Brandware for Android Is Coming: How to Get Rid of It

Ben Stegner 16-12-2016

Smartphones are powerful tools Less is More! 7+ Devices & Tools Your Smartphone Can Replace Phones have gone through an incredible evolution over the past few years. Besides serving as mobile phone and a tiny window into the world wide web, the modern smartphone accommodates a multitude of tools. The... Read More , capable of keeping you connected to the world, controlling home gadgets 4 Ways Your Smartphone Will Drive Smart Home Technologies Smart home technology is still very much a niche interest; but that could soon change because of the humble smartphone you have in your pocket. Here’s why. Read More , and so much more. Unfortunately, your phone doesn’t have much function without a carrier to back it.


Big phone carriers like Verizon and AT&T are consistently hated among users, and it’s not hard to see why. Carriers make smartphones a lot worse How Your Carrier Can Make Your Smartphone Dumb & What You Can Do Looking for contacts on my wife’s Android phone this morning, I was astonished at how slow the process had become. After eventually creaking through the menu for the details I needed, I switched the device... Read More by adding bloatware, throttling your data, and all sorts of other nonsense.

Verizon recently revealed its plans to introduce a new form of annoyance onto its Android phones. Let’s take a look at this “brandware” and what it means for Android users.

What Is Brandware?

If you know about Android phones (or Windows PCs How to Easily Remove Bloatware From Windows 10 Windows 10 comes with its own set of pre-installed apps. Let's look at the methods you can use to remove the bloatware on your PC and debloat Windows 10. Read More ), you’ve probably heard of bloatware. A colloquial name for any unwanted software, bloatware on Android usually refers to pre-installed apps that a user doesn’t want, but can’t remove. This is common from manufacturers like Samsung and HTC, but it also comes from carriers like Sprint or AT&T. Google’s pure Android Nexus phones How to Get the Stock Android Experience on Any Phone You can get the stock Android experience on almost any Android phone with these apps, including a stock Android launcher and more. Read More (and the new Pixel Google Pixel XL Review and Giveaway Google's first branded device delivers one of the best devices in the Android ecosystem: the $770 Pixel XL. The XL launched with similar specs as the $500 Nexus 6P, but is it worth $770? Read More ) generally don’t suffer from the bloatware problem.

Bloatware apps are usually either useless, such as Samsung stock apps that duplicate built-in Android functionality Replace Samsung Apps With These Better Alternatives Whether you have a Samsung device and want to avoid the built-in apps, or you just want some of those cool Samsung features, these are apps you should check out. Read More , or annoying, such as apps full of advertisements or other low-quality junk.

Brandware, on the other hand, refers to an app specifically designed to promote a company. With brandware, Verizon plans to load up your brand-new phone with apps from the likes of Burger King, Coca-Cola, and Taco Bell. Of course, the companies will pay Verizon a fee to include their apps on phones, making the carrier even more money in the process.


While fast-food apps like these are pretty useful The 10 Best Fast Food Restaurant Apps for Android Looking for the best fast food restaurant apps? We've found the best Android apps for ordering food and earning rewards. Read More , it’s off-putting to have them installed for you on a new device.

Bloatware Installation

The reason that bloatware is such a pain is because manufacturers install it to the system partition of the device. This space is reserved for system apps like the Google Keyboard What Is the Best Alternative Keyboard for Android? We take a look at some of the best keyboards in the Play Store and put them to the test. Read More and Phone app, so they can’t be uninstalled by the user unless you root your device The Complete Guide to Rooting Your Android Phone or Tablet So, you want to root your Android device? Here's everything you need to know. Read More . If bloatware is installed on your system partition, the best you can hope for is disabling it.

burger king android

Google has responded to this trend by creating a new partition for vendors in newer versions of Android. This allows vendors to pre-install brandware apps, or download them from Google Play when the device is set up, on a separate partition. However, this new space allows the user to remove apps they don’t want. While we wish bloatware didn’t exist at all, this is a better solution because it at least gives the user some control.


For brandware, this could also signify a waste of time for the brands. If the McDonald’s app is installed on your new phone and you don’t want it, you’re going to remove it. This means that McDonald’s has wasted the money it paid to Verizon to put that app on your phone. However, it also boosts the download numbers for the app on Google Play Why You Shouldn't Trust App Ratings on Google Play You need a new camera app; you open Google Play and find 50. Naturally, you install the highest-rated one. Guess what? You just got tricked. Read More , making it look more popular than it is.

Removing Brandware and Bloatware

If brandware strikes, it isn’t too much of a pain to remove. You can uninstall it just like any other Android app How to Uninstall Unwanted Apps on Android Want to remove Android apps that won't uninstall normally? Here are the options to uninstall apps for rooted and non-rooted devices. Read More .

The process may differ slightly depending on your version of Android Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More . Open the Settings app and scroll down to Apps. Find the app you want to remove; you may have to scroll left or right to find the All column if it was pre-installed. Tap the app’s name when you find it.

uninstall app android


On the resulting screen, you can hopefully tap Uninstall to remove it. If you don’t see that option, or if it’s greyed out, the app is likely on the system partition. You can tap Disable to keep the app from running. This won’t uninstall it, so it still takes up space on your device, but it won’t waste resources in the background, either.

If you’d like a more advanced method, have a look at our guide to removing bloatware without rooting How to Remove Bloatware on Android Without Rooting Did your phone come with a bunch of crappy apps pre-installed? Let us show you how to get rid of them the easy way. Read More . We’ve also discussed ways to remove bloatware if you don’t mind rooting your phone What You Need to Know About Removing Android Bloatware Lots of phones come with annoying pre-installed software, but you can remove it. Here's how. Read More .

Avoid Carrier Phones

In the future, a great way to avoid this ridiculousness is to stop buying your phone from a carrier. When you buy an HTC phone from Verizon, you have to deal with not only HTC’s bloatware, but Verizon’s as well. Thankfully, buying an unlocked phone not only saves you money Never Buy a Phone From Your Carrier! Buy Unlocked Phones and Save Hundreds Unlocked phones can cost a fortune, but the savings more than make up for it. You can save thousands by not signing a contract. We've got six phones that come contract free! Read More but headaches as well.

One great way to do this is joining an MVNO 10 Money-Saving 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 , such as Republic Wireless The 10 Cheapest Mobile Phone Plans in the US Right Now [Cheat Sheet Included] There are plenty of cheap mobile phone plans available if you know where to look. Read More . These carriers charge lower prices than the big names, and use the same networks to deliver services What Is an MVNO and How Does It Save Money on Your Cellular Bill? [MakeUseOf Explains] In the US and Canada, we're taught that we need to sign contracts because cell phones and cellular service are so pricey. That's a bald-faced lie. Read More . Aside from software specific to their services, they rarely load up phones with junk like the big carriers. If you want to use a Nexus or Pixel phone, we’re big fans of Google’s Project Fi Is Project Fi Worth It? 7 Things to Know Before You Switch Google's Project Fi is a low-cost but powerful mobile plan. Here's what you need to know if you're thinking of switching to Project Fi. Read More : it’s an excellent way to get a bloat-free phone for a great price.


Even if you want to still use Verizon’s service, you don’t have to purchase your phone through them. As long as the device is compatible with its network, you can buy a phone unlocked directly from HTC, Samsung, or even Amazon. Then, take it to Verizon and ask them to activate it. This avoids the brandware and bloatware while still providing service to your phone.

Why Doesn’t This Happen on iPhone?

It’s a shame that Verizon abuses one of the greatest strengths of Android: its openness Is Android Really Open Source? And Does It Even Matter? Here we explore whether or not Android is really open source. After all, it is based on Linux! Read More . Apple’s iOS is locked down, so carriers can’t customize it like they do with Android. Whether you buy an iPhone from Verizon or Apple, it’s going to have the same apps installed on it. You might be drawn to Android if you don’t fancy staying in Apple’s walled garden, but that’s where the carriers step in.

Verizon or AT&T can take advantage of Android’s easy customization just as easily as you can The Best Android Tweaks You Can Make Without Rooting Android tweaks aren't only for tech geeks. Here's how to get the most out of your non-rooted Android phone or tablet! Read More . It’s not a problem to add a few apps here and there into their standard image so that everyone gets to deal with bloatware. Android experts can always install a custom ROM How to Install a Custom ROM on Your Android Device Ready to revitalize your Android phone or tablet? Installing a custom ROM is the best way to do that -- powering it up with even better performance and features. Read More and get rid of this, but the average person doesn’t want or need to do that 4 Security Reasons Why You Should Never Root Your Android Rooting Android -- like jailbreaking iPhone -- brings with it some great function benefits. But there's a down side: what risks do you face by rooting your Android device? Read More .

Brandware Is Annoying, But You Can Avoid It

So, we’ve seen Verizon’s newest plan to annoy its customers, and how you can remove brandware or avoid it altogether. Since Android is so popular and Verizon is such a huge seller, it makes sense that they’d want to make some extra money by doing this. However, it’s a blight on Android’s name, and hopefully they cut it out before long.

Need a new Android phone? Take a look at our best Android smartphones of 2016 What's the Best Android Smartphone in 2016? Buying an iPhone is simple -- if you want the best device, you buy the newest one. If you want a cheaper one, you buy one that's a year or two old. Read More .

Have you seen brandware or had to deal with bloatware? Let us know what you think about this down in the comments!

Explore more about: Android Customization, Android Tips, Buying Tips.

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  1. Alexander Hamilton
    December 16, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Wow, a lot of words just to say "you can uninstall it like any other app."