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How to: Disable System Apps and Bloatware on Android [Beginners’ Guide]

system apps disable

With the introduction of Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), Google gave users the power to disable system-level apps on an Android device. At first, you may think, “Why would I ever need to do that?” But if you look at it from a control perspective, you’ll quickly realize that this move could be perceived as a slap in the face to carriers and their need to install bloatware, or apps that they have installed on your phone through partners which cannot be removed. It’s also a way to disable rogue system apps that may be gobbling up battery, are running too often in the background, or that you wish were unavailable to users of your phone or tablet. 

Bloatware, as we refer to these carrier-installed apps, typically cannot be removed by a simple “uninstall.” Many of them have been permanently placed at a system-level on your phone or tablet, which means you cannot manipulate them without having superuser power over your phone. So if you want to remove the trial of EA’s latest game or the suite of Amazon apps that you wouldn’t normally have installed, disabling them will at least hide them from your view. It’s not the optimal situation for control freaks, but it does at least get them out of your app drawer and keep them from running in the background.

Instructions:

1.  From your home screen, enter your phone’s settings menu.

*Most phones running Jelly Bean – pull down notification bar and tap the Settings button.

2.  In Settings, scroll down to “Apps” or “Manage Apps.”
3.  Scroll over to the “All” section to view all apps.
4.  Find the app you would like to disable and tap on it.
5.  You should now be at the App Info page of the app.

*Should see how big the app is, an option to stop it or clear its data, and of course, disable it.

6.  When you tap “Disable,” you’ll be warned that this move may affect other apps.

*Depending on the app, this warning could be true. However, most of the bloatware installed by a carrier, will not be tied into other apps and can safely be disabled.

7.  If you think it’s safe, go ahead and OK the disable. Your app should now be disabled.
8.  You can find the list of disabled apps at the bottom of the All column in “Apps.”
9.  To re-enable an app, simply head back to this App Info screen and hit “Enable.”

Quicker Instructions:

*This tip should work on almost all Jelly Bean devices.

1.  From your app drawer, long press on the app you would like to disable.
2.  When it takes you to your home screen, look at the top of the screen for an “App Info” option.
3.  If you drag and drop your app here, it will take you directly into the “App Info” screen.
4.  You can then choose to disable or uninstall the app.

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  • Tuna

    Do you have to uninstall updates before you will see the disable button?

  • eestubbs104

    Yes, unfortunately on my Samsung Galaxy Note2, on most of the bloat ware or apps, you only have the options to force stop or uninstall updates. I usually do the force stop. I think that keeps the programs from running in the background.

    • Ken Brooks

      I have a Note2. After I uninstall updates, I can then disable them. I don’t use Audible, yet, so that is one of the ones I disabled.

      • eestubbs104

        WOW, I missed that Ken. I gave it a try and it worked just like you said. Thank you so much.

    • RxGadget

      Uninstall updates.. Then a choice of Disable shows up. I have disabled multiple Verizon Bloatware apps now. Go me!

      • eestubbs104

        Thanks RxGadet. It definitely worked.

  • http://profiles.google.com/zkolev Zack Kolev

    Step 1: Get Nexus device
    Step 2: Profit!

    • http://BandM-Services.com/ Billy W.

      I agree, but don’t you lose 4g?

      • Joey Funk

        You don’t “lose” anything, lte just isn’t supported officially. You can still get 4g from Tmobile and att on hspa+, which still has great speeds, and the lte is compatible with Tmobile lte network they’re building now

        • http://BandM-Services.com/ Billy W.

          Ahh, so it’s just us Verizon Fanboys that get the shaft…

          Thanks for the lesson. ‘Isn’t supported’… lol

          • Joey Funk

            Yeah if you check xda there’s several threads about it working with lte in Canada and some other places. It’s a great device if you’re not on Verizon hah

  • http://twitter.com/kirilv Kiril

    Might be fun to point out that you can block notifications as well. I have a few games that keep popping up notifications saying “You haven’t played this game in 3 hours. What gives?”

  • dt

    On rooted devices, what is the difference between using the “disable” option for an app in the stock application manager vs. “freezing” the app using titanium backup? On a rooted SGS3

  • http://twitter.com/ranwanimator Randall Wanamaker

    Might want to put in the title that these instructions apply to JB only and prior versions of Android are SOL.

    • JoshGroff

      ICS had it too.

  • SagarPatel

    what about backup assistant plus on the note 2? doesnt give me a disable option

  • Detonation

    Unfortunately there are still a lot of carrier bloat apps that can’t be disabled (the disable button is disabled). Backup Assistant Plus and Verizon Remote Diagnostics on my Razr Maxx, for example.

    • http://www.facebook.com/funnyfarm299 Nicholas Isola

      Beat me to it. The SGS3 is a particuarly bad one too.

  • schoat333

    only 9.6GB free? Yikes, what phone is that?

    • Detonation

      I’m guessing a 16GB Nexus 4 based on the 12.9GB total

    • http://twitter.com/kirilv Kiril

      Why would you want more free? It defeats the purpose to have 20GB free, since you paid for it and are not using it.