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how to get rid of bloatwareMany Android phones come packed with useless software preinstalled by the device’s manufacturer and your cellular carrier No Longer Tied to a Cellular Contract? 10 Reasons You Should Switch To An MVNO No Longer Tied to a Cellular Contract? 10 Reasons You Should Switch To An MVNO Are you out of contract with your cellular provider? Rather than upgrading your phone, and signing a new contract, consider switching to a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO. You can save hundreds, even thousands,... Read More . Sprint even includes a NASCAR app with some of their phones. This bloatware takes up valuable storage space How To Free Storage Space On Your Android Device How To Free Storage Space On Your Android Device Here is a common problem: Running out of storage space on your Android device. Next thing you know, you can't install that cool new game, or get weird errors because you don't have enough space.... Read More , clutters your list of installed apps, and may even run automatically at startup, draining battery power Squeeze More Life From Your Android Battery With These Apps Squeeze More Life From Your Android Battery With These Apps So how do you know how well your battery is holding up? And if you just got a new Android, how can you make sure you are getting the most efficient use of your battery... Read More in the background.

Unlike on a Windows laptop, which also come packed with useless software How To Make Your PC A Microsoft Signature PC Without Paying $99 How To Make Your PC A Microsoft Signature PC Without Paying $99 Windows PCs are notoriously junk-filled out-of-the-box. Buy a Microsoft Signature PC from a Microsoft Store (yes, Microsoft has a handful of stores across the US) and you’ll find it free of the usual junk. Soon,... Read More , it takes a bit of work to actually uninstall these apps on Android. Android 4.0 and newer versions of Android allow you to get rick of bloatware fairly easily, but there’s a catch.

Disabling Bloatware on Android 4.0+

To disable preinstalled bloatware on a device running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or newer, open the Settings screen, tap Apps, and swipe over to the All category.

how to get rid of bloatware

Scroll down until you find a preinstalled app you want to disable and tap it. If the app has an icon in your app drawer, you can also press and hold on the app’s icon and drag it to the App Info option at the top of your screen to access its details screen.

remove bloatware

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Tap the Disable button to disable a preinstalled app. You’ll see a warning, so ensure you aren’t disabling anything important. Many built-in Android system apps cannot be disabled, but some important apps can be disabled. Use your best judgment – for example, disabling a NASCAR app is fine, but disabling the Messaging app will prevent you from sending and receiving SMS messages unless you have a third-party SMS app installed on your phone.

remove bloatware

You can find disabled apps at the bottom of the All apps list. Tap a disabled app and tap the Enable button to re-enable it.

remove bloatware

Disabled Bloatware Still Wastes Storage Space

The above process only disables the useless software. It won’t appear in your app drawer and can’t run in the background, so this helps declutter your phone and save battery power. However, the bloatware apps remain installed in the system partition. Apps installed in this special partition are locked in read-only mode so they’ll persist after you factory reset your phone. This ensures useful apps – like Gmail, Google Play, or the Android system apps – remain installed even after a factory reset Dealing With System Problems In Android: Safe Mode, Factory Reset & Restoring Backups Dealing With System Problems In Android: Safe Mode, Factory Reset & Restoring Backups Android phones are extremely customizable and they give you the freedom to experiment to your heart’s desire. One inevitable side effect of this freedom, however, is that sometimes your phone encounters a problem or two.... Read More . However, bloatware abuses this mechanism, wasting your phone’s valuable storage space.

Actually Removing Bloatware

Most people will be okay with disabling the bloatware and forgetting about the wasted space. But let’s say you actually want to remove this bloatware and free up that space. There are several ways to do this, all of which will technically void your phone’s warranty – so exercise caution.

how to remove bloatware

Disabling Bloatware on Older Versions of Android

On an older version of Android, you can’t easily disable the bloatware with the included interface. However, you can root your Android phone How To Root Your Android Phone With SuperOneClick How To Root Your Android Phone With SuperOneClick Read More and use an app like Titanium Backup How To Freeze Or Uninstall Apps That Came With Your Phone [Android] How To Freeze Or Uninstall Apps That Came With Your Phone [Android] One of the biggest problems Android has is that vendors are obsessed with the concept of somehow “adding value” to their devices. Instead of just shipping Android as it was meant to be used, Samsung,... Read More (paid) or Gemini App Manager (free) to disable the app in the same way it would be disabled on Android 4.0. This is often referred to as “freezing” an app, as it blocks all access to it.

If you don’t want to root and just wish the bloatware wouldn’t clutter your app drawer, you could also try using a third-party launcher 5 Awesome Free Launchers You May Not Know About [Android] 5 Awesome Free Launchers You May Not Know About [Android] I'm an Android user because I love to tinker with my phone and change it up every once in a while. Android lets me do that easily right out of the box because it was... Read More . Many of these launchers, such as Nova Launcher Nova Launcher - Even Better Than The Default Android 4.0 Launcher Nova Launcher - Even Better Than The Default Android 4.0 Launcher Up until Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) came along, Android’s interface felt somewhat less polished than iOS’s. But with Android 4.0, Google made a clean break with the previous visual style for Android, introducing Holo... Read More , have a built-in feature that allows you to hide app icons from your app drawer. If these apps are still running in the background, they’ll continue to waste some battery power – but at least you’ll reduce the clutter.

how to remove bloatware

Buying Phones Without Bloatware

Not all Android devices are saddled with bloatware. Nexus devices Google Launches 3 New Nexus Devices, Android 4.2 & Other Goodies [Updates] Google Launches 3 New Nexus Devices, Android 4.2 & Other Goodies [Updates] Google has just announced no less than three new devices, along with what they call a “new flavor” of Jellybean – Android 4.2. The new devices are Nexus 4, the newest of the Nexus smartphone... Read More sold straight from Google, such as the Nexus 4 Google Nexus 4 Review and Giveaway Google Nexus 4 Review and Giveaway Even though I am an iPhone user and have been since the first generation iPhone was announced by the late Steve Jobs back in 2007, I've tried to keep an open mind about viable alternatives.... Read More , come without any bloatware and feature Google’s vision of a pure Android software experience.

We wish we didn’t have to recommend a single device or single line of devices here, as diversity and choice is the strength of Android. However, other Android device manufacturers aren’t providing Android phones with clean, uncluttered operating systems. You can get that uncluttered experience by installing a third-party ROM like Cyanogenmod on a phone, but average users shouldn’t be required to do this. For an out-of-the-box Android experience, go Nexus and send a message to Android manufacturers and carriers.

how to get rid of bloatware

What’s the worst bloatware you’ve ever seen on an Android phone? Leave a comment and share your horror stories or tips for overcoming bloatware!

Image Credit: Johan Larsson on Flickr

  1. Cele3thehacker3
    September 28, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Worst bloatware? That's easy in my opinion. My android tablet came with a bunch of ANT+ based apps, as well as apps for literally every kind of addon you could think of, which totalled up to be about 2gb. Now, my tablet was 16gb, but 2gb is still a hog. Personally, I found a custom rom floating around, installed it (at the time, my tablet was too new that all the root exploits I was aware of, like kingroot, towelroot, etc), and then just grabbed a bloatware remover from the play store. I'm fine now, though I really don't see a reason I should have apps like "hancom office viewer", forced without my approval. All that I think should be needed are the basics. A browser, settings application, and the play store, as well as the internal apps used to run each device on their own. Maybe have a few 1st party apps. However, if you must provide a 3rd party app, please leave us an option to uninstall it, as if I were to download, say, angry birds, and no longer wanted it. Yes, I know that android is open source now, and anyone can build a custom rom, but you shouldn't have to destroy your warranty just because you want to use the apps you were familiar with, not having a default of some new app you never heard of.

  2. James L Long
    July 1, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    They manufacturers and carrier's claim that bloatware enables them to subsidisedsubsidised cheap phones. Really do they think we are idiots. How are $700 + prices and monthly instalments that will continue until you stop them subsidised prices.And you can get real cheap phones online. As far as one person's bloatware is another's favorite app maybe but if the are not capable of installing it themselves the wild not be able to operate it anyway.
    J Long

  3. anonymous
    March 11, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Microsoft Office on a Samsung Galaxy Tab E United States version,

  4. bromberg
    February 11, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    FYI ..typo: "rick" s.b. "rid"
    Thanks for the info,

  5. David T
    December 22, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    I've got a google spreadsheet with a list of android apps with as much info as I can find. References to safe to freeze/remove, where I believe it came from, links to more info if available etc.:

    If you want to help update/curate the list send me a message with your google E-mail and I'll give you edit privileges (E-mail address is at the top of the sheet) :)

  6. IP Grunt
    December 11, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    The author states that

    "Android allow you to get rick of bloatware fairly easily"

    Who is this rick?

    Is he responsible for the bloatware?

    If so, please publish his email address -- I have a few questions for him.

  7. Wendy Johnston
    July 1, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    I did the "disable" thing for my unused bloatware (specifically "Bell TV" and "Google Hangouts", and a few others), and it gave me the warnings, disabled the app, freed up the space, and all was good -- for about 5 seconds. Literally seconds later, I get a notification that it's updating and re-enabling everything I disabled. Try it again, same result. Wonderful. It restarted all the apps (which are not essential, nor have I ever opened them) and now they just run indefinitely. My LG reeeeally wants me to use those apps, apparently.

  8. Haris Saeed
    June 5, 2015 at 8:42 am

    I have a Samsung galaxy S5 LTE-A Korean phone, it is updated in normal Samsung UI how do I get rid of the bloat ware on the Samsung UI

    • Tori
      January 1, 2016 at 6:29 pm

      @ I know what you mean. Every time my phone dies it reinstall all of the apps I disabled/deleted.

      The worst offender is Air G and Zoosk dating app. I am a married woman and my Husband thank god believed me when I showed him otherwise it could be pretty awkward that his wife is looking at chat and dating apps......

      Stupid phone

  9. 53north
    March 1, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Bought the little Jb alcatel s'pop as i knew it roots easy with 1click apks. Boy, I'm glad it does ... 300Mb of Amazon & Google apps on a mini phone!
    Felt so good uninstalling them, I think the phone sighed to get them off...

  10. john
    September 10, 2013 at 8:31 am

    I have the new Maximus HD 12.0.1 custom rom flashed on my HTC One. I also installed GO SMS App for my text messages. Unfortunately when a text comes in it comes in on both apps. Is it possible to delete the app that came with the rom without affecting anything else . ??

  11. Alexmrb
    August 25, 2013 at 1:01 am

    I bought an LG e720 (actually, it was handed down to me after 3 years of usage,) and the bloatware from LG and Bell Mobility combined left about 20 MEGABYTES of internal storage space left on the device out of around 200MB. Luckily, it was running Android 2.2 (Froyo,) so I fired up Z4Root, booted the device into temporary root mode, installed Link2SD and uninstalled the behemoth of useless crap which LG and Bell included.

    (PS-Bell mobility is a Canadian cell carrier, FYI)

  12. Teresa J
    August 5, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    I have an LG Motion 4G through MetroPCS. There are a few things I was able to fully uninstall by myself that came on the phone, like live wallpapers, for instance. However, there are a lot of other things that I don't ever use and take up lots of space such as Google Play Magazines. I am never going to use this feature, nor the Google Play movies & TV app. How do I remove these? All I can every figure out to do is clear the cache or uninstall the updates, but then it'll automatically reinstall the updates on its own later, so that just wastes my time. What can i do? I Do not know what it means to root a phone. Please help. Thank you.

  13. Chinmay S
    July 28, 2013 at 4:28 am

    Samsung Galaxy S4 has the most bloatware. I recently bought 16GB model but i was shocked when i saw 8GB was already occupied by pre-installed apps.

    • Alexmrb
      August 25, 2013 at 1:03 am

      Microsoft does the same thing with their surface tablets, except that the OS alone takes up half of the storage space.

  14. Lawrie Cherniack
    April 16, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    I wish I knew how to deal with bloatware. I have a Google Nexus S with Android 4.1.2. When Google divided Google Play into Google Play, Google Magazine, Google Music, Google Books, and prevented any of these from going to the SD card, my phone memory has filled up tremendously. I couldn't uninstall Magazine, Music, and Books, but I did undo all the updates, and that released some memory. I now have only 17% memory left, and am still experiencing some problems with the actual phone. I had to change the setting for "automatic update" as well. I am afraid to take risks with rooting the phone or doing anything "geeky", since I don't have the knowledge. But the situation is very annoying -- to the point that I am thinking of cashing in my remaining 15 months of contract to get a phone with more memory.

    • Kannon Yamada
      April 17, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      Lawrie, good choice in phones, by the way.

      Also, did you know that it's cheaper to stay off contract? If your Nexus S comes from AT&T or T-Mobile, you can just buy a MVNO SIM card and swap out your old SIM. It's really, really easy to do. Here's what an MVNO is.

      If you want to upgrade your phone, it's substantially cheaper to buy your own unlocked. And (if you have AT&T or T-Mo) then just do a SIM card swap. It doesn't take any technical knowledge, either.

      Most people save about $400-500 a year. However, if you barely use your phone, you can save as much as $1,000 or more per year by switching to what's called a Pay-Go plan. I get into what plan works best for you here.

      However, all users can save tons of money by switching over to a carrier like StraightTalk, which offers $45 per month plans, without a contract.

  15. A.D.
    April 16, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    I think it's called crapware; bloatware is a different thing.

  16. Tug R
    April 16, 2013 at 10:41 am

    This is exactly why my next phone will be of the Nexus variety. I get that bloatware partially subsidizes the phone, but it's still aggravating as a consumer.

  17. Bob Henson
    April 16, 2013 at 8:01 am

    The suggested method of disabling doesn't work on my HTC Incredible S running ICS 4.0.4. There is no disable option, in the same position on the screen as shown in your shots is only an option to remove previous updates. I wholeheartedly concur that an international campaign to buy only those phones that have "pure" Android would help a lot. It won't happen, but it's a nice thought.

    • Diana
      June 8, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      I've found a way to disable on mine that might work for yours, even though I have a Samsung. When you're in the application manager under "all", choose the app you want to disable, deselect "show notifications", then uninstall updates. For mine, that reset the applications to factory version. When it was done, I had to click on the the application again but then the disable button showed up and I was able to disable from that point. It's a lot slower process but it does work. I don't know yet if they stay disabled. I suspect if you have to reboot your phone, they'll all re-enable themselves but hopefully if you don't update these apps, you'll be able to keep them set at factory version and be able to disable them again.

  18. Nevzat A
    April 16, 2013 at 6:26 am

    The biggest bloatware is Samsung's Touchwiz, and many Samsung apps that are the duplicates of the Google services and apps. Samsung even made their own sync ecosystem, where it syncs contacts, settings, photos to it's cloud. I've disabled many of the services in settings and used Nova Launcher instead of TouchWiz, now I have hundredths of megabytes more free RAM.

    • gresham
      April 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      What has made Samsung top the android platform is touch wiz which is a step ahead of pure or stock android. Touch wiz is refined android and the results are there for all to see as Samsung now is head above even stock android. So let's not view touchwiz as bloatware but the best android featured os.

      • Nevzat A
        April 18, 2013 at 5:42 pm

        Maybe I was a little harsh to TouchWiz but it's a matter of choice. TW brings so many things but also needs more system resources which is crucial for the smooth operation of a limited-hw Android phone. I like it's innovative features, but my phone's RAM becomes less usable by other applications and battery lasts shorter.

      • Giovanni
        July 6, 2013 at 11:27 pm

        There are a lot of other factors as to why Samsung tops the android based phones.

        And TouchWiz has some of the biggest bloatware possible. I'm not saying TW's bad, and for the casual facebook addicted dude or dudette TouchWiz can be handy and nice looking.

        But there are a trainload of features not neccessary and eating up resources. For example, why does Samsung need a second Play Store? It's basically the same thing but with samsung apps. And it's forced to run and update sometimes.

        No doubt Samsung gets my respect for their great phones and accomplishments, but TouchWiz is nothing better than other bloatware loaded operating systems.

  19. Chris Marcoe
    April 16, 2013 at 2:25 am I go. Jumping into the Custom ROM pool. Wish me luck!!!

    • Kannon Yamada
      April 17, 2013 at 11:42 pm

      Good luck Chris!

      I would at this point suggest three key things - first, avoid rooting phones that have overly complex instructions. For example, Sony phones are notoriously hard to root. However, if you have a Nexus, it's remarkably easy.

      Second, you must install a custom recovery. Without the recovery, you will not be able to recover the phone in the event of a disaster.

      Third, once you have the recovery, make a complete Nandroid backup (which is a copy of your entire operating system) and find a way to backup the backup. I always save my backups to Dropbox.

  20. Kirby
    April 16, 2013 at 12:07 am

    I bought an ASUS Memo Pad last week and there are indeed pre installed apps there. My dilemma is that I don't know which of this are system recommended apps and which are the bloatware.

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