How to Delete Pre-Installed Apps on Android

How to uninstall apps on Android that won't uninstall

What to Know

  • Go to Settings > General > Apps and Notifications > select app name > Uninstall.
  • To uninstall on Google Play, go to Menu > My Apps & Games > Installed > app name > Uninstall.
  • Some apps cannot be uninstalled, but can be disabled through Settings.

This article explains how to uninstall apps through Android Settings or on Google Play, as well as how to disable apps that you cannot uninstall.

How To Uninstall Android Apps Through The Settings App

When you buy an Android phone, it usually comes with preinstalled software. This software can be useful, or it can be an annoying drain on your phone's battery and processor. If you're sick of this “bloatware,” here's how to get rid of it.

First, you should see how much of the bloatware can be removed.

  1. Open your Settings app

  2. Go to the General tab and select Apps and Notifications.

  3. Tap on the offending app. At the top will be two buttons, Uninstall and Force Stop. The buttons will be lit if they're active, and grey if they're not usable.

  4. Tap Uninstall to remove it.

    Apps you can't uninstall will be labeled Disable or have the Uninstall button greyed out. Make a note of these for later.

Apps & Notifications, Disable buttons in Android Settings

Uninstall Apps Through The Google Play Store

If you'd prefer not to use the settings app, you can also uninstall apps through the Google Play Store.

  1. Open the Google Play Store and open the menu.

  2. Tap My Apps & Games and then Installed. This will open a menu of apps installed in your phone.

  3. Tap the app you want to remove and it will take you to that app's page on the Google Play Store.

  4. Tap Uninstall.

Menu, My apps & games, and Uninstall buttons in Google Play

Note that on the Play store, “uninstall” sometimes will only uninstall updates from the app, not the app itself. In this case, you'll also need to disable it.

Disable Bloatware And Other Pre-Installed Apps

If you're not going to use an app, and aren't comfortable with some methods we'll discuss for getting rid of bloatware below, you can limit your risk of security loopholes by disabling these apps. Disabling an app means it won't run, can't be “woken up” automatically by other apps, and also shuts down any background processes the app may engage in.

  1. Uninstall all updates from the app through the Google Play store, using the instructions above.

  2. Enter the Settings app, and navigate to the Apps & Notifications menu, tap the app that you want to disable.

  3. Tap Permissions and disable any permissions. This will keep the app in line if you're forced to enable it later.

  4. Tap the Disable button. You will receive a warning that disabling the app may affect the function of other apps. Make a note of this. It is rare that disabling an app you don't use will have any effect on your day-to-day phone usage, but it's not impossible. Press OK and the app will be disabled.

    Apps & notifications, Google, Disable, and Permissions buttons in Android Settings

How Can I Remove Bloatware Completely?

In some cases, you may want to eradicate bloatware. In this scenario, your best option is to “root” your phone. We have a full guide to rooting an Android that you can follow, but we should discuss what rooting is and its pros and cons before you do.

“Rooting” makes you the “superuser” of your phone, from a software perspective. Android is built on Linux, a common open-source computer operating system, and in Linux, the “root” is the captain of the device. It approves all apps, actions, and other behaviors a computer engages in.

When you buy a phone from a manufacturer or a carrier, you are often not “root.” For many reasons, such as allowing carriers and manufacturers to repair and update a device remotely. However, some would argue that this privilege reserved by manufacturers and carriers is abused when it comes to bloatware. In their view, it's a bit like a landlord demanding you set aside a room for his kids to play in whenever they feel like it, regardless of the damage they might do. Maybe they'll be quiet, maybe they'll burn the house down, but why should you be on the hook?

The main upside is you'll be able to install any variety of Android you please, from Google's stock version to custom designs such as the NSA's highly secure “Fishbowl” version that locks down your data completely. The main drawback with rooting the phone is that you will take full responsibility for its operation. Rooting a phone may disable certain security features, prevent you from downloading certain apps. It will potentially open the door to “bricking” your device, that is, disabling it permanently by damaging its software by accident. It also may invalidate or otherwise.

Rooting can be done with many approaches, such as using a third-party app on your computer to completely wiping your phone's memory and installing Android from scratch. Our guide (above) can offer more information, but you should choose to root or not, and how you root your device based on your level of comfort with the technology. If something troubles you, don't do it.

  • How do you update apps on Android?

    To manually update apps, open the Google Play Store > My apps & games > Updates tab > choose Update or Update all. To automatically update, open the Google Play Store's Settings > Auto-update apps.

  • How do you download apps on Android?

    To download an app, open the Google Play Store. Search for the app you want and tap its listing. Tap Install.

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