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Nokia 8110 4G crapware removal, part 1

The Nokia 8110 4G is a nice little sturdy phone running KaiOS. Unfortunately the OS comes preloaded with a bunch of apps the user cannot remove. You get a couple of games and a bunch of backround services, but for now we will focus on the user-accessible apps. On my current version KaiOS 12.xx.x I have following third party apps I cannot remove:

  • Google Assistant
  • Google Maps
  • Danger Dash
  • Castle of Magic
  • Nitro Street Run

These are “system apps” meaning their application.zip file resides on the write-protected /system partition on the Nokia. To manipulate this we need to mount the partition as writeable and remove the unwanted apps, but first we need to locate the apps in question.

We start by mounting our dump of the /system partition and going to the b2g/webapps folder. Here we find a bunch of folders containing all the apps’ package names. It is obvious which ones are for which app:

AppPackage
Google Assistantassistant.google.com
Danger Dashdangerdash.gaiamobile.org
Castle of Magiccastleofmagic.gaiamobile.org
Nitro Street Runnitrostreetrun2.gaiamobile.org

We now write our update.zip script that removes what apps we wish to remove from /system. See the post about dumping the firmware for more detailed script examples. In this session the script simply contains a couple of rm commands:

/tmp/busybox mount -t ext4 -o rw /dev/block/platform/soc.0/7824900.sdhci/by-name/system /system

/tmp/busybox rm -rf /system/b2g/webapps/dangerdash.gaiamobile.org
/tmp/busybox rm -rf /system/b2g/webapps/castleofmagic.gaiamobile.org
/tmp/busybox rm -rf /system/b2g/webapps/nitrostreetrun2.gaiamobile.org
/tmp/busybox rm -rf /system/b2g/webapps/assistant.google.com

/tmp/busybox sync
/tmp/busybox umount /system

Make an update.zip and flash it to your phone using an SD card or ADB sideload. You will now notice that Google Assistant is still there, but the bloatware games are not. I actually don’t know why this is, but I suspect there’s a copy of the app on the /data partition somewhere.

Stay tuned for more.

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