what is bloatware

What is Bloatware and How Can You Remove It?

Whenever you purchase a new device, you expect it to come in pristine condition. However, more often than not, most devices come with apps, or bloatware, pre-installed into them. In this blog, we shall explain what bloatware is and can you remove it from your device.

What is Bloatware?

Bloatware refers to any software that you don’t want in your device. Bloatware usually comes pre-installed into your system. Many times, bloatware comes as a part of a software bundle you recently purchased. In more horrific cases, bloatware is installed automatically onto your device because of a malicious website that you may have visited recently.

As mentioned, bloatware programs usually come pre-installed into your system. This happens because of a few reasons:

  • The manufacturer adds their suite of apps into the device. For example, when you purchase a Samsung device, there are high chances that they would come pre-installed with some Samsung’s apps.
  • Some manufacturers take a fee from software developers and pre-install their apps.

This kind of bloatware may not be bad for your device. Manufacturers usually make sure that these apps do not hinder the performance of their device before they show the green light for pre-installation. However, these apps still consume unnecessary space and device memory, and can affect the battery performance of your device.

The other types of bloatware may be dangerous for your device. When you install a software suite, it may come with a program or app that is unneeded. Moreover, it might end up compromising the performance of your device.

And if the bloatware was downloaded from a malicious link, then nothing can be more dangerous. This program may contain malware or even ransomware that can be harmful to your device and also to your data and its privacy.

Why is Bloatware a Threat?

The worst part of having bloatware on your device is that it eats up your memory. These apps continuously run in the background even when you’re not using them, all the while eating up on your phone memory. As a result, it can also severely affect the battery performance of your device.

And if the source of bloatware is a malicious one, then it can result in many unexpected scenarios. For instance, it may show pop-up ads on your system, even when you’re not online. Also, these apps might be spying on your activities without your permission.

Even if the app is not exclusively malicious, it can still bring harm to your device and privacy, leaving you susceptible to hackers. An example is Lenovo’s Superfish program that made users vulnerable to hacks and spying.

How to Remove Bloatware on Windows 10?

Windows PCs usually come with bloatware pre-installed into the device. This is typically done to keep the cost-per-unit of each device as low as possible. Because software developers often offer an added fee for pre-installing their software, this allows manufacturers to keep the cost of the device as low as possible and sell it for cheap.

You can buy bloat-free devices from the market, such as Windows’ signature PCs, but these are usually expensive.

If you want to remove bloatware from your existing Windows PC, then you can do either of the following.

1. Regular Uninstall

Some pre-installed apps can easily be removed by simply uninstalling them from your system. This applies to any pre-installed news apps or games. But not all apps can be uninstalled in this manner.

2. Using PowerShell

PowerShell is a command language for advanced Windows users. It gives them greater control of their system. You can run it by typing “PowerShell” into your Windows search bar and selecting the Windows PowerShell app. You must run it as administrator.

Using command codes such as “Remove-AppxPackage” can help you uninstall an app or program from your device.

However, it is still difficult to remove some software programs from your device. Because PowerShell only hides some apps from your view instead of uninstalling them entirely.

3. Using the Windows 10 Refresh Tool

Identical to the factory data reset, this tool completely formats your device and returns your system to its default (cleansed) state. Apps that have been downloaded onto your system shall be removed immediately. However, there is a risk that you may lose licenses for any apps that you’ve installed onto your system.

Before trying out this method, it is necessary for you to know that it only removes downloaded apps from your device and doesn’t affect native bloatware.

How to Remove Bloatware on macOS Mojave?

Macs are hardly affected by bloatware. Unlike most Windows devices, Apple doesn’t receive any income from software developers in exchange for pre-installing apps on its devices. However, there are still some apps that may act as bloatware. Often, apps that are owned by Apple come pre-installed into the system.

Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t grant too much control to its users. You can put any unused apps into the trash, but you can’t obliterate them from your system. For this to happen, we suggest that you follow the steps mentioned below:

  1. Go to the Applications folder.
  2. Pick the app that you want to delete and click on “Get Info.”
  3. Click on “Sharing and Permissions.”
  4. Press the lock icon and enter your admin password.
  5. Make the privilege to “Read and Write” accessible to everyone. This will enable you to delete unwanted software.

How to Remove Bloatware on Android?

Like Windows, Android devices also feature a lot of bloatware. Again, this is done to collect income from software providers and reduce the cost-per-unit for each device. For example, you may get a Xiaomi phone on the cheap, but it will come with a lot of apps pre-installed on the device, which may reduce its overall performance.

To remove bloatware on your Android, just follow any of the procedures mentioned below.

1. Disable Apps

It is easy to disable any app that you don’t want to use on your device. Performing the following actions will help to disable it easily:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap on “Apps and Notifications”
  3. Select the app that you wish to disable
  4. Click on the “Disable” button

Though the app won’t be removed entirely from your phone, it will stop running in the background and eating up your RAM.

2. Rooting

To thoroughly remove any bloatware apps from your phone, you will have to root the device. Root gives you the status of the admin, and you can tinker with any setting on your phone easily.

However, rooting is risky as you can seriously damage your device with it. Also, device manufacturers discourage rooting. You may lose your phone warranty. And rooting can also be harmful to the security of your device.

How to Remove Bloatware on iOS?

Like any Apple device, iPhone does not come with pre-installed bloatware. As mentioned above, the reason is pretty straight-forward. Apple doesn’t take any added income from software developers that can help in reducing the cost-per-unit of their devices.

However, some apps still come pre-installed on your iPhone. To remove any such apps, you can offload them by following the steps given below:

  1. Visit Settings -> General -> iPhone Storage
  2. Tap on the app you wish to offload
  3. Choose “Delete App” if the option is available. If not, you can click on the “Offload App.” This will remove the user settings and cache of the app, but doesn’t remove it entirely.

To remove any app, you will need to jailbreak your iPhone. Though it grants complete control to the user, it has its consequences which are similar to root. Apply discourages jailbreaking, and it might deny providing any service. Your device will also be vulnerable to malware from henceforward.

Avoiding Bloatware is Key!

If the above steps seem too much of a hassle, you can take the steps mentioned above to prevent bloatware. To avoid any bloatware, you can buy signature devices that come with zero pre-installed apps. These devices are expensive, but you can still enjoy better performance on them.

Also, it is necessary to make sure that you do not install any software suites that have the potential of having bloatware inside them. Avoiding malicious websites is also required if you want to avoid installing malicious bloatware apps on your device.

If you want to ensure that you enjoy greater security on your smartphone, then we recommend that you download PureVPN on iOS and PureVPN on Android today!

Sheheryar Ahmed Khan is a privacy enthusiast, currently affiliated with PureVPN. His reporting covers subjects related to online privacy, anonymity, and security. Also a believer in online freedom, Sheheryar likes to spend his free time streaming football matches and TV shows online.

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