Android How to

Bloatware: what is inflated software and how to remove it

Written by Hassan Abbas

The manufacturers of Android smartphones sell their devices as part of the memory occupied by Bloatware. We explain what it is and how to eliminate it.

We all got excited the first time we opened the box of our new smartphone and we took care of the initial configuration. Some even contemplate it for several minutes in all possible angles. However, after the euphoria, the feeling of emotion becomes a frustration to discover the number of pre-installed applications that come standard on the device and that there is no way to eliminate. It is Bloatware or inflated software that does nothing more than occupy part of the memory uselessly with applications that the user will never or almost never use. Today we are going to explain what Bloatware is and how to eliminate it.bloatware

What is Bloatware?

Today there are Android applications for almost everything, more or less useful, curious or fun. However, the average user usually uses a very small number of apps. This number is usually even lower than the number of applications that are already included in Android devices as soon as we acquire them and that they are never or almost never used. This set of apps is what we call Bloatware or inflated software.

There are usually four different types of Bloatware:

  • The device manufacturer’s Bloatware: each manufacturer of smartphones and tablets tries to add value to applications and services exclusive to their brand. Although they may be useful, not all users are interested in all of them. Samsung, for example, includes Bixby, a new virtual assistant quite invasive, in addition to health apps, store, mail, tape recorder and a list of things that anyone could consider surplus or would prefer to have through third-party services.
  • Google Apps: Android device manufacturers who want to access Google Play must include the entire Google apps package. Some of them are used by the vast majority of users, such as Maps, Gmail, YouTube or Chrome, but others, such as Google Play Books, Duo, or Google Play Movies only serve to occupy memory.
  • Advertising: can be considered the worst of all. Some brands or developers of games or apps can sign agreements with manufacturers to include certain promotion packs on their devices such as demos of Gameloft games or Kindle stores.
  • Third-party applications: certain third-party apps such as Facebook or WhatsApp are already so widespread that some manufacturers already include them in their devices with the intention of making it easier for users to set up the smartphone or tablet during the first configuration. However, the few users who do not use them at all will consider them Bloatware.

How to remove Bloatware without root

Can pre-installed applications be deleted without being root? Yes absolutely. Actually, what you can do is disable pre-installed applications in the system without physically removing them from the device. However, if what you are looking for is a way to increase the available internal memory, you will have to choose another type of methods that in most cases need root.

There are many reasons that could prevent you from deactivating some pre-installed applications and root is not always a viable possibility because of the manufacturer’s warranty. So, how can it be done without entering the world of customized mods and ROMs?

It’s easy: just connect the smartphone to the PC and continue to be a guide. Thus, you can disable any application, such as the system launcher or even the annoying Samsung Bixby. In theory, the applications included by the manufacturers can be suppressed almost completely, which will allow gaining speed and some autonomy avoiding that the useless applications remain running in the background. To achieve this, you need the Android Debug Bridge or A B tool from the Android SDK development kit, access the Android debug mode and the App Inspector app:bloatware

  1. Step 1: Download and install Android SDK on your Windows computer.
  2. Step 2: On the phone, go to Settings> About phone> Software information > Touch 7 times in succession Build number> Activate Developer mode.
  3. Step 3: A new Developer Options menu will appear > Enable USB Debug Mode.
  4. Step 4: Download and install App Inspector, an application that will allow you to find the exact name of the applications you want to remove from your phone.
  5. Step 5: On the PC, access the Android SDK ADB tool that allows you to communicate with an instance of an emulator or an Android device connected from the command line (System Symbol) using the line ‘ cd C: \\ ADB‘.
  6. Step 6: After searching for the name of the package to be deleted, the user must request access to the hardware to make modifications using the ADB shell command.
  7. Step 7: Write the command pm uninstall -k -user 0 ‘ package name’. If you wanted, for example, to deactivate the Google Music app, the command would be as follows: ADB shell pm uninstall -k -user 0
  8. Step 8: Pressing Enter should output the Success message.

Can the applications removed by this method be recovered?

Yes, but only by restoring the factory settings of the smartphone. Unfortunately, you can only cancel the command by reinstalling the application from the Google Play Store and all the manufacturers’ applications are not available in the Google application store. In this case, all would not be lost but, to recover them, it will be necessary to restore the phone’s factory values. With this, we want to say that we must be very careful with what is eliminated and not do it if the process is not understood at 200%.

How to remove Bloatware with root

If the Android device that you want to clean of useless applications is rooted, the method to follow is much simpler and just download an application and follow the following steps:

  1. Step 1: Download and install NoBloat from the button that we include below.
  2. Step 2: Open the application and accept the message that grants superuser permissions.
  3. Step 3: Go to the System Applications menu to see all the apps pre-installed on the device.
  4. Step 4: choose the app you want to remove to see the different options available.
  5. Step 5: Disable or delete the app according to your preference (you can also make a backup in case of avoiding a possible mismatch).
  6. Step 6: Test that the phone works correctly after the process.
  7. Step 7: If the process fails or strange behaviour is detected in the device and it has been backed up, it can be restored in the ‘Backed Up Apps’ menu.
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About the author

Hassan Abbas

Tech enthusiast with too many items on his wish-list and not nearly enough money! Specializing in all things tech, with a slight Apple bent he has been writing for various blogs for the best part of (too many) years

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