What is com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver?

When you check the Google My Activity section you’ll find “used com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver” activity and this package also runnning in the background. Users don’t know the exact purpose of this app package.

com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver is the Android package of the CellBroadcastReceiver app which is a preinstalled system app that handles emergency and non-emergency alerts and presents the information to end-users based on carrier and regional regulations.

In this article, we’ll explain how does com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver, what is its exact purpose and more.

What is com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver Used For?

com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver or CellBroadcastReceiver app handles all the emergency alerts and non-emergency alerts on Android devices. It provides various notification icons for different kinds of alerts depending on the Original Equipment Manufacturer(OEM) and the Android Version.

The flow of a received SMS through the CellBroadcastService works in the following way.

  1. Firstly, an SMS is received from the Carrier network which flows to the Modem from where it is sent to the Radio Interface Layer(RIL).
  2. The Radio Interface Layer(RIL) then notifies the InBoundSMSHandler app on your device with the help of the RILNotifier app about a CDMA/GSM CellBroadcast SMS.
  3. The InBoundSMSHandler sends the CellBroadcast SMS to the CBS module for parsing and processing the message.
  4. Once the message is processed, CellBroadcastService sends the intent to the CellBroadcastReceiver app which then displays the message to the receiver.

What is CellBroadcastService?

CellBroadcastService is a messaging service framework on Android devices that is designed to deliver messages to multiple mobile phone users, in a defined area, at the same time.

It’s a one-to-many geotargeted and geofenced messaging service that supports CellBroadcast SMS decoding, geofencing for wireless emergency alert (WEA) 3.0, message duplication checks, and broadcasting messages to apps.

What Permission Configuration Does CellBroadcast Require?

Before Android 11 came out, the CellBroadcast module was signed with a Google signature instead of a platform signature, which meant that the module lost access to the signature permissions. But, all this changed after Android 11.

Android 11 defined new signature permission which means that only packages in the module can obtain the permission as they’re signed with the same key. This makes sure that the CellBroadcastReceiver app has full access to the database inside CellBroadcastService.

This app also provides permission to the SMS app for accessing the history of emergency alerts.

com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver Module Integration

CellBroadcastReceiver can be integrated with different Modules including Settings, Messaging apps and SMS Inbox.

CellBroadcastReceiver Integration with Settings

Users can access the CellBroadcasr service from Settings > Apps & Notifications > Advanced > Emergency alert. To launch the CellBroadcastReceiver app from the Settings app, the setting configuration that should be used with package name com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver inside the string cell_broadcast_receiver_package.

CellBroadcastReceiver Integration with Messaging apps

App links can be integrated into Messaging apps to open CellBroadcast message history and this integration can be found in the Android Messaging app inside Settings > Advanced > Emergency alert. For developers, this can be integrated into Messaging apps by configuring the component name for the CellBroadcast module as com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver/com.android.cellbroadcastreceiver.CellBroadcastListActivity.

CellBroadcastReceiver Integration with SMS Inbox

Developers can enable CellBroadcast messages in the default Android messaging app by overriding the enable_write_alerts_to_sms_inbox configuration using a runtime resource overlay.

How to Launch CellBroadcastReceiver app

The CellBroadcasrReceiver app can be launched from the following places:

  1. The Settings app on your device.
  2. The default Messaging app or a third-party Messaging app that links to CellBroadcast message history.
  3. A launch icon from the Android home screen.

Enabling the CMAS secret code

The CMAS service is required for mobile devices to receive Emergency Alert notifications but it has no effect on the user-side capabilities.

During an emergency, the CMAS transmits the location of the device to rescue teams. The CMAS secret code can be enabled by dialing *#*#2627#*#* on the dialer. When the secret code is sent, a message will appear indicating that CMAS has been enabled on the device.

Customizing CellBroadcast Alerts

The source code of CellBroadcast cannot be customized directly but there are some runtime resource overlays that can be used to customize the color of notifications and dimensions on dialogs.

Migrating data on CellBroadcast App

Android 11 has the new CellBroadcast app that can save user settings during hardware replacement. The CellBroadcast app has a CellBroadcastContentProvider APK that allows you to override the stock CellBroadcast APK. It also preserves the current data before the legacy implementation is removed.

To migrate message history to the CellBroadcast module, the CellBroadcastContentProvider APK must support the ContentProvider.query. The migration is done via com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver.

CellBroadcast Testing

The Android Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) verifies the functionality of app-dependent system APIs. This identifies basic compatibility problems while developing apps like app crashes, runtime errors, as well as other errors and automatically removes these incompatibilities with the new API levels.

There is also a Debug Mode that allows CMAS testers to identify and solve technical issues with CMAS systems and the device end-systems. App and Device Testers can use specific access codes to enable Debug Mode on certain end devices.

Is com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver Safe or Is it a Virus?

com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver is a safe application that is required to provide emergency and non-emergency alert notifications. It is not a Virus or Malware that causes damage to your device.

This app also doesn’t spy on your data or sell it to third parties so it is not Spyware. It is safe to use.

Can you Uninstall com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver?

You can uninstall com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver using the Android Debug Bridge(ADB) software or with the System App Remover application.

However, if you uninstall this package your device won’t provide emergency alert notifications when the device receives a message or SMS. Your device won’t notify emergency and non-emergency message alerts if this package is deleted.

If you still want to uninstall the app package then follow the two methods mentioned below.

1. Uninstall Using Android Debug Bridge(ADB)

ADB allows you to bring up a Unix shell so you can issue commands directly on the Android device. You’ll need a Windows PC to use ADB.

Step 1 – Go to Settings > System > About phone

Step 2 – Tap on the Build number 7 times to activate Developer Options.

Step 3 – Go back to the main Settings menu and tap on Developer Options to open it.

Step 4 – Enable USB debugging by tapping on it.

Step 5 – Download ADB on your PC.

Step 6 – Extract the ZIP file into a folder.

Step 7 – After extracting the ZIP file, open that folder.

Step 8 – Press and hold the shift button and right-click in a blank area.

Step 9 – Click on “Open Powershell window here.”

Step 10 – Enter the command adb devices

Step 11 – Connect your Android device to the PC using a USB data cable. 

Step 12 – Run the command adb shell pm uninstall –user 0 com.google.android.cellbroadcastreceiver and wait for a few seconds till you notice the app has been uninstalled from your device.

2. Uninstall Using System App Remover

This method requires you to gain root access to your device. If you don’t know how to root your Android device then check our Android Rooting guide. After gaining root access follow the steps below to uninstall this system app.

  1. Download and install the System App Remover application.
  2. Launch the application, search for CellBroadcastReceiver and select this app by tapping on it.
  3. Tap the “Uninstall” button to completely remove the app from your device.

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