They are there every time you turn on the mobile phone or tablet: preinstalled apps, games or utilities that the manufacturer decided to embed on Android so you could not get rid of them. Here we let you know the best ways to deal with them.
Turn your phone or tablet on and look at the icons. Many you recognize because you downloaded them yourself, but if you look at the other ones, which have never been opened, you’ll wonder how they got there. They were there from the beginning. They are preinstalled apps.
There are two types of preinstalled apps: those belonging to the Android system and those the device manufacturer decides to add because of brand or trade agreements. For practical purposes, however, they act the same: they can’t be uninstalled like the normal ones.
S-Voice, ChatOn, Samsung Apps: The usual Galaxy “bloatware” (source)
You can argue long and hard about whether the apps that include Samsung, LG, Sony, Huawei and Asus on their devices are useful or not, but what is clear is that their presence adds confusion and sometimes drains valuable resources such as data connection or battery.
It’s because of this visual pollution – and the storage space it occupies – that preinstalled Android apps are known as bloatware, a derogatory play on words that sums up the problems of unwanted software.
Can preinstalled apps be deleted / uninstalled?
Yes, but it’s complicated. You can only remove them with “superuser” or “root” permissions, which are achieved by modifying the operating system. Achieving the status of “root” on Android is often a risky maneuver, as it can damage the device. It is not for beginners.
But even if you had root permissions and you deleted the preinstalled apps with apps like NoBloat or Root App Delete, it wouldn’t help you much, since the space would be released in the system partition, and therefore you could not use it to install normal apps.
Why erasing preinstalled apps is useless
Preinstalled live in the System partition (/system). You can imagine that partition as a home where Android and its applications are found. When you delete a preinstalled app using root permissions, you are freeing up space in the /system partition.
Preinstalled apps are found in System (orange); the normal ones are in Data (green)
If applications were preinstalled on the data partition (/Data), which is what Android use to store all your data, apps and games downloads, removing them would be easy. But as they are in the system partition, their forced removal won’t free reusable storage for your files.
What should you do with pre-installed apps
For years, Android has let you disable preinstalled and system applications. Disabling an app effectively shuts it down and makes it disappears from your list of applications, so that is no longer loaded into memory nor using up device resources.
To disable an app, go to Settings > Apps, select an app and click the Disable button. Confirm and the app is disabled. To re-enable it, just visit its listing on Google Play or return to the list of my disabled apps in Settings.
How to have an Android without preinstalled apps
It depends on the manufacturer. Some choose to use a pure Android system, built from AOSP (Android Open Source Project), the public source without any further additions. On the other hand, Google Nexus phones only have Google apps; they are quite clean.
In other cases, you can replace the (ROM) Android system with another one. By analogy, changing the ROM Android is just like installing a different system on your PC, but in this case it’s for your phone or tablet.
What’s the most popular and easy to install ROM? CyanogenMod which, as well as not carrying pre-installed apps, gives you root and useful options. But beware: changing the ROM is an advanced and risky maneuver. Try disabling apps first.