How to: Disable System Apps and Pre-Installed Bloatware in Android

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Ever since Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 introduction, Google gave users the privilege to disable system applications on their Android devices. While novice users may wonder why would anybody want to do that, experienced gadget addicts will know what I am talking about.

In terms of user control, disabling unnecessary bloatware pre-installed by carriers and other retailers would be a declaration of user independence and freedom of choice, not to mention the control.

The bloatware I am referring to cannot be removed, unless you root, but is seldom used. Thus, they create an unnecessary load on your device’s system resources and gobble your battery juices up. These apps run silently in the background, consuming your Memory, RAM and battery, aggregating user data and quite probably sending them to the manufacturer, or the third-party partner or affiliate.
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You cannot go to Settings and simply uninstall these apps because they have been placed at a system level on your device, which means you will have to root your device to uninstall them altogether. We published the guide to rooting your Android device, so you can resort to that option if you feel technically capable of handling that operation on your own. Nevertheless, consider the odds of bricking your smartphone or tablet, which is optional, and losing your warranty, which is unavoidable.

The range of pre-installed apps is wide: from trial EA games to GetJar and Amazon or Ebay you may never want to use on your tablet, or smartphone. What you can do is disable them to prevent them from running in the background. This may not be the best solution for the control and privacy paranoids like myself, but at least it will prevent the bloatware from consuming your device’s resources.

Instructions

  • Go to Settings (on most Jelly Bean devices you just need to pull the notifications bar to get to the Settings button).
  • Scroll down to Apps, alternatively named Manage Apps in some devices.
  • Find All section in Apps.
  • Find the app you want to disable and tap on it to see the App Info window.
  • You will see the app’s details here: how big it is, as well as an option to clear the app’s data, stop it, and most importantly, disable it.
  • Tap on Disable and read the notification that disabling this app may affect other programs. Note: in most cases, this notification means nothing, but in some cases this could be true, depending on the app. Common sense usually helps determine that.
  • Confirm the disabling procedure.

In All Apps, you will see the list of disabled apps. If you want to re-enable any app, just go there, select the app, open its info screen and tap “Enable.”

Alternatively, you may do the following:

Go to Settings -> Apps -> long-press on the app you wish to disable. This will take you to your home screen, but you will see App Info at the top of the screen. Drag and drop the app on your home screen to see the App Info directly from there. Then, you can choose to disable the app.

Both ways are similar, but the latter is available in devices running Jelly Bean.