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List of features removed from Android

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

For mostly unknown reasons, many features have been removed from Android during the years, despite users have considered them as useful.

This list also includes restrictions and potentially unwanted behavioural changes.

Removed features[edit]

Information buffer[edit]

For both removed features and behavioural changes.

Inexperienced wiki editors who are inexperienced with tables can add information here.

This information will be sorted into the table:

  • Ability for third-party applications to control Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (Android 10).
  • Strobe light applications such as com.loomatix.flashlight worked well in Android 4.*, but no longer in newer Android versions. It still partially worked in Android 6 (blinking only slowly and randomly, instead of more than ten times per second), but Android 7's updated camera API completely disabled legacy strobe/flashlight applications.
  • A change in Android might have caused the inability of Samsung phones since 2016 (Galaxy S7; and S6 with Android Marshmallow update) to toggle the flashlight from the quick settings menu (also known as "drop-down menu" or "quick control center") while the camera application is running. This allowed illuminating burst shots and, more importantly, access the flash light during video recording.
  • Android Marshmallow camera glitches (behavioral changes) in Samsung devices (2016 + 2015 devices with update):
    • When attempting to launch the camera less than one second before screen timeout, the timeout takes priority. Relaunching the camera immediately afterwards causes it to close after a few seconds.
    • Relaunching camera less than ~3 seconds after entering stand-by mode causes it to close automatically after a few seconds. Solution: Exit camera with “back” or “home” key.
    • System screen rotation (independently from camera UI, that rotates its own UI elements) takes priority over photo/video recording, potentially causing delays.
    • A pop-up with the text “Camera has been opened via quick launch”[1]. with a tiny “OK” button appears, if the front-facing brightness sensor measure zero brightness and the rear proximity sensor next to the rear (main) camera detects a close surface simultaneously while launching the camera using the quick shortcut (double-press of home button). More details here.
      • That pop-up has to be exited with the tiny “OK” button. Using the “back” key instead will cause the camera application to close after five seconds, even if starting video recording during these five seconds.
      • When doing nothing, the camera application will also close after less than five seconds.
      • This inexplicably presumably deliberate software glitch defeats one of the advantages of the double-home-button-press camera shortcut: The ability to blind-start (prepare) the camera while the mobile phone is inside a pocket.
      • The lower right corner shortcut on the lock screen is unaffected by this bug.

Major features[edit]

The removal of these features have a larger impact on the compatibility, developement and functionality of third-party software running on Android, and pre-integrated features.

Feature name Removal type

Removed feature or added restriction?

Description

Functionality and usage

Feature introduced in Android version Feature removed/restricted in Android version Notes
Additional information
Significance rankLower number = prior. Possible alternative solution
Miracast[2] (also known as screen mirroring). Removed feature Allowed uesrs to wirelessly mirror the mobile phone's display to a television with built-in miracast reception, mainly Samsung, Panasonic and Sony televisions. Android 4.2 Android 6.0 Marshmallow (2016) Samsung Mobile phones have kept that feature, even after Android Marshmallow. 4. High Keep the feature. Removal unreasoned.
Ability to list some files in root directory. Restriction Allowed apps to read the names of files and subdirectories in Android's root file system. Android 1.0 Android 7.0 Nougat (2017) The same files as before can still be read directly, but when trying to access directories, they appear empty to user-installed applications. High Ability to manually grant this permission to specific apps.
USB-OTG read access Restriction Ability for user-installed apps (e.g. VLC Media Player for Android) to access external USB storage. System apps such as Google's native file manager, which has a very restricted feature range, can still be used to manage files on external storage. Android 7.0 (2017) Opening files in Google's own file manager virtually mirrors them to the fd:// protocol for access by third-party software. MTP access from PC is unaffected by this restriction. 1. Very high Ability to manually grant this permission to specific apps.
Process listing API[3] Restriction Ability for applications to list and read details such as CPU usage about running apps. Android 6.0 (2016) When requesting the process list in Android 6.0 or higher, Android's API only returns the details about the requesting app itself, and it's child processes, instad of all processes[3]. This restriction can be bypassed using Root access. 4. high Ability to manually grant this permission to specific apps.
USB-OTG write access Restriction Ability for third-party apps to write to external USB storage. Android 6.0 (2016) In Android 4.4.2 (early 2014), which made SD cards non-writeable to third-party apps, USB-OTG was not affected by that change. 4. high Ability to manually grant this permission to specific apps.
App data retention on user app uninstallation[4][5] Restriction Apps uninstalled prior to Android 4.4 kept their shared app data (user data storage: Android/data/package name and the same path on the micro SD card), while Android 4.4 onwards deletes the data, which could lead to accidential data loss. Presumably Android 1.0 Android 4.4 The private app data folder in /data (root directory) had always been deleted during uninstallation, but before Android KitKat, not the shared app data folder on the user storage space and MicroSD card. high Make this behaviour optional only.
Call recording[6] Restriction Recorded calls have been used as evidence in court cases and preserving historical family conversations.[7] Officially: Android 6.

Workaround ineffective: Android 9[7]

  • Samsung's modified Android operating system had a hidden native call recording feature that could be enabled, which however required root access.[8]
  • In Android 6, running a voice recorder application such as com.nll.asr during a phone call was possible.
3. Very high Allow call recording. Someone could still use an external microphone for that, and call recording is perfectly legitimate for the reasons previously described.
Background access to sensors, camera and microphone.[9][6][10][11][12] Restriction Anti-theft security/surveillance apps such as Haven app rely heavily on this functionality. Voice recording with more advanced third-party applications such as com.nll.asr are no longer functional. Android 9 There is no ability to enable this functionality manually for specific applications (i.e. security and anti-theft software). 2. Very high Ability to manually grant this permission to specific apps.
More than 1 apps can access microphone simultaneously Restriction Allows filming without interrupting voice recording. unknown The telephone app was still able to access the microphone while a voice recorder was running, until Android 6.0 or 7.0[which?] Medium
Third-party text selector support[2] Restriction Custom text selection menus and options. Above average; Depending on user
IR transmitter support[2] Feature removal Allowed using mobile phone with necessary hardware to transmit infrared signals for simulating a television remote control. Android 4.4 (early 2014) This feature already existed on the Samsung Galaxy S4 with Android 4.2.1 and 4.3; and on the Galaxy Note 3 with Android 4.3. High, depending on user.
/system/bin/curl[2] Feature removal Command for concatinating (“cat”)and showing the source code of webpages. Could be used to download websites and files from the internet. Could be accessed via Android Terminal applications such as jackpal.androidterm (no longer developed due to absense of Jack Palevich[13]). unknown Android 6 The wget command, which is very similar, never existed in first place on Android. High, depending on user.
App data in user storage ( Android/data/package.name/ ) Behavioural change The app data inside the Android folder in the user data storage ( /sdcard/ or /storage/emulated/0/ ) and MicroSD card ( /storage/extSdCard/ or /storage/????-????/ (volume serial number).) in the the subfolder Android/data/package.name will also get removed since Android 4.4.2. Before, it was kept during uninstallation. This change could lead to accidential data losses. Beginning Android 4.4.2 The data in the private app data storage (/data/package.name/) had always been deleted during uninstallation.
Ability for third-party applications to toggle WLAN and Bluetooth. Restriction Allowed third-party applications to automate the controls of device features such as WiFi or Bluetooth. Android 9 Medium
Ability for services to launch activities.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many Removed feature Allows devices in near proximity to communicate, similar to Nintendo StreetPass, introduced in 2011 on their 3DS console. Android 6
Native dark theme[14] Removed feature Ability to have dark backgrounds in menus and various user interfaces of applications, to reduce eye strain and save significant amonuts of battery power on AMOLED screen.
Overflow notification icon conuter Removed feature An icon with a counter in the notification icon bar in the upper left corner of the screen, which indicated that there are more notifications than the visible icons can represent due to insufficient screen space, had originally been replaced by an icon without the counter, presumably in Android 3.0. Now[when?], it has been removed entirely.

Minor features[edit]

The removal of these features does not majorly impact the usability of the device, but are still missed by users who made use of them.

Feature name Removal type

Removed feature or added restriction?

Description

Functionality and usage

Introduced in Android version Removed/Restricted in Android version Notes

Additional information

Significance Reserved column (if needed)
Ability to launch multi-window from long-pressing the task key (square since Android 5) Feature removal Depending on user
Lockscreen widgets[2] Feature removal Custom widgets for the lockscreen. Android 4.2[2] Depending on user
Live Folders[2] Feature removal Lets apps display any source of data on the home screen without requiring the user to launch an application. Android 1.5 likely Android 4.0 Mostly deprecated due to posh notifications. Below average
Ability to categorize contacts Feature removal Android 5.0 (early 2015) Samsung TouchWiz maintained that feature. Above average, depending on user.
Android Beam[2] Feature removal Above average, depending on user.
Daydream screensavers[2] Feature removal Average
Google Now[2] Feature removal Depending on user
QuickOffice No longer pre-installed Google's simple document viewer Removed by Google from the Play Store, but still downloadable as APK file. Low, because manually re-downloadable.
Recycle bin / dumpster app support Restriction Recycle bin applications prevent accidential data losses by grabbing a copy of a file in the moment it gets deleted. Android 5.0: Only some files get rescued. Android 6.0: No files get rescued at all. What exactly leads to a file being rescued or lost in Android 5.0 is unknown yet. High (depending on user)

Potentially removed in future[edit]

  • Android Debug Bridge (ADB) app+data backups.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag, only the logo of the device itself.
  • EXIF metadata and histogram viewer removed since the Galaxy Note 4's precluded gallery (photo album) software.
  • Removed on Galaxy S6: "MMS" video recording mode that records at QCIF with a maximum size of 295 KB.
  • Galaxy Note 4: Ability to save both with-HDR and non-HDR picture simultaneously.
  • Galaxy S6: Ability to create custom vibration patterns.
  • Galaxy S6 music app: "Music Square" (existed until the Galaxy Note 4).
  • Galaxy S7: No more pre-installed Samsung music app.
  • Galaxy S6: Feature removal: Date jumping in calendar (or “S Planner”) by manually entering year/month/day numbers.
  • Party mix feature in music player[note 1]
  • Pre-installed music player (no longer since Galaxy S7)
  • Samsung Video Player since Galaxy S6: Playback speed selector only shown above video player controls if a different speed than x1.0 has been set.
  • Samsung Video player since Galaxy S6: Frame skipping and the ability to save a paused frame as photo has been removed.
  • Clipboard:
    • Ability to lock items into clipboard, which prevents them to get pushed out due to the 20 item limit.
    • Ability to export photos in clipboard to gallery.
    • Clipboard items in even, consistent rows instead of three waterfall columns with varying vertical height of each displayed item.[note 2]

Hardware features[edit]

These featured are listed here temporarily for information, despite being out of the scope of this article, but another article might be created.

  • UV sensor (only existed on Galaxy Note 4)
  • Temperature and hygrometer sensors (only S4 and Note 3)
  • Options hardware key (replaced with tasks key on Galaxy S55)
  • Replaceable battery. Battery age is now a serious problem.
  • Radio (still partially exists on mid-class phones)
  • MicroSD missing on several devices, unclear if remains on S11.
  • USB 3.0 downgraded to 2.0 again on Note 4 and S6 (USB-C could technically cover USB 3.0, but whether that is implemented is unclear).
  • MHL HDMI since Galaxy S6.
  • Navigation keys outside the screen (since Galaxy S8 with display design that covers the entire front face).


Notes[edit]

  1. Difference from the normal random mode unclear.
  2. A compromise-free solution is offering the user options for both viewing modes.

Resources[edit]

External links[edit]

Reddit discussions[edit]

XDA-Developers[edit]

See also[edit]

Related navigation boxes: ElectronicsMobile phonesData storageUser experience and user interfaces

References[edit]


Article information
The original article was developed starting on July 23rd, 2019 on Wikipedia, but later deleted due to digital dementia (aggressive deletionism culture on Wikipedia).

The article was deleted on 2019-10-18, thus information added to the article between 2019-10-15 and 2019-10-18 is lost.


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