Use a Different Launcher on Vivo Phones

The problem

Vivo phones come with this weird restriction where you cannot change the default launcher… without signing into a Vivo account.

You can try and change the default launcher. But even though the menu looks like it will let you, as soon as you hit the home button, the default launcher will be reset to Vivo’s own.

…but I don’t want to create a Vivo account and have no intentions of giving over any data to Vivo, and even if I could make a burner account I find the entire process to be too much hassle. Instead, we’re going to force the phone to accept another default launcher, dammit!

(Note: this was tested on the Vivo Y93, the only Vivo phone I have right now. Fortunate because it’s the only crappy Vivo phone I’ll ever own, unfortunate because this was not my decision and because it’s a leftover phone obtained from a family member. If I don’t find an alternative use for this phone, it’s basically e-waste. This may not work on all Vivo phones and if the process fails the device will be soft-bricked! Be careful and proceed at your own risk!)

The solution

Step 1: Install a different launcher, like Nova Launcher. I downloaded the APK from apkmirror.com and installed it with ADB, since Chinese phones do not have the Google Play Store. (I’m pretty sure I can somehow wrangle it on there, but I don’t think I want to, since that would involve logging in with my Google account, and I don’t want to on this device.)

Step 2: Enable developer options and run:

adb shell pm disable-user --user 0 com.bbk.launcher2

(Note: the package name com.bbk.launcher2 may be different if you are using a different Vivo phone. Also, the command may fail if they patched out this method in newer phones. In that case, you may be out of luck :( )

Step 3: The Vivo default home launcher will now be removed, and hitting the home button should bring up a menu showing you which launcher you’d like to set as default. Select the different launcher you installed in step 1 and make sure the “Make default” checkbox is checked.

Done! Screw you, Vivo.

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