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Bloatware: What It Is and How To Remove It

Lukas Grigas
Cybersecurity Content Writer

When you purchase a new computer, smartphone, or tablet, you expect a clean slate and performance at the speed of a rocket. However, new devices arrive with pre-installed programs that are not necessarily useful or worth keeping. In this article, we’ll discuss what bloatware is and how to get rid of this unwanted software.

What is bloatware?

Bloatware (also known as junkware) is pre-installed software nobody asked for. Weird browsers, video tools, games, music apps, text editors — you’ve probably noticed some of these on your device.

Bloatware is usually not dangerous, but certain software could track your browsing behavior or start bombing you with ads. These apps take up space and occupy RAM, thus decreasing the speed you expected to have on a new device.

Manufacturers include bloatware with their products because they get paid from them. Let’s say you have created a computer game and convinced Microsoft to install it on Windows OS. Out of millions of Windows users, a few will probably like your game and pay for it after the trial period. As a result, Microsoft gets its commission, and the game developers acquire a new customer — it’s a win-win situation.

Common bloatware examples

Bloatware usually includes apps such as:

  • Weather apps

  • Sports apps

  • Map or navigation apps

  • Health and fitness apps

  • Messaging apps

  • Music players

  • Toolbars and junk browser extensions

  • System update apps

  • Personal productivity apps

Just looking at the list, you can see that not all apps considered bloatware are dangerous or annoying. Some of the apps can come in handy, and some we tend to use every day – weather apps, for instance. So before you try to remove bloatware from your devices, take a moment to think about what the app offers and whether you will find that useful in your daily life.

How to remove bloatware from Windows 11

  1. Launch the Start menu and search for Settings.

  2. Select and open the Settings app.

  3. Select Apps from the sidebar.

  4. Now click the Apps & features tab.

  5. Locate the app you want to remove from the App list.

  6. Click the three dots menu, and select Uninstall.

  7. Once again click Uninstall to confirm your choice and remove the application permanently.

How to remove bloatware on Windows 10

  1. Open the Start menu and search for Windows Security.

  2. Go to the Device performance & health page.

  3. Under Fresh start, click Additional information.

  4. Click Get started.

  5. Click Yes on the User Account Control pop-up.

  6. On the Fresh start pop-up, click Next.

  7. You will see a list of programs you’re allowed to remove. Click Next and then Start.

Fresh start doesn’t delete Microsoft Store apps — you’ll need to delete those one by one:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps > Apps & features.

  2. You will see the app list.

  3. Click on the app you want to delete and click Uninstall.

How to remove bloatware on macOS

Apple devices are not packed with bloatware, but you might have considered deleting various programs.

  1. Open Finder and select Applications in the left menu.

  2. Click on the app you want to delete and drag it to the bin.

  3. You might be asked to type your password to perform the action.

This will only work with some applications because the latest macOS version restricts deletion of certain built-in software. In order to delete an app, you’ll have to disable System Integrity Protection, which protects your computer from malware. However, we recommend taking this path only if you really know what you’re doing.

How to remove bloatware on Android

  1. Go to Settings > Apps > Manage apps.

  2. Click Uninstall and select the apps you want to delete.

  3. Confirm the action by clicking Uninstall.

These steps may vary slightly depending on your smartphone brand. You can also uninstall apps through the Play Store:

  1. Open Play Store.

  2. Tap the three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner.

  3. Select My apps & games > Installed.

  4. Tap on the app you want to remove and click Uninstall.

How to remove bloatware on iOS

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, touch and hold the app icon.

  2. Tap Rearrange Apps.

  3. Tap X in the upper-left corner to delete the app.

  4. Tap Delete. On an iPhone X or later, tap Done.

Ways to avoid bloatware

The amount of pre-installed apps may vary depending on the manufacturer and vendor. Before purchasing a new device, you can do research to find out which ones install fewer unwanted programs.

Bloatware may also come with some apps, run silently in the background, and drain the vitals of your device. We recommend reviewing your applications regularly in order to avoid unpleasant surprises in the future.

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