Recently, the Indian Government banned 59 Chinese apps that were said to be raising privacy concerns. If you were using any of those Chinese apps, we have a dedicated article with the best replacements for every Chinese app that has been banned. However, one of the apps mentioned in the list from the developer Cheetah Mobile – Clean Master, comes pre-installed on every Xiaomi/Redmi/Poco smartphone since it’s a part of MIUI, and also on Realme/Oppo smartphones as it’s a part of ColorOS too.
Clean Master is integrated into the phones’ Security app on MIUI as ‘Cleaner’ and the Phone Manager app on ColorOS/Realme UI and as a result, these apps cannot be uninstalled directly from the phone itself, unlike other apps. But, since the app is banned and it requires unnecessary permissions that can be hazardous to your privacy, we will tell you how you can uninstall Clean Master from your Xiaomi, Redmi, Poco, Oppo, and Realme smartphones.
For reference, the cleaner app on MIUI needs permission to upload filenames from your phone to Clean Master’s servers. The servers of an app that has been banned with the allegation that it sends user data to Chinese servers. The cleaner app also requires your location access which does not make sense for an app that is only supposed to help you clean residual files from your phone’s storage. It even needs access to your microphone, which is again fishy. What’s worse is the app does not even ask the user to grant these permissions. When you hit agree to the terms and conditions warning, it automatically permits the app to use all the functions it wants.
Now, before we get started, understand that this is not an official guide and note that TechPP is not responsible for any sort of data loss or system crashes/instability that you may encounter after following this process. We tried the method on multiple devices and didn’t face any issues but in case you end up bricking something on your phone, make sure you know how to recover it.
How to Uninstall Clean Master app from Xiaomi/Redmi/Poco and Oppo/Realme Smartphones
We will be using ADB or Android Debug Brigade to carry out the process so the first step would be to download Minimal ADB and Fastboot on your PC/Mac. We will be carrying out the process on macOS but the commands and the entire procedure remain the same. If you already have ADB tools or Android SDK installed on your computer, you can go ahead with the process.
- Head over to the ‘About Phone’ section of your smartphone and look for ‘MIUI Version’ on MIUI or ‘Build Number’ on ColorOS and tap on it seven times to unlock Developer Options.
- Next, go to Settings>Additional Settings>Developer Options and enable ‘USB Debugging’.
- Connect your smartphone to your computer using a USB cable and when prompted, select the file transfer option.
- Once your phone is connected, on your Windows PC, head over to the location where your Minimal ADB and Fastboot folder is and hold the shift key on your keyboard and right-click on the folder and select ‘Open command window here/Open Powershell window here’.
- If you’re on macOS, fire up the terminal app and use ‘cd <path of ADB folder>’ to navigate to the folder consisting of the ADB tools you downloaded.
- In the command window, type ‘./adb devices’. This should show up a string of letters and numbers which shows that your device is connected.
- Then, type in ‘./adb shell’.
- You now have to type in the command to uninstall the app followed by the name of the package. For MIUI, type in ‘pm uninstall -k –user 0 com.miui.cleanmaster’ and hit enter. For ColorOS/Realme UI, type in ‘pm uninstall -k –user 0 com.coloros.phonemanager’ and hit enter (There are two dashes before “user”).
- You will see ‘Success’ printed on your screen indicating that the app has now been uninstalled from your smartphone.
Once the app has been uninstalled on MIUI, you will no longer be able to use the ‘Cleaner’ functionality within the ‘Security’ app. On Realme UI/ColorOS, the ‘Phone Manager’ app will no longer be present so you won’t be able to use features like the antivirus as well, but you don’t really need that in the first place. If your phone gets a new update, the cleaner app might get reinstalled and you can just repeat the same process to uninstall it.
Given the Government’s directive, smartphone brands may remove the app themselves in subsequent software updates but until that happens, you can use this workaround.