What Is Bloatware and How to Remove It?

2020-07-07 - 5 min read

When you purchase a new computer, smartphone, or tablet, you expect a clean slate performing at the speed of a rocket. However, new devices arrive with pre-installed programs that are not necessarily useful and 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 those 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 into their products because they get paid. 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, Windows get their commission, and the game developers acquire a new customer — it’s a win-win situation.

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 there are several programs you might have considered deleting.

  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 of the applications, as the latest macOS version restricts deleting certain built-in software. In order to delete any 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 might slightly vary depending on your smartphone brand. You can also uninstall apps on 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 might vary depending on the manufacturer and vendor. Before purchasing a new device, you can do research to find out which ones install less 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.

Chad Hammond
Chad Hammond
Verified author
Chad loves traveling and technology. His global view and open-mindedness add interesting angles to various security topics. He has already traveled to over 80 countries and is not planning to stop any time soon.
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