Most Android devices today ship with a lot of apps pre-installed by Google and the device’s vendor. These apps are often useless (at least for me), require a lot of permissions, and cannot be easily deinstalled. Such “Bloatware” was one of many reasons for me to switch from Windows to Linux 8 years ago. Now the situation on Linux-based Android feels even worse than it was/is with Windows, were you could at least deinstall the programs, or – even better – go for a clean installation.
I don’t use many Google services, as I run my own mail server and my contacts and calendars are synced with my private ownCloud instance. So I don’t need the apps for Gmail, Goolge Contact/Calendar Sync, Google Picasa and so on. My Samsung Galaxy Node 10.1 table also came with A LOT of crap from Samsung, including their own app/media store, cloud sync stuff for files, contacts and calendars, their own push service and video & music players. Most of these always run in background, are a useless waste of battery, memory, disk space and data transfer, and undermine my privacy. So lets try to get rid of them.
It is not possible to deinstall apps that are included in our android firmware unless you have a rooted device. If you do, one of simplest ways is to use Titanium Backup to deinstall the apps. I strongly recommend that you back everything up beforehand, just in case you notice that something important is not working afterwards.
However, I have not rooted my tablet by now, so that this is not an option there. And additional problem with this method is that the deinstalled apps tend to come back with every firmware update you do (if you are lucky and still get some…).
I recently found a more convenient way to get rid of Android bloatware. There is an build in feature in Android that allows you to “disable” system apps. Disabling means that the app is still on your device, but no longer executed and updated, so all it costs you afterwards is a bit of disk space.
To disable an app, go to
Settings -> Apps -> All
select the app, and click on Disable. On my Samsung tablet, I first have to deinstall all updates before it shows me the “Disable” button. You can enable them again similarly later by going to
Settings -> Apps -> Disabled
if you like to.
So far, I disabled most of the Google apps (com.google.*) without noticing any unwanted side effects, as well as everything with Samsung in its name. Be careful with system apps (com.android.*), as they might be actually useful for something. My tablet and in particular my phone – which as only little memory – feel much faster now. Disabled apps also seem to stay disabled after firmware upgrades. If you have any reinstalled apps that you don’t use, I recommend that you give it a try.