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Remove bloatware and other unwanted system apps

Many Android phones come complete with a series of apps from both the manufacturer and the network that you neither want nor need. Here's our quck and easy guide to getting rid of them.

Many phone manufacturers and telecommunications operators like to insert their own pre-installed apps onto phones before they are sold onto consumers. These apps are often ones which try to sell music, ringtones or game demos.

While sometimes these programs can be useful they still take up space on your phone and in your launcher and frustratingly, sometimes cannot be uninstalled using the normal Android applications menu.

Obviously this is very annoying for some users, they bought the phone, so they should be able to add and remove anything they want at will. Thankfully as long as you have root access, there are a couple of ways to get rid of these pesky bits of bloatware which do not require indepth terminal knowledge or a degree in computer science.

This guide will take you through the safest way of removing system apps using an app that will allow you to ‘freeze’ the pre-installed app initially, rather than remove it. This means that it is still installed on your phone, but frozen so that it cannot run and get in your way.

If you find the frozen app causes you issues, then you can ‘defrost’ it, and it will be available again. If you are sure you don’t want it , then you can back it up to your SDcard and then permanently uninstall it.

Words by: Kieron Howard

  1. Install Software

    First off ,make sure you have root access, then perform a NANDroid backup. Restart the phone and open up the Android Market. Search for ‘Root Uninstaller’ . There is a free trial which allows for 3 uninstalls. If you decide you want to remove more then the Pro version is £1.39.

  2. Open Root Uninstaller

    Click on install to download and install the app. Once it has installed open it up and you will be asked to grant the software root privileges. Grant them and the program will scan your phone for all installed apps, including system ones.

  3. Choose Your Apps

    Once the scan has finished finding your apps, you will see a list. You might be surprised at just how long it is, as there are lots of apps that run when you phone boots that you never see icons for.

  4. App Types

    Apps that you have installed from the Market or sideloaded yourself appear in white, system apps appear in red with ‘sys’ written underneath it. Non system apps have a rubbish bin icon, which when pressed, uninstall it in the normal way.

  5. Find App To Remove

    Find the particular app that you no longer want installed on your phone and then click on it. This may ask you for root access again, so grant that. You will then see details about the app such as its icon and the system filename.

  6. Backup App

    As a safety measure its always a good idea to backup any apps that you are thinking of removing. To do this all you need to do is tap ‘Backup’. The app will says its been granted super user privileges and then display the location of the backup.

  7. Freeze The App

    The next step is to freeze the app so that it no longer runs. All you need to do is click ‘Freeze’. It will ask you if you are sure you want to freeze it. Press yes and the app will be frozen. You will then be taken back to app list.

  8. Test Out Phone

    In the list the frozen app will have a grey border, it will also have underneath the title ‘ sys | bak | froz ‘ meaning it’s a system app, with backup, which is frozen. Restart your phone and open some apps to make sure everything works.

  9. Uninstall

    If you are 100% sure that everything is running ok with the frozen app then you can uninstall it, or just leave it frozen. If you want to uninstall then open up Root Uninstaller again and find the app, press on it and then ‘uninstall’.

  10. Restore

    If you decide that you want to reinstall an app you previously removed, but made a backup of then open up Root Uninstaller, find the app in the list, click it and then press on ‘Restore’. You will be asked for root again, grant that and the app will be returned.