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How to remove bloatware and preinstalled Android apps

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Not all preinstalled apps on your smartphone will be of use to you. By removing apps you don’t want or need, you’ll be able to improve your phone’s performance and free up storage space. Apps you don’t need but cannot uninstall are called bloatware. With our tips, you can delete, remove, disable, or at least hide preinstalled apps and bloatware.

What is bloatware?

Bloatware is often commercial software that is preinstalled on a device by the manufacturer, whether it’s useful or not, and tends to waste memory and resources. Sometimes you’ll want to get rid of these apps that take up space on your apps list, home screen and internal storage.

Most users never touch a lot of pre-installed apps on their new phone, but rather than leave them there wasting precious computing power and slowing down your phone, it’s best to remove or at least disable them. This guide will show you how.

Uninstalling vs. disabling bloatware

When it comes to shifting annoying bloatware, you essentially have two options – disable or uninstall. Both have their pros and cons, but what are the differences? Uninstalling bloatware is the more drastic of the two options, and involves completely removing the files from your device. While this is the best way to ensure that the app will not be bothering you anymore, it is risky as it could cause problems further down the line if some of those files are needed.

Disabling bloatware is much more risk-free. It will ensure that the app does not take up valuable RAM by running in the background but it also means that the app is not really ‘gone’, in the sense that it is if you have uninstalled it. Depending on the app and your device, the choice between uninstalling and disabling certain apps might not be yours to make anyway. Let’s take a look at both approaches.

Disabling bloatware: general guidance

Many apps continue to consume resources while they’re not in active use. They also take up space in the app drawer. Since Android 4.0, however, there has been the option to disable apps.

Head to Settings > Apps.
Here, on most phones, you will find three tabs: All Apps, Disabled, and Enabled.

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By tapping on this or that app, you will notice that some apps can be uninstalled. This applies to apps you may have downloaded yourself but there will also be unnecessary bloatware that you can remove (as in the above example, the phone came with Booking.com’s app pre-installed).

Some apps cannot be uninstalled or disabled (the Settings app, for example). These apps are essential for Android to run properly.

Anything that does not fall into one of these two categories can usually be disabled unless it is on a protected system partition (some manufacturers deliberately do this with their apps).

Some apps, as with TalkBack in the next screenshot, you can disable, but there is also the option to Uninstall updates, which will reset the app to its factory state, making it a bit more lightweight.

Or, if you use a third-party app for emails, you can make the default email app on Android disappear. When disabling an app, the system warns you that some programs might not work properly afterwards. This refers to apps that rely on the app in question to function normally.

Should you change your mind, you can return to the app list and reverse the process. Every app will continue to be listed there, even if it is invisible in the app drawer. Although the layout can vary slightly depending on the manufacturer’s OS, the process is very similar on most smartphones. Below you can learn how easy it is to uninstall Samsung apps.

How to delete or disable Samsung’s preinstalled apps

Samsung’s UI deviates from stock Android in a few ways, and it comes with an alternative process to disable apps:

  • Simply open the App Drawer
  • Then long press on any app to bring up a bubble that will allow you to disable the app, or uninstall if possible.

A disabled app will no longer run in the background and will not receive any updates, eliminating unnecessary drain on resources.

How to delete preinstalled apps

It can be frustrating when you really want to delete an app but the system only lets you disable it. If you really know what you’re doing, there’s a way to get complete control over your phone’s software.

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If you are not afraid of voiding your warranty, or getting rid of certain sensitive apps like Samsung Pay or certain online banking apps, you can also root your device. Then you can completely uninstall any app. System app remover (ROOT) helps you do just that. However, be warned, doing this might make any number of other apps stop functioning properly.

 

Uninstall and disable standard Google apps

Android is a network of several software components and apps. Some of these apps become superfluous if you choose to use an alternative. The result is, after a while, dead weight in the system. Here’s a list of the standard apps that can be safely disabled once you’ve setup an alternative:

Apps and app ID

APP NAME                           APP ID
Browser                              com.android.browser
Downloads                          com.android.providers.downloads.ui
Email                                 com.android.email
Gallery                               com.android.gallery3d
Camera                              com.android.camera2
SMS/MMS                           com.android.mms
Sound Recorder                   com.android.soundrecorder
Voice Dialer                         com.android.voicedialer
Video Studio                        com.android.videoeditor

What happens if I disable Android apps?

Once disabled, the apps disappear from your app drawer, stop receiving updates and no longer run silently in the background. In addition, any apps that depend on the disabled app will stop working. Should you disable Google Play Services, for example, several system apps will go down and, more than likely, a few apps that are not directly related to Google will start to behave erratically.

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It is therefore important to have a reliably researched list of apps that do not cause collateral damage when you disable them. The above list is incomplete, and will remain that way without your help. Therefore, we invite you to share your experiences with deactivated apps in the comments.

Uninstall tons of apps

We are all guilty of being at least a little lazy when it comes to cleaning up our smartphones. Apps that we no longer use can quickly accumulate out of sight. Uninstalling individual apps through the Play Store is time consuming, so it is more practical to remove a load all at once. In our guide, we have summarized how multiple apps can be deleted at once using the free app ES File Explorer.

The first step is to download ES File Explorer from the Google Play Store.

  • Open the app. If it’s your first time opening the app, you will be presented with a short introduction, but after three taps, you will see your file index.
  • Select the icon at the top left to open the menu.
  • Under the Library header, choose APP.
  • ES File Explorer now presents an overview of the apps you have installed. A long press on an icon will select an app, and you then have the option to delete the app using the trashcan icon at the top of the screen.
  • Use the checkboxes to select multiple apps.
  • When you have finished selecting the apps you want to remove, press the uninstall button (the trashcan).

For safety, you must verify each app by pressing OK. The advantage of this is that you can choose not to delete an app you accidentally selected without having to cancel the entire operation.

There you have it, these are the best ways to delete, stop and hide those unwanted apps. When was the last time you cleaned up the apps on your phone? Do you have any questions or suggestions? Share them with us in the comments below.