Why Shelter's work profile comes pre-loaded with some Google services?

Hi there,

  1. I’m starting experimenting with Shelter and noticed that right after creating the Work Profile I have 3-4 Google apps (Play, assistant and other) already installed…

  2. When I click Show All Apps it’s even worth, I see tons of google packages installed

I thought the Work Profile would be a clean slate…

  1. Even if I could take the time to remove all google packages with ADB should I do it? Is it not gonna break some stuff…

How are you guys using this app?

  1. Clean stuff (Open source apps) in the Work Profile to keep maximum permissions control on the Main Profile (Google apps and banking apps) but exposing myself to not receiving all notifications from the Work one?

  2. or the way around and just allowing that big mess to live their life freely inside Work Profile and not freezing it as I rely on Google Voice and some banking notifications…

cheers :wink:

Not exactly how it works.

Shelter enables a work profile. Work profiles are just another user in your phone (usually user nr 10 or 12) with some interconnectivity. Shelter does not install these apps, but simply asks your phone to add that user. Your system apps will therefore also be installed (activated) for that new user. At least that is my understanding of it.

You can use ADB to clean up the work profile too. But you will need to specify the user. If you do show the app will be shown as: “not installed for this user” in android settings.

See: Debloat or uninstall Android system apps · GitHub

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Hey @ph00lt0, thanks for taking the time.

  1. So you’re saying all those google packages I see under Show All Apps are system apps…
  2. Wouldn’t be breaking stuff if I decide to delete all those Work Profile packages with ADB? (no google packages what so ever…)

Also, any insight on this? :

They do not actually have to be system apps. I phrased that wrong. But your phone’ ROM decides to preload those in a new user.

Your second question I cannot answer. I would recommend to disable them instead if you don’t know the consequences, you can test more safely that way.

I actually use the work profile as intended for some work apps and i disable that profile in free time :wink:


thanks a lot @ph00lt0 :+1:

The system itself determines which apps are installed in different profiles by default.

You can see examples here:

If you want a system without garbage, then switch to GrapheneOS or my DivestOS.


Thank you @SkewedZeppelin,
so in those list of packages you sent I could:

  • delete all the one containing google like:
    <item>com.google.android.gms</item> <!-- Required by Play -->
  • keep the android one like:
    <item>com.android.contacts</item> <!-- AOSP Contacts -->

to have a clean Work Profile without any google services?

and yes I agree GrapheneOS looks really promising but I can’t buy a Pixel right now.


that isn’t a file you can edit, it gets compiled into the system

Shelter uses Android’s Built-in Work Profiles function. It will include system apps, including Google Play Services.

Note that using pm uninstall ... does not remove an app from the system partition, meaning any new users and work profiles will still include system apps.

@TGRush, @TGRush, @ph00lt0
ok, how you would you guys go about best sanitizing an android stock phone?
Is this the best I can do ? (without buying a Pixel or installing a mod rom):

thank you

Well you should realize that it is not very effective.

I wouldn’t just remove many things because it can break your phone. (While you can fix that) I have experimented with this quite a bit in the past.

You should just be aware that tracking can be/is embedded in the OS itself without the needing the apps. Still you may get somewhat of a benefit. I would f.x. always uninstall sorter. As you can see in the gist I linked earlier.

PG also doesn’t recommend this method as it generally isn’t complete and will not be giving you want you actually want.

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If you’re informed about what you can and cannot redo, and absolute cannot / do not want to replace the stock operating system, I guess it’s the best you can do.

Otherwise, take less drastic steps in terms of operating system modifications, like switching out services with more privacy-respecting, or even offline-first ones. For example, SimpleMobileApps was created because included apps usually are riddled with privacy-invasive features, are bound to accounts or want/require network permissions.

yes thanks @TGRush I’m going to stick to using the maximum open source apps like simpletools possible and not installing Shelter I think.

Do note that Simple Mobile Tools from Play Store/Aurora does contain proprietary libraries.

Their Gallery app actually violates the GPL of users and contributors since it bundles an incompatible proprietary editor: F-Droid NoSourceSince · Issue #1706 · SimpleMobileTools/Simple-Gallery · GitHub

They also have a questionable partnership with Secure Group for selling overpriced outdated/insecure MT6771 phones, the same chip used by the Brax Phone (also by SG) and the Murena Phone.

Old bonus pics:

In that same issue they say they have a FOSS variant without any proprietary stuff (for 3 years already).


yes, but their distribution of a variant with that proprietary library violates the license of those who contributed to it and of who use that variant.

The contributors licensed their contribution under GPL, by SMT taking the app and adding proprietary components, they are violating the license of contributors.

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What’s SMT?

Simple Mobile Tools