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How to Uninstall Bloatware from Android Phone

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How to Uninstall Bloatware from Android Phone

Key Points:

  • Bloatware basically refers to software and apps that come from the manufacturer that you may not want or need, especially for the space that they take up.
  • You do need to be very careful about what you delete because it may be crucial to the fundamental operating of your device!
  • We don’t suggest doing this if you are a tech novice.
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Android is a mobile operating system based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open-source software.

How to Uninstall Bloatware from an Android Phone—Step-By-Step

Phones come with a lot of bloatware. Many people never end up using even half of the proprietary apps that their phones come loaded with. Besides the calculator, contacts, phone, and messaging app, most people prefer their apps to come with the functionality put forth by companies with more of a vested interest in improving that technology.

If you’ve ever wanted to uninstall the proprietary apps your phone comes loaded with, the good news is that you can. The bad news is that it’s a little more in-depth than simply holding down and pressing “uninstall.” Here are some tried and true methods for removing bloatware from your phone.

Warnings for Uninstalling Proprietary Android Apps: READ ME

One of the most important things we cannot help but stress is that you cannot uninstall proprietary apps from your phone without breaking proprietary apps. We know this sounds like a “duh” moment. Still, there are many features that people are used to using on their phones that rely on proprietary apps to work. You may not realize that you were relying on them until you’ve uninstalled them.

Samsung users who use Samsung’s smarthome features are recommended to not uninstall proprietary apps as much of Samsung’s smarthome technology relies on mobile apps to function properly.

Using the Android Debug Bridge

While it may not be the easiest method to understand on a deep level (unless you’re an Android programmer, in which case, you would never be here, reading this article,) using the Android Debug Bridge or ADB to remove bloatware from your phone is one of the only ways you can do it without rooting your phone.

1.     Put your phone in Developer Mode

The first thing you want to do is put your phone in developer mode. To do this, go into the Settings app and find your phone’s Build Number. Then, tap it seven times to unlock Developer Options.

2.     Enable USB Debugging

Now go to the Developer Options and enable USB Debugging. This will allow your phone to interface with the ADB shell using a USB connection.

3.     Find the package names

You’ll need to find the package file name to use the ADB to remove files. The file name can be found using an app like “Package Name Viewer”, or the ADB can get a list of the package files on your phone.

To use the ADB, you’ll need to open the terminal/command prompt and, type “adb shell”, then hit enter. This will start the ADB shell and allow you to interface with your phone using the command prompt. Then input “pm list packages” to get a list of all the packages currently installed on the phone.

The downside of using the ADB to get the package names from your phone is that you’ll need to be able to identify the application you’re trying to delete by the package name. While many of these are easily done as the application names are in the package name, such as “com.google.android.youtube,” not all of them are identifiable in this way. Thus, we recommend an application like Package Name Viewer or Alliance Shield X to find the package names of your apps to ensure you don’t delete any apps you want to keep.

You can skip this step in ADB if you’re using an app like Package Name Viewer to get the names of the packages on your phone.

4.     Execute the command to delete the package

Finally, you just need to execute the command to delete the packages. The command to delete packages from your phone is “pm uninstall -k –user 0 package.” So to delete youtube you’d use “pm uninstall -k –user 0 com.google.android.youtube.”

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The delete button is a white circle with an “x” inside it on the top right of the app icon.

If deleting bloatware from your Android device using ADB still seems daunting, check out this video from Chris Titus Tech. He explains the issues with bloatware, how to install ADB, and how to uninstall bloatware apps using ADB.

Rooting Your Phone and Becoming a Superuser

The other way you can remove bloatware from your Android phone is to become a superuser and root your phone. “Superuser” refers to a user who has complete control of the inner workings of their technology. It’s possible to become a superuser with almost any technological device, but doing so may require breaking through the safeguards that manufacturers put in place to prevent you from becoming a superuser.

It’s crucial to mention that when you become a superuser on most phones, it voids the warranty of the phone. Since becoming a superuser typically requires you to break through the phone’s built-in security features, doing so is typically a violation of your user agreement and voids your phone’s warranty.

Rooting your phone also prevents the phone from updating. This includes security updates. So you’ll need to be vigilant about your online activity and you should install an anti-virus software on your phone to protect yourself.

It is also worth noting that rooting your phone is neither linear nor quick experience. It is not for the technologically inexperienced and will require intimate knowledge of your phone and several PC apps as well as the command prompt. You must follow rooting instructions to the T. Any deviation from the instructions could render your phone entirely non-functional and turn it into a $1000 paperweight.

We recommend using a rooting program like Firmware.mobi or BaiduRoot to root your phone. Doing so will provide you with the easiest overall experience and least likelihood of bricking your phone by accident. However, you may have to shop around to find a program that’s compatible with your version of Android. Older Android devices are typically easier to root than newer ones. You can also rollback your Android version to make it easier to root.

1.     Preparing your phone for rooting

First things first, you’ll need to unlock the developer options on your phone then activate “USB Debugging” and “OEM Unlocking.” You’ll find these options in the developer options that are unlocked once you tap on your phone’s build number seven times.

2.     Install Android SDK Drivers

You’ll need the proper drivers for your phone to root it. This means going to the manufacturer and getting the correct drivers. Each manufacturer has different drivers that they use to power their phones and control their interactions with other devices. Check to see if your phone installed drivers when it first was connected to your computer, but it’s still best practice to get the most up-to-date drivers from your manufacturer.

3.     Unlock your bootloader

Simply put, the bootloader is the part of your phone’s software that boots your operating system. Different manufacturers have different methods of unlocking their bootloaders. You’ll typically have to sign up with your phone’s manufacturer and make a developer account.

To unlock your bootloader, you’ll need a code from your phone’s manufacturer. Some manufacturers like Huawei do not provide unlock codes for the bootloader on request. So, if you have one of these phones or are told you cannot receive a code to unlock your bootloader, you’ll want to take a look at some forums to see if anyone else has guidance for unlocking your phone’s bootloader.

4.     Root using a root application

The steps after this are determined by the root application you’re using. We won’t cover all the steps here, but ensure that you’re following the steps in the documentation of the application you’ve chose to root your phone with. Once you’ve rooted your phone, you’ll be able to uninstall the bloatware apps without anything standing in your way.

Final Thoughts

Removing bloatware from your phone is every phone user’s dream, but it’s not as easy as it may seem. There’s also a reason those apps are installed on your phone. So, consider that when you’re looking for ways to remove them. Regardless if this guide helped you find the answer to your solution, let us know! It helps us know what guides and content are most helpful to our users!

Up Next…

We have plenty more great reads for you about smart phones!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is rooting your phone illegal?

Rooting your phone is not illegal. Apple actually attempted to litigate rooting your phone (jailbreaking in Apple terms) and lost. So you will not face any consequences beyond voiding your warranty and potentially opening yourself up to security risks.

What qualifies as bloatware?

Bloatware is anything that comes preinstalled on a device that takes up space and doesn’t get used often. However, the actual definition is little more subjective than that. Some people use apps that others don’t. So, it’s really up to your personal tastes which preinstalled apps qualify as bloatware.

Is bloatware illegal?

Bloatware is not illegal. It’s just kind of annoying.

Why should I remove bloatware from my phone?

Bloatware apps are often used to track usage and user information. If you’re a particularly privacy-focused individual, you may feel the need to remove any apps that might be tracking your whereabouts or capturing other information from your usage.

Realistically, the only other reason someone would be invested in removing bloatware from their phone is if they’ve run out of space. But if you’ve run out of space, we’re almost certain you’re not using all the apps on your phone regularly and there’s probably a more significant space issue like having 200,000 pictures in your camera roll that you could clean up or move to permanent storage.

What is bloatware?

Bloatware is a term for preinstalled software that takes up space and rarely sees use. Most phones come installed with some amount of bloatware. However, most users do not see a need to remove bloatware from their phone.

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