How to Remove Bloatware − A Guide for 2024

Why Trust Techopedia

“How to remove bloatware” is something lots of people are asking − looking into how to remove unnecessary software pre-installed on devices.

It consumes disk space, reduces performance, and can be dangerous if it includes malicious code, so it’s best to review and remove bloatware. In this guide, we explore the risks it poses and exactly how to remove bloatware.

Why is Bloatware a Concern?

Though bloatware arrives already installed on PCs, Androids, Macs, and iPhones, there are several reasons why you might want to remove it.

Bloatware can slow down your phone or computer, as it consumes computing resources while running in the background. With the extra energy needed to run bloatware, you may also find your battery life drains faster than if you didn’t have excess software running.

In addition, bloatware can burn through your storage space, leaving less space for software applications, photos, and documents that you use and value.

More worryingly, there are privacy concerns associated with bloatware. Bloatware can be a security risk if it contains malicious code or tries to redirect you to websites that are out to steal your data or encourage downloads that will infect your computer with malware.

How to Identify Bloatware

So, how can you check to see if there is bloatware on your device? Fortunately, there are several ways to detect bloatware on your phone or computer.

To find bloatware on your phone, check your pre-installed apps. Run through all the apps you have installed and make a note of any you didn’t install yourself.

If you aren’t sure what an app is for, Google it and see if it’s something you’d use or if it’s unnecessary and something you can remove from your device without any loss.

To identify bloatware on your computer, similarly, review your list of installed applications and any that you didn’t install. As with your phone, be sure to research applications before you remove them to ensure they aren’t necessary for keeping your device up and running.

Bloatware Definition and Examples

A good bloatware definition is to describe unnecessary software applications that impact device performance or eat into your storage space.

What do they look like in practice? To identify bloatware on your computer, it can be helpful to narrow down a list of app categories you should be looking out for. These apps may include:

  • Financial management apps
  • Music streaming services
  • Games
  • Time management and productivity apps
  • Health and wellness apps
  • Communications apps
  • Video and photo editing apps
  • News apps

A Quick Guide on How to Remove Bloatware

We’ve covered how bloatware can slow your computer down, drain your battery life, eat into your storage space, and even be a potential security threat to users. But how do you remove bloatware from your computer or phone?

While you typically won’t have a built-in bloatware remover on your device, it’s relatively easy to uninstall yourself. Let’s take a look.

How to Remove Bloatware From Windows 10 and 11

Here’s how you can remove bloatware from Windows 10 and 11:

  1. Click “Start” to open Window’s “Start menu”
  2. Scroll through the list until you find a suspect app, and click on it
  3. Right-click on the app and select “Uninstall”
  4. A confirmation box will appear − select “Yes” to uninstall the app

Note − This will only remove bloatware from the profile you are using. If multiple people are using the same Windows computer via their own profile, they’ll need to remove the bloatware from their own account.

How to Remove Bloatware on Mac

Here’s how to remove bloatware from your Mac:

  1. Head to the “Applications” folder
  2. Right-click on the piece of software you want to delete
  3. Choose “File” and “Move to Trash” on the menu bar
  4. If requested, type in your administrator username and password
  5. Once you’ve moved the app to “Trash,” right-click on the “Trash” app and select “Empty Trash”

Mac desktop showing full “Trash” application with “Trash” label floating above it

Take note − Macs won’t let you remove any applications that are necessary for the device to run efficiently. This can give you extra peace of mind that you’re not removing essential software from your computer, but it can also explain why you can’t remove certain apps.

How to Remove Bloatware From Android

Let’s take a look at how to remove bloatware from an Android phone:

  1. Swipe your finger down from the top of your screen
  2. A menu should appear. Tap on the “Gear” icon to open “Settings,” and then tap “Apps”
  3. Scroll through the list and select the app you want to remove from your device
  4. From the app information screen, select either “Disable” or “Uninstall”
  5. A pop-up will show on your screen asking you to confirm whether you want to uninstall or disable the app
  6. In response to the uninstall request, select “Disable app” or “OK”

How to Remove Bloatware on iPhone

Are you the owner of an iPhone? Here’s how you can remove bloatware from your device:

  1. Locate the app on your phone
  2. Tap and hold the app
  3. A drop-down menu will appear − tap “Remove app”

iPhone screen showing full an app labeled "App" with a "Remove App" label underneath it

Alternatively, if you notice your app starts to jiggle:

  1. Tap on the “Remove” icon − this looks like a circular button with a minus sign inside it

iPhone screen showing full an app labeled “App” with a circular “Remove” icon in its upper left-hand corner

  1. Tap the “Remove” icon
  2. Tap “Done”

Just like on Mac, system-critical apps on iPhone can’t be deleted from your device. If that’s the case, then you won’t see an option for removing it from your phone.

Things to Keep in Mind When Removing Bloatware

We’ve covered the risks of keeping bloatware on your device and walked you through bloatware removal. However, there are a number of things you need to keep in mind before you go ahead and remove bloatware from your phone or computer.

A surprising 20% of people are at risk of losing all of their data as they’ve never backed up their devices. To keep your data and device safe, you should always back up your device before removing bloatware.

If you try to delete bloatware, you may also accidentally delete important data at the same time − this is especially true if you do a factory reset. As such, always make sure you backup your data.

In addition, while there are risks associated with keeping bloatware, it’s important to understand there are also risks associated with removing it, so it’s worth being conscious of the potential consequences.

For example, you may inadvertently remove important applications for your computer. Before you remove bloatware, always ensure you understand which apps on your device are system-critical to avoid removing them.

Best Practices for Preventing Bloatware

How can you avoid inadvertently installing bloatware onto your phone or computer? First up, we always recommend being cautious when installing new apps.

Double-check to see if the installation comes with any unwanted add-ons before moving ahead with your download. In addition, regularly review the apps on your phone or computer and remove any you don’t use.

We also suggest researching devices before making a purchase. While each device has its own pros and cons, some have a reputation for coming with excess applications out-of-the-box.

Last but not least, we always recommend you use an additional antivirus tool to help protect your computer from any bloatware that may come with malicious code. After all, it’s always useful to have a bloatware remover to hand.

Each year, there are around 5.5 billion malware attacks − with “infected” applications being one of the most common mediums through which computers are infected. To help keep your device safe from malicious bloatware, take a look at our guide for the best antivirus tools, or consider using TotalAV.

Related Articles to Read Next

If you found this guide on identifying bloatware and bloatware removal helpful, you may like some of our related guides:

Conclusion − How to Remove Bloatware

While seemingly unproblematic, bloatware can quickly impact your device’s performance. From reducing disk space to creating security concerns, bloatware can negatively impact your system and even put your personal data at risk.

Fortunately, bloatware is relatively easy to remove from your device − to spot and remove it, just follow the steps we’ve described.

Bloatware Removal FAQs

What are examples of bloatware?

Is it OK to remove bloatware?

How do I know what bloatware to remove?

Does removing bloatware improve performance?

Is bloatware a virus?

References

Related How To’s

Related Terms

Kirsten Lamb
Technology Expert
Kirsten Lamb
Technology Expert

Kirsten Lamb is a freelance conversion copywriter and content marketer with a specialist focus in technology. She previously studied at Keele University and The University of Edinburgh. She has over 7 years of experience in the marketing industry and has worked with brands like Hotjar and WooCommerce, plus on the tech side of Booking.com.