Removing Apple Mobile Device Support
As mentioned before, I'm not a fan of Appple's, particularly because they tend to impose crap on me that I'm not interested in having.
I've been trying to figure out how to remove iTunes, iPod and Aple Mobile Device Support on and off now for the past month, since it was accidentally installed while trying to update to the latest safe version of QuickTime (which has since been patched again, and is therefore no longer the safe version of QuickTime - another reason why I wanted to revert to my original state before this month's update). I am, of course, using Windows Vista, so there's a good chance that Apple's technology hasn't caught up with Vista.
iTunes and the iPod service seemed to go easily enough - Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> Select iTunes, and then press Uninstall.
I'm left, though, with the "Apple Mobile Device Support", which is particularly insulting because I don't have any Apple Mobile Devices, so there's no reason why it should have ever installed in the first place.
Every time I tried to Uninstall, it would prompt me for elevation, and then apparently uninstall, although there's no final dialog to say "Uninstalled - OK".
But the icon and program name are still there in "Programs and Features", and the service itself is still present.
I eventually spend a while watching the uninstall procedure, boring as it is to watch a progress bar that reads "11 seconds remaining" then "14 seconds remaining", etc, as progress bars tend to do.
But then the progress bar does something magical - it goes backwards, and when it reaches zero, the uninstall program just quits.
Surprisingly enough, this is good news. It means that rather than the uninstall procedure hitting a random crash and bombing out, it detected an error.
Running EventVwr, I see:
Windows Installer removed the product. Product Name: Apple Mobile Device Support. Product Version: 188.8.131.52. Product Language: 1033. Removal success or error status: 1603.
Well, no, Windows Installer didn't remove the product. To find out what error 1603 means, we can quickly run "net helpmsg 1603", to find that it means:
C:\Program Files>net helpmsg 1603
Fatal error during installation.
Great. That, we already knew. So, it's a generic failure message.
Searching around, I find first, that error 1603 occurs in so many other applications, and with so many causes, that it's not going to help me much.
Apple's support is no help - searching for "uninstall apple mobile device support" gives nothing helpful:
which is surprising since there is this page:
Removing iTunes, QuickTime, and other software components for Windows XP
Removing iTunes, QuickTime, and other software components for Windows Vista
I'm not sure I trust anything that tells me "run the uninstall program, and then go ahead and delete some of the directories it left around, but be careful not to delete other directories it left" - I'm paraphrasing here.
I'll save Windows Installer logging for later, because quite by chance, I found out how to remove Apple Mobile Device Support from Windows Vista.
Instead of clicking "Uninstall", click "Change". You're given the option to "Repair" or "Remove".
As counter-intuitive as it sounds, this appears to take you through a completely different uninstall procedure, which actually results in the removal of the Apple Mobile Device Support.
After all of this, of course, Apple's Software Update once again pops up and begs me to update to QuickTime and iTunes + QuickTime.
And when iTunes + QuickTime is apparently a couple of versions ahead of QuickTime, and is selected by default, how many users are going to find themselves deceived into installing an unwanted iTunes?
Come on, Apple, an update takes existing software and advances it. Adding extra, unwanted, software isn't part of the update. Stop offering iTunes + QuickTime as an "update" to QuickTime. Even if you think iTunes is a good thing, it's not an "update", it's an "upgrade", and should not be selected by default, nor should it be described as an update.
Update - Jesper Johansson has similar issues with Apple Mobile Device Support over at his blog. This time, he's looking to remove an apparently broken version and install a working one.