TheAndroid Oreo update for theOnePlus 3 & 3T started to roll outlast monthin the form of OxygenOS 5.0. Today, the company announced the broad availability ofOxygenOS 5.0.1 which adds a support for Qualcomm’s aptX HD Bluetooth audio codec, a new Adaptive screen calibration mode, December security patches, and more. Since the update started to roll out, numerous users have been greeted with a message from Google Play Protect telling them uninstall a “harmful app” called “ FactoryMode .”
Numerous reports from users over on the OnePlus forums and on Reddit show that this message seems to be widespread. The message states that the FactoryMode app “ contains code that attempts to bypass Android’s security protections .” This is a rather vague message, but sounds pretty concerning nonetheless. So what’s going on?
Play Protect Warning Users to Uninstall FactoryMode. Credits: /u/speedlever
Apparently, the FactoryMode application replaces what was previously EngineerMode, the pre-installed system app that was exploited to gain root access . OnePlus ultimately removed the root methods which were only accessible to a user with physical access to a device andADB enabled, and they also chose to remove EngineerMode and rebrand it as FactoryMode.
For whatever reason, Google Play Protect has determined that there is some code within the FactoryMode app that is potentially harmful to security. Google Play Protect works by scanning the code of apps and looking for fingerprints that match a known collection of harmful code. It’s not perfect by any means, but the database is ever growing and totally inaccessible from users so as to hide what Google is able to detect.
As such, Play Protect does not specify what code in an app is deemed harmful. Apps such asViper4Android have triggered this message due to functionality related to changing the SELinux status to permissive. It’s possible that the FactoryMode app contains something similar which is used by OnePlus for diagnostics. Keep in mind that the FactoryMode app is a pre-installed system application, so it already has more privileges than a standard Android app.
For now, you can ignore the request from Play Protect to uninstall FactoryMode because it’s unlikely there’s anything that is actually harmful to the user in there. However, this does still lead us to question why Play Protect is flagging FactoryMode as a harmful application in the first place, and we hope that OnePlus will have an answer on that matter in the near future. We’ve reached out to OnePlus for comment and will update this article when we have received a response.
If you want to uninstall the application, then you can enter the following ADB commands (taken from our guide on uninstalling system bloatware ) in order to get rid of it:
adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.oneplus.factorymode adb shell pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.oneplus.factorymode.specialtest