, 2.2M
Street.apk Google Street View runs too slow on phone .47M
Talk.apk Google Talk 1.4M
TtsService.apk – Same as TTS above 44k
TunesAndApps-1.0-1-20100916-signed.apk.bak maybe a widget, 9k
TVRadio.apk.bak Bell app, did not work, actually discontinued but as a system app could not be deleted, 1.1M
Videos.apk.bak 2.4M
VoiceSearch.apk – No voice searching, 3.8M
VpnServices.apk 2.3M
WapService: mobile web service, .26M
YouTube.apk 3.1M
Zoompass.apk.bak ecommerce app for use at cashier, not safe, 21k

Optional apps I wanted (7 apks)
Music.apk music player
GenieWidget.apk – The news and weather widget

Google Apps: Since Google cut me off from the Google Play Store I thought I’d rename all Google apps
Gmail.apk need this or your Play store will not validate
GooglePartnerSetup.apk Needed to verify Google account options
MarketUpdater: updates Google Play source
from the root, then /data/app/ change com.google.android.gms-1.apk to com.google.android.gms-1.apk.bak, reboot and Google Play Services is no longer running. source
-Phonesky.apk: backup for Google Play, remove this and Market 3.3.12 app will disappear
-GenieWidget.apk: Google’s weather and news

APKs you need (48 apks):
AccountAndSyncSettings.apk for synch of gmail , face book etc.
FlexProvider: for phone data connection source
Gallery3D.apk: also cooliris.media in the /android/data dir
HIME.apk alternative language
LGHome2.apk: LG launcher
LGMITS Managed Desktop?!?
MediaProvider.apk Scans media
Mms.apk texting
Music.apk music player 1.6M
NetworkLocation.apk where you are on the mobile network
SIMContactsService.apk com.lge.simcontacts: able to move your contacts to the sim card
stk.apk: SIM toolkit
TelephonyProvider.apk radio phone
UserDictionaryProvider.apk Keyboard user doctionary
lg_p690b-debug.apk: very misleading name, Nuance Voice Control, com.nuance.android.vsuite.lg_p690b but when I disable it there is an infinite loop error that never goes away, so needed to reenable it and the error disappears.

Threads on Apps safe to remove:

I used Marvin Miller’s list as a guide, who posted on page 2 of the install guide.

CyanogenMod 7.2 rom: I did try the Cyanogenmod 7.2.0 rom, following instructions from the same author, Meet5000, as the root and CWM install. He’s pretty clear and it works. The rom was slower and I was runing out of memory. The install was cleaner, with no bloatware. It came with a File manager, as well as a working terminal program. I was able to use terminal to rename an unwanted .apk, just like above. Google Play store overwhelmed the phone and i was running out of space. After playing sufficiently, I did a Nandroid backup, but reverted back to stock.

Installing QQ International v4.5.13

Tried to load QQ but ran out of disk space, and soft bricked the phone. Had to restore from my last CWM backup. Sucks. Lost all my contacts, but added them back to the Sim card instead of phone.

Try #2: Deleted off all the apps I had renamed .apk.bak and their .odex. I had a downloaded copy of QQ International in my SD card’s download directory. Downloading from the App store repeatedly failed. I enabled “install from other sources”, and it installed. It takes a while to load up but I was able to receive the confirming SMS, get my contacts and run it. The file size is 20.97M.

The problem with the Google Play Store on a phone with low memory is that the Play store stakes up so much space that your download cannot fit onto your phone. Once you have the .apk and purge the Play store cache, you can install and run without difficulty.

Copy System Apps to PC Open another command window from the Fastboot directory (shift-rtclick). This will copy an app in the /system/app/ directory to your PC’s Fastboot directory. From there you can easily move them around.
adb pull /system/app/News.apk

List all packages
adb shell pm list packages: Lists all packages
adb shell pm list packages -f: Lists apk and packages. Useful for figuring out which apk to disable.

Delete System Apps from Phone, Permanent Do this for both the .apk and .odex. After deleting system apps if the internal storage number does not change, boot to recovery, advanced, wipe dalvik cache. This will redo the file structure and recalculate your internal memory.
adb shell
mount -o remount,rw /dev/block/stl9 /system
cd /system/app/
rm nameofapp.apk: delete app

cat [AppName].apk > /sdcard/[AppName].apk: backup app to sd card
ls -l *.bak: lists long format for all *.bak files

Restore System Apps to PhoneSo I’m running out of space. Instead of renaming the .apk files I will try to copy the .apk and .odex files to my PC, then delete them from the phone. I need to be able to restore the files if necessary. The steps are here, thanks to djodjoni:

adb shell
mount -o remount,rw /dev/block/stl9 /system
chmod 777 /system/app

adb push C:\Myfile.apk /system/app/myfile.apk

Note the chmod does a rwx, or 7 for owners, members and others, or 777. This is too much permission. Once files are pushed to the /system/app directory I need to restore the permissions to rw owner, r member, r others, or 644, do a “chmod 644 myfile.apk”. Then reboot, and the app should appear. The only problem is that the file permission is set by shell and not root.

adb shell
mount -o remount,rw /dev/block/stl9 /system
chmod 644 myfile.apk

Other Apps:
Opera Mini 14.0.2065.100298

I’ll have to continue to play with the phone to see if it is faster, but already I see I have more memory than before. I’m using Opera Mini, because the stock browser is so slow.

Overall, Yay Android, Hmmm for Google and LG. Why can’t a phone come without the crapware? After all, we did buy it.

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