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I documented in another thread more applications that I found preinstalled on the ZTE Overture that could not be removed or disabled through the android phone interface that were establishing outbound network sessions and transferring information to outside hosts.
One of those is the TouchPal Keyboard. Since I fail to see why a keyboard application needs to continually communicate to external hosts and that the application can not be disabled natively, this raises a big red flag for me.
Here's how I disabled it without root access
You need adb.exe and the drivers for the phone.
You can get these by downloading the 'platform-tools-latest-windows'
Drivers depend on your model phone, here's a good starting point:
Put the phone into USB debugging mode.
Plug in the phone and set it to debugging.
Now extract the platform tools, and run
You should see 1 device listed. If you do, keep going. If you don't, you probably need different drivers or the usb debug mode isnt active.
Connect to the device:
Now list the users on the phone. Usually there is only 1 but there could be more.
jeff:/ $ pm list users
The user ID is 0. There could be more, so the next steps are run for each user.
Next, remove the 3 touchpal packages that come preinstalled for the users.
These are the commands I used
jeff:/ $ pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.emoji.keyboard.touchpal
jeff:/ $ pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.cootek.smartinputv5.language.spanishus
jeff:/ $ pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.cootek.smartinputv5.language.englishgb
That's it, the app is no longer installed. Go look at the apps list, unhide the system apps and you'll see the keyboard app is 'no longer installed for this user'.
Reboot the phone and it won't be listed at all.
This 'fix' should work until the next OTA upgrade happens at which point the default apps will probably be reinstalled. Just run these commands again.