How to: Disable Bloatware in Android 4.1+

Bloated AndroidRecently, another “Sezzer” queried that s/he was sheepish about accepting the upgrade prompt on a new device. The fear, as the Sezzer explained, stemmed from the fact that the member didn’t want the wireless carrier’s bundle of additional “bloatware.” Unfortunately for consumers, bloatware is very lucrative for cell phone carriers and manufacturers.

To combat bloatware on your Android device, you can root your phone and “freeze” the offending apps, or upgrade to Android 4.1+ (Jelly Bean), and simply disable the apps. Neither option is bad, though rooting certainly has some risks. Obviously, for risk-adverse users, the Android 4.1 upgrade is the clear choice, and you won’t be disappointed. Any update is better than no update, so when I’m presented with the update option, I always (even reluctantly) accept.

In the case of bloatware, you’ll be grateful you accepted the jump to Jelly Bean. App disabling in Jelly Bean is one of the core, key features. With the click of a button, an app is “out of sight, out of mind.” Even though the app’s not technically removed from your Android device, the bloatware disappears from your device’s app try – which is almost good enough for me.

To disable an app, go to Settings > Apps and select the bloatware. You’ll see an option to “Uninstall updates” or “Disable on the app management screen.

Disable Apps Button in Android

Click Disable, and all of your bloatware nightmares disappear.

On some devices, the app disappears completely from the Apps list (in Settings, not the app tray), while on other devices you’ll see “Disabled” even though the app remains in the list.

Disabled Android Apps

If you want to enable the app, just click “Enable” to bring the app back from oblivion.

Enable Android App

I should also note that this works for apps listed under all of the apps management tabs.

Android App Categories

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.