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Saturday, June 4, 2011

How To Remove City ID (and other crapware) From Droid X (and other Android phones)

I've been on a quest to remove City ID, Blockbuster and other crapware that came bundled with my Droid X which Verizon won't allow me to remove.  Searching for "uninstall city id" or "remove blockbuster" will net thousands of results of people asking how to do so - almost all of which have nothing good to say about Ciquent (the developers of City ID), Blockbuster or Verizon.  I pretty much agree with all I've read.  In fact I have vowed to never use products ever again from Ciquent or Blockbuster, and I've notified both of my disgust and vows.

In my quest I haven't been able to find any specific instructions on how to remove this crap.  Most "instructions" say something like, "root, remove, reboot."  Well I persevered and figure it out.  It's actually pretty easy to get rid of these unwanted (cr)apps; in fact, it can be done using three readily available apps (actually four, but one gets installed automatically).

Here I'm going to provide detailed instructions (including pretty screenshots) on how to obtain and install the apps you need to root your phone (and unroot when you're done if desired) and remove those undesired bundled apps like Blockbuster, City ID, VZ Navigator and others.  First some warnings and notes though:
  • WARNING: Removing these annoying apps (rather than disabling or freezing them) will make it difficult to upgrade your Droid X to Gingerbread.  Not to worry though, here are detailed instructions on how to Upgrade to Gingerbread After Rooting and Removing Crapware From Your Droid X.
  • WARNING: use these instructions at your own risk.  You are responsible for what you do to your phone - not me.
  • WARNING: the web is replete with posts saying rooting your phone may void the warranty or brick your phone; however there are also a number of posts either disputing this or saying they haven't had a problem with warranty issues after rooting.  Again, you assume all risk for what you do to your device.
  • These instructions were used to remove unwanted programs from a Motorola Droid X running Froyo version 2.2.1 (system version 2.3.340).  It may or may not work on other devices or with other versions of Android.
  • These instructions work as of the date of this post.
  • Good luck and be happy to be rid of crapware from Verizon!
Android apps used in this guide
  • Superuser
  • z4root (AKA z4mod) by RyanZa - z4root.1.3.0.apk download mirrors (not in Market - use this link)
    • Busybox (automatically installed by z4root)
  • Titanium Backup
    Step 1 - Download/install Superuser from Android Market (search superuser)

    Step 2 - Download and install z4root, and root your device
    • Download z4root from one of the mirrors listed in the link directly to your Droid (may not be available in Android Market - click download link.  If not available via link leave a comment with a way to contact you and I can provide one).
    • Click the z4root-2.1.3.0.apk file to install (you may have to enable installation of non-Market applications - Home screen, Settings, Applications, check Unknown sources)
    • Launch z4root/z4mod
    • Select Permanent Root.
      • This may take SEVERAL minutes - be patient.
      • While it's running Busybox will be downloaded and installed.
      • You will also see various messages about the progress of rooting your phone.
      • It will either reboot your Droid or prompt you to do so.
      • NOTE: on my first attempt I selected Temporary Root which didn't appear to work as later steps failed.
      • NOTE: you can undo or unroot your Droid at any time.
      • NOTE: my first few attempts to root with z4root didn't work.  My Droid locked and I had to pull the battery to reboot.  I uninstalled z4root and installed again from one of the links above and it worked fine after that.  In fact, I did all these steps again so I could make sure these steps are accurate and grab some screen shots.
      • After rebooting open z4root/z4mod and if you see this screen you know you're rooted.


    Step 3 - Install and run Titanium Backup (search titanium backup in Market)
    • NOTE: the free version of Titanium Backup works for this, however as it does much more and is a great app I'd recommend upgrading to the pro version.
    • When you launch Titanium Backup it will tell you if you don't have root.  If you do have root it will say "Root access: OK" and look like this.

    • Click on Backup/Restore which will display a list of installed apps on your phone.
    • Scroll to the (cr)app you no longer want and click on it and select Un-install.
    • You will receive a warning asking if you're sure.  If so, click Yes and it's gone!
    • Remove other unwanted crapware to your heart's content.
    I used this to remove Blockbuster, City ID, Skype and VZ Navigator.  I'm definitely feeling better after removing all this crap!

    That's all there is to it.  Of course you can use z4root to un-root your phone if desired.

    Uninstall City ID from Droid X.  Uninstall Blockbuster from Droid X.  Uninstall Skype from Droid X.  Uninstall VZ Navigator from Droid X.

    59 comments:

    1. Thanks...this worked well. The only issue was that the z4root app was no longer available from the Droid Market so I could not download directly to the phone. The mirror sites are accessible from the computer browser and I downloaded to the SD card and installed from there.

      Thanks again.

      ReplyDelete
    2. z4root is NOT available in Market (currently), that's why I have link to page with mirrors. Happy rooting and removing!

      ReplyDelete
    3. These instructions are great! I've searched many times for info on removing this crap Verizon is trying to force on me but haven't been able to find good directions on how to do it - most info is too vague. I was able to remove blockbuster, cityid and vz navigator easily from my Droid 2.
      Thank you!

      ReplyDelete
    4. It works great! I did this on my LG Versa. I downloaded z4root from a mirror site directly from my phone. If you do this, make sure to change under "Application settings" to allow install of non-Market apps. Before running Titanium Back, go to "Application settings -> Development" and enable USB debugging. Then, remove the (CR)app! Thanks for the info!

      ReplyDelete
    5. Ding Dong City ID is Gone! Thank You!

      ReplyDelete
    6. I'm a techie but new to Android - thanks for instructions that have the right level of detail. They worked well for my Motorola Defy w/Android 2.1 (Eclair).

      Two additional notes:
      o When z4root tells you to click OK to enable USB debugging, do so and then touch "Development" to find the "USB debugging" checkbox.
      o Titanium Backup's installer recommended I touch the "Problems?" button to download a compatible version of BusyBox, so I did (and then selected "Yes, do it").

      ReplyDelete
    7. Thanks! Worked for me on LG Vortex w/ Froyo.

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    8. Work great on my Droid x running Froyo 2.2.1

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    9. Worked for me. Thought, like you, I had to uninstall Z4 a few times. I was also unable to uninstall the Kindle app. Blockbuster and amazon are gone though.

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    10. This worked brilliantly on my Verizon Samsung Galaxy Tab! I wasted hours poking around the web looking for the answer to this problem without success until I found this page. Thank you so much for posting this and for the clear directions.

      ReplyDelete
    11. This worked perfectly on my Droid X, but had an unusual side effect. When I went to the Market, anything I selected immediately downloaded without me needing to click the download button. Although this could just be side effect of the above process,it was at best very annoying. However I became concerned that one of the above apps (although seemingly very reputable) contained malware that would download an application automatically without my permission and that the problem with Market downloads was acting as a tell. I used the power button/home (Recovery) function to wipe the phone, but strangely had to keep hitting the OK button (50 times? for the "."'s to progress) until the wipe process completed. The download problem still remained until I again used Recovery to do a reboot and tried the Market again in the morning. I still get a message E: Can't open /cache/recovery/command whenever I go into recovery mode. Also auto brightness doesn't seem to work. Anyone know if that's normal?

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    12. Andy, what programs did you remove exactly? I only removed City ID, Blockbuster and VZ Navigator & I have had no problems since removing this bloatware.

      ReplyDelete
    13. Sorry I should have mentioned I removed Blockbuster, VZ Nav, and one of the Games (not NFS Shift). I decided to un-root when I had the Market issue. The wipe took care of removing the software installed above. Much to my surprise a full restore did not bring back the deleted programs which is why I don't know what game I deleted. I'm wondering if the full Droid X image is available somewhere.

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    14. I just removed Blockbuster and VZ Navigator and a game.

      ReplyDelete
    15. Worked perfectly on Droid 2 Global. Thanks!

      ReplyDelete
    16. Hey all,

      If I follow these directions to remove all the crapware, can I keep everything else stock and unroot when I'm done? I just got a Droid X and don't want to brick it the day I got it, but I really want to get rid of all this nonsense on the phone so I have more memory to dedicate to apps I will actually use. Thanks!

      ReplyDelete
    17. Yes. That's basically what I did & I've had no problems at all. I waited months before I felt comfortable doing this. I was glad I finally did it.

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    18. Awesome!! Thank you!!

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    19. Thank you very much for your simple root explanation. I puled the battery the first attempt, but the second was successful and only took 30sec! I have the latest motorola droid x (couple days old).

      ReplyDelete
    20. I've had my Droid X for less than a week and my only complaint is the (cr)apps. I followed these instruction and they are gone. Thanks!

      ReplyDelete
    21. this worked great!!!! so glad that crap is off my menu now. silly question but can i kill titanium with task killer or ill that screw something up?

      ReplyDelete
    22. This worked great. Thank you!

      ReplyDelete
    23. Where do I save the z4root program? I have my X hooked up via USB and have moved that program around on the phone but can't find it when I unplug the phone....?

      ReplyDelete
    24. Sweet, took all of about 30 minutes, appreciate it, the droid actually feels lighter now!

      Have any ideas for netflix?

      ReplyDelete
    25. Worked like a charm the first time! I got worried with z4root, as it took 15 minutes. I almost killed it when it suddenly did the reboot! Nice and clean now. Any disadvantages to leaving it rooted?

      ReplyDelete
    26. Worked great on my Droid X! Took me a second try to unroot the phone (but it only took about 4 minutes when it worked). Successfully uninstalled kindle, cityID, amazonMP3, blockbuster, VZNavigator, the social networking/friendfeed app, and Madden (why this was on here I have no idea). Unrooted, and am now trying to decide if I should uninstall these three SU apps or keep them around.

      ReplyDelete
    27. I am an extreme skeptic but have to say... Great instructions and very easy to unroot and root my verizon motorola 2 gloabal phone..

      Thank you guys for such an easy guide and software !!!!!

      ReplyDelete
    28. Not working for me, unfortunately, on a Verizon Galaxy Tab. Got Z4Root 1.3.0 installed, but when I run it, requesting "Permanent Root", it says "Running exploit to acquire root privileges", then says "Acquiring root shell...", then dies about 30 seconds later with no message. Any suggestions?

      ReplyDelete
    29. This was awesome! I had the same problem with the first mirror, but after removing the battery, erasing the program and re-downloading worked like a charm. Thanks so much for these posts.

      ReplyDelete
    30. Thanks, That was very helpful.
      My Droid X with 2.2.1 also froze with Z4root but after a battery reset, I just restarted z4root without reinstalling and it finished in less than 30 seconds.

      ReplyDelete
    31. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Had to reboot once but rest was as simple and clean as stated.

      ReplyDelete
    32. Thanks this worked great and I just have to find out how to get rid of the icons left in the apps section. As when I clicked on them they said that they were not there but the icon was. Should I reboot to see if that gets rid of them.

      ReplyDelete
    33. One reboot and it worked great!

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    34. Hallelujah! Madden and VZNavigator are GONE.

      ReplyDelete
    35. Thank you! Does anybody know if it's safe to remove Social Networking and its associated processes? Several people have said it might brick the phone because it's a Moto app, but nobody seems to really know. Have any of you guys tried it? Are there other processes that won't work if I remove it (ie, will my contacts still sync with FB etc...).

      ReplyDelete
    36. Worked like a charm for me and droidx. Was incredibly easy. I am thrilled to be rid of this terrible crapware! It completely ruined the experience of an otherwise awesome phone.

      ReplyDelete
    37. I just did it this morning and now I'm trying to figure out what all I can remove without killing the functionality of the phone. I have the same question as above: If I remove Motorola's Social Networking app can I still use Facebook and will it still sync my contacts? And thank you very much for the very easy to follow and informatice instructional!!!!!

      ReplyDelete
    38. Has anybody tried to do these same steps on the new droid x2?

      ReplyDelete
    39. You are awesome and I agree with you completely. I pay for a phone, I pay for a service and I should be allowed to take WTF I want off the phone. Blockbuster, CitiId, whatever I want - the phone is mine.

      You are awesome!

      ReplyDelete
    40. Awesome your the best!

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    41. Awesome! I would recommend anyone with a droid to use this! I waited a few months after finding this site b/c I was a little apprehensive but now im so happy I did it. The only thing I did different is I deleted the programs I used to root it and stuff when I was done, not sure why I just did. But it was fast and easy and all the deal is gone and my phone is working better than ever!

      ReplyDelete
    42. It worked great! Downloaded Busybox and Titanium Backup apps separately, however used Gingerbreak to root my Droid X, instead of Z4root.

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    43. Well, when you update to gingerbread that verizon now has for the droid x the install will fail. You have to reinstall all of that crAPP ... every piece. Just reinstalling from the SD backup does not work. Even with all of the apps installed the apk has to be in the system folder for the verizon update to work. You have to use su mount in a terminal session to change privileges and then put the apps back in /system/app/. Gingerbread is nice but z4 root does not work on it. There is a gingerbreak.apk in work but it does not work on my droid x (yet). Just saying...

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    44. Any help for those of us running on Gingerbread?

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    45. I can't find the z4root app, can anyone provide a link?

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    46. THANK you SOooOo much!!

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    47. a word of caution....
      if you ever plan on updating your phone to the latest Over the air update then DO NOT REMOVE THE (C)RAP,BLOATWARE!!!!

      if you do you will be unable to update and verizon will just look at you and laugh as they void your warranty , unless you know how to SBF back and know your way around custom ROMS dont touch any of the bloatware.

      and if you are wondering what SBF is then you proabbly dont know enough and should not be messing with rooting your phone.
      do your research before removing anything from your phone.

      ReplyDelete
    48. Superuser installation gets flagged by my antivirus when I try to install it. I suspect that the people that had issues with weird stuff happening got it from this app.

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    49. Didn't work on HTC Incredible. Tried a dozen ways but Z4root never rooted the phone.

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    50. works great but how do you get rid of the shortcut in your menu screen. if you click on it now it says that the file is no longer available.

      ReplyDelete
    51. Hi. I have a HTC Wildfire S. V.2.3.3 I was hoping to be able to do a temp root with this but hasn't worked. Anything else I can do? That's this easy?

      ReplyDelete
    52. As Talk2junior said about the non working shortcut on the menu screen... does any one have a solution for this?

      I removed telenav and now I have a screen with the little mesh as a non working shortcut but i want to take it off too.

      Any suggestions?

      ReplyDelete
    53. Root Motorola phones with Pete's Motorola Root Tools instead of z4Root. z4Root does not work on Gingerbread.

      Once you follow the one click wonder, then install Superuser, Titanium & Busybox, following instructions as told above.

      ReplyDelete
    54. The original Process in this post, the instructions, did not work for me. I've tried everything.... Luckily, my phone still works!(DroidX). Most recently, I've downloaded available updates, including the Verizon stuff, including VZ NAvigator, CItyID, Skype, Google Play, Verizon Mobile, etc. etc.
      NOw ...the non-stop VZ Navigator showing up as a "running application" when using the Task Killer is what dorve me to this site! I Have no need for VZ Navigator, as Google Maps is free and works better, and using VZ Navigator is not Free ! I think a class action lawsuit against Verizon should be commenced for their theft of customers' resource!
      In any case, Does anybody have an updated method for removing unwanted/unnecessary apps from their DroidX phones?
      Thanks !
      George

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    55. Thanks a lot! I had already rooted my phone so I just needed to use Titanium Backup. My HTC Droid Incredible is way faster and now I don't have to look at the ugly crap from Verizon anymore!

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