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List of features removed from Android

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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).
      • 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?


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?


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]

Re-added features[edit]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.

This section documents features that temporarily disappeared from Android, then have been added again.

  • Since Android 5.0, apps (only with the API level of 20 or higher) can have write-access to the MicroSD card again.
    • Older non-updated applications with an API level of 19 or lower are unable to write to the MicroSD card, but are able to read as usual.
    • Read and write access to the application's own directory on the MicroSD card (in /storage/????-????/Android/data/package.name or /storage/extSdCard/Android/data/package.name ) has been possible as usual.
  • Android 6.0 adds equivalent feature to app-ops back.
  • Android 10: Universal dark mode. Compatible applications can adapt to the setting (similar to Linux Mint Cinnamon and KDE for common Linux distributions). Originally during Android 7 developement, but it was available in several beta versions.


Some vendors have a special set of features that have been removed from their devices, notably Samsung in 2015 with their Galaxy S6.


(List currently somewhat messy.)

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.
  • Samsung Air View in video player (show preview when hovering pen or finger above video seek bar in pre-installed video player; originally introduced on Galaxy S4; hardware for finger hovering only existed on S4, Note 3, S5 and Galaxy Alpha.)
  • Gesture control (originally introduced on Galaxy S4 (early 2013), removed on Note 4 (late 2014))
  • Mobile high-definition link (MHL) HDMI support removed in 2015 due to removed hardware capabilities.
  • Homescreen (not to be confused with app drawer):
    • Ability to drag'n'drop apps into "App Info"
    • Side-slide page navigation by holding down the dots between the bottom row and the homescreen pages. (removed in 2015 with Galaxy S6). Also applies to app drawer.
  • App drawer (lists all apps):
    • Ability to list downloaded apps exclusively.
    • Ability to show deactivated apps and reactivate multiple at a time.
    • Ability to view apps as alphabetical list without affecting the original grid view mode app arrangement.
    • Galaxy S5 setting menu view modes: List view, Grid view, Tab view.
      • On the Galaxy Note 4, List view and Tab view was available. Grid view had been removed.
      • Samsung phones until S4/Note 3 with Android 4.4.2 or lower had only one viewing method: A combination of tab view and list view, without the ability to sideswipe to the previous or next tab.
      • Phones since S6 only have list view.
    • Icons in context menus such as in S Browser
    • S Browser: Ability to force open a website inside the same tab without opening a new tab, by holding a link and selecting "Open" (plain word) in the pop-up menu that appears. This menu entry has been removed in late 2016 (Note 7: Android 6. Older phones: Android 7.)
    • S Browser change: Since 2015, opening the 51th tab does close the oldest tab.
  • 2160p video recording limited to 10 minutes (Since: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 with Android 6 and older phones with Android 7. Earlier limit: 5 minutes; Galaxy S7 with Android 6 had no fixed time limit.)
  • Since Galaxy Note 4 (and Galaxy S5/Note 3/S4 with Android 5.0 update), the background colour of the menus have been changed to white instead of black, which
    • This change defeated the main benefit of AMOLED displays: dark pixel power saving. It also reduces the lifespan of the AMOLED display and could be straining to the eyes, which can be worked around by using the "negative colour" view mode.
  • (minor) Number shown when adjusting the brightness (left screen side) or volume control (right screen side) inside the video player by sliding up or down with the finger.
  • Camera app: Ability to choose video bitrate ("quality") in 3 levels of high, medium, low. (removed since Galaxy S4). Not to be confused with video resolution setting.
  • Toolbox feature (App shortcuts): Only existed on Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Alpha.
  • Movable on-screen soft keys (existed on Note 4; other phones unknown)
  • Only existed on Note 4: ultraviolet sensor.
  • Ability to launch multi-window applications from side bar without interfering with current app or interrupting app that does not support multi window. (only on Note 4: made split screen and S-Pen window interconnected)
  • Changes in software key handling
  • Camera setting menu since Galaxy S6: No more icons + camera viewfinder does no longer stand by behind setting menu, and needs to be reloaded when returning to the camera.
  • Since Galaxy S6: Custom camera shortcuts.
  • On the S5 and Note 4, holding the task key for 2 seconds or more simulates a press on the option key.
    • Before, a long press on the option key simulated the Search key. until the Galaxy Note 4).
  • 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.
    • Ability to export photos in clipboard to gallery.
    • Clipboard items in even, consistent rows instead of three columns with varying vertical height of each displayed item.
  • Since Galaxy S5: Model number (e.g. SM-N9005 for European Galaxy Note 3) does no longer appear on the initial boot screen, 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 (how does it differ from the normal random mode?)
  • 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.
    • Ability to export photos in clipboard to gallery.
    • Clipboard items in even, consistent rows instead of three columns with varying vertical height of each displayed item.-->


Potential sources of information (draft article)[edit]

Reddit discussions[edit]


See also[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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