How to clear Google Play Store & Google Play Services data / cache without allowing Google to force-update all apps on the Android device?



  • I find the Google Play Store and Google Play Services to be quite buggy. As such, I frequently need to delete the data and cache for each of them.

    The trick is figuring out a way to do this without allowing Google to update all the apps on the Android device (sometimes new app versions are buggy, remove important features, introduce unwanted bloat, or are not truly compatible with the device).

    In the past, this wasn't too difficult. One could follow these steps:

    1. Enable Airplane Mode on the device
    2. Clear the data and cache for the Google Play Store and Google Play Services
    3. Open the Google Play Store
    4. Go into Google Play Store's settings, and instruct it to not auto-update apps
    5. Disable Airplane Mode

    Now, in their infinite wisdom, Google appears to have made this impossible. If you try to open the Google Play Store in Airplane Mode, Google will not allow you to access the Play Store at all. Google even prohibits the user from changing any of the Google Play Store's local settings.

    I've even tried accessing the Google Play account from a non-Android device, but Google does not seem to make the auto-update setting available outside of the local Android device. And since Google blocks access to their own app if you don't have an active internet connection, Google has created yet another impossible and frustrating situation for their customers.

    The closest thing I've found to a workaround is to disable Airplane Mode and try to access the Google Play Store's settings before updates begin. Unfortunately, that isn't usually possible.

    This leaves the user with trying to figure out more extreme workarounds, such as trying to trick the Google Play Store app into thinking it has an internet connection without actually giving it one. I would really prefer not having to spend my time trying to figure out hypothetical workarounds like this just to deal with Google's problems.

    How can one clear the Google Play Store and Google Play Services data and cache without allowing Google to update all apps on the Android device?



  • Setting up an HTTPS intercepting proxy like Fiddler Classic or mitmproxy on a PC and then set it as http proxy on the phone would it make possible to allow only certain domains. I know that from Fiddler, Google Play does not trust the certificate of fiddler so you only see the initial CONNECT requests containing the domain name (if you have disabled privacy DNS on the phone).

    Those CONNECT requests fail because of the non-matching certificate but they allow you to recognize the domain name and then add this domain to the HTTPS intercepting domain list (in Fiddler there is text field named Skip decryption for the following hosts there you can place a space separated list of domain names).

    I would assume that you have to have to add the major domains used by Google Play before it detects that you are online. Most likely you have to skip decryption for the following domains connectivitycheck.gstatic.com play.google.com accounts.google.com android.googleapis.com. But luckily the actual downloads of apps are served from different domains (Google has a large number of download servers on *.googleusercontent.com). So even if Google Play would detect that there is an update available it will fail to download the download so in worst case you would have to open the app update list and abort each scheduled download.

    But as far as I remember Google Play is usually not that fast in starting automatic downloads.




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