What Is “Bloatware,” and Why Is It Installed?

If you’ve bought a new phone or PC in recent years, you may have discovered it comes with a little more than you bargained for! Despite the fact the device is brand new and sealed, it will come with apps pre-installed onto it. These apps can be annoying at best and storage hogs at worst. So, what are they, and why are they installed on your device before you even boot it for the first time?

When Bloatware Strikes


This software is known as “bloatware.” The original definition of bloatware is software that takes up an excessive amount of RAM or storage space. These days the term has evolved into software that gets installed without your permission. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of RAM or hard drive space to be deemed bloatware; the very fact it’s taking up room that you want for other applications is enough to deem it as bloatware.

Why Is Bloatware Installed?


It can be frustrating to unpack a new phone only to find that it comes with pre-installed apps that can’t be removed. Why are these apps even installed in the first place?

It’s not because the manufacturer thinks you’ll make use of these apps! They’re typically put in as part of an agreement with app companies. The app developer pays the manufacturer a set amount of money if they put their app on customers’ phones during the manufacturing process. The manufacturer gets a tidy sum from simply installing an app on phones, and the app developer makes a return on people who use the apps and decide to pay for premium features.

Typically, these apps are aimed at giving new users something to try. They may be games, which a new user can try before they work out how to install more. They may be productivity suites such as word processors and PDF viewers, in hopes that the user will enjoy them enough to pay without checking the app store for alternatives.

Can You Remove It?


Depends! Some bloatware apps, such as ones installed with Windows 10, can usually be uninstalled the moment you receive the computer. Smartphones, however, can sometimes get a little nefarious with their bloatware. Manufacturers will often bake the apps into the stock ROM. This means the apps are part of the system software itself and that you can’t uninstall them without root access.

If you’re in this boat, don’t despair! If you can root your phone, doing so will give you elevated permissions over your phone. This includes the ability to delete system apps (including the bloatware). Root your phone, dive into the root directory, and clean out the bloatware to free up some space!

Beating the Bloat

Bloatware is a very annoying problem, but some users don’t understand why there are apps on their phone that can’t be uninstalled. Now you know how bloatware works and how to get rid of it.

Is bloatware a major bane in your life? Or have you sworn to only use operating systems without bloatware issues? Let us know below.

Image Credit: Rooting my HTC Hero Android Phone

Simon Batt Simon Batt

Simon Batt is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for cybersecurity.


  1. I left the world of Windows in 2002, and moved to Linux, so bloatware for me? Has ceased to be a problem since then. As for my Android phone?.(OnePlus 3T) Its already been rooted and is running a nice, clean, streamlined Resurrection ReMix ROM with ONLY the apps I WANT. I’m not a social media maven, nor a social networking addict, so FB not being there,…or Twitter not showing up in my apps drawer is NOT a problem for me…..sometimes its when you’re pushed to the breaking point regarding these manufacturers and their incessant tricks into getting you to click on something, agree to give access to something…or download / install something…..that’s when you decide to act and do something to eliminate the problem. For instance, not only do I use Linux, but I also don’t use Google Chrome, (instead its Firefox, and Vivaldi) I don’t have Google set as my homepage (DuckDuckGo.com) and I don’t use Google apps (aside from having G-Mail which is filtered through my Thunderbird e-mail client) So I’m good with that as well. And on my phone?…its F-Droid apps for me….so yeah….until you’re tired of being some company’s ad-ware / spyware / malware / bloatware / EULA / licensing b*tch?….you’ll be trapped having to use their wares as THEY want you to!

    1. Don’t be too sanguine about Linux’s lack of bloatware. Any user-ready distro contains unneeded/unwanted software that cannot be removed because the developer has the attitude of “I know better what YOU want”. AFAIAC, that is bloatware although I’m sure there are many who would disagree with me. Then there are distros that must be used as installed (looking at you *buntus) because all software has system files as dependencies. My two (least) favorite Ubuntu programs are “cowsay’ and “fortune”. Then there are the video card, WiFi and printer drivers that we will never use. The only way to completely avoid unwanted programs/packages in Linux is to build your system from source (Linux From Scratch, Arch, Gentoo, etc). But how many have the patience or the expertise to do that?

  2. Bloatware are invasive software in terms of disk volumes, size of mobilized RAM and computing power required. They are also software that have nothing to do where they are.
    Our smartphones are full of “Bloatware” that use RAM (RAM) and resources, and slow down the BOOT (Mobile startup).
    Consequences of Bloatware
    It can not be removed by the user.
    It slows the performance of the Mobile.
    It occupies memory space that could be free for what you would like.
    It can potentially send information to the application developer or mobile operator.

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