Nova Launcher App Drawer Google Icons

Every single time I get a new phone, my first mission is to get rid of that pesky software manufacturers and carriers insist on pushing down our throats. Yes, I am talking about bloatware, those apps which come pre-installed in your new handsets, but you will likely never use and can’t truly uninstall.

These applications include, but are not limited to, carrier services, cloud storage, sports and games. I have come to the realization that they mostly exist so that us Android enthusiasts can complain about something. But don’t you worry, for there are ways to get them out of your way, and you don’t even need to tinker away and get root access. Let’s show you how this is done.

Hiding apps

The easiest way to clean up your app drawer is by hiding your apps. This used to be a feature we could only see in third-party launchers, which was heaven-sent for those of us who wanted to get rid of bloatware without having to root. The good news is some manufacturers have started baking this feature straight into their launchers, so you may not even need a third-party launcher to do this.

We can’t exactly tell you how to hide apps, as this process is very different for every manufacturer and launcher, but it’s usually an option in the app drawer settings.

Here’s how I can do it in the LG G4:

The downside to this is that hiding apps doesn’t do much other than keeping them out of sight. These apps will still run in the background and take up space. And given that most times bloatware can’t be uninstalled, the next best option would be to disable these applications from the system settings.

How to disable apps

Disabling apps will ensure installed applications are not running in the background. The icons will also fail to appear in your app drawer or home screens. The only issue is the app will continue to be in the phone, taking up precious space, but at least it won’t be draining other resources or cluttering your apps drawer.

  1. Open your Settings app
  2. Scroll down until you find “Apps” or “Application Manager”, tap on it.
  3. Find the application you want to disable and select it.
  4. There will be an option to “Disable”.
  5. You should get a message warning you about the risks of disabling an app. Just press “Yes”.
  6. You are done! The app is now out of sight and no longer active.

Keep in mind that some of these steps may vary a bit depending on your specific device. It shouldn’t be difficult to figure out, though. Just find the application manager and enter the app. Your option should be there.

While none of these methods are quite as satisfying as completely removing bloatware from a device, it is certainly better than just leaving the apps enabled and eating away at your system resources. For those that want to take it to the next level, you can always root your phone and there are then plenty of free root-enabled apps that will help you further eradicate the bloatware menace.

Edgar Cervantes
Edgar Cervantes has over 5 years of experience in tech journalism. Exploring the latest gadgets and constantly studying the industry are part of is daily drive. Regardless of what he is working on, you can be sure he is always trying his best to bring you the best content. He will be dead honest and will bend to nothing.
  • Colonel JK Stern

    feels like this article is right out of 2010. was there anyone who did not know how to do this??

    • john

      It isn’t out of 2010, because the OS version that permitted this hadn’t been written.

      • Colonel JK Stern

        wow way to go being a sarcasm-nazi

        • john


          • Colonel JK Stern

            haha nice one! u sir, are the troll. I did not respond to you, u are the one who failed to recognize a sarcastic comment. Then again, this article was obviously aimed at the likes of you since you are getting so butthurt by it.

    • Marius Oprisan

      I was expecting to read about other methods. Title is kinda click and bait. Debloater for Windows is a good tool to remove/disable bloatware from non-rooted phones.

      • Colonel JK Stern

        completely agree! I was expecting to read some more useful, UPDATED methods. Not this old school, well known way to disable an app.

      • Janus LaDove

        Almost like they have been reading my Disqus comments on other sites!

    • Martin Kaiser

      And what about users new to Android who do not know about this yet, smartass?

      • Colonel JK Stern

        You read any article from 2010

  • motoridersd

    You need to add a How To for Debloat tool. A lot of pre-loaded apps cannot be disabled through the OS, you have to do it through ADB. You can even disable CarrierIQ apks this way.

  • John Doe

    I thought space isn’t a reason anymore for rooting – deleting apps? Disabling them is fine, because the apps are in the system partition and you can’t install your apps there. So deleting them doesn’t really help your storage get bigger.

    • Janus LaDove

      The point is they should not be installed at all; and they aren’t installed on phones in China, according to an article I read last week.

      • John Doe

        No, that’s not the point. The title says: “How to disable bloatware…”. I was merely pointing out that disabling apps should be sufficient for most people, instead of rooting (if disabling is a option for them and you are doing it for space on the phone).

        • Janus LaDove

          You changed the point here: “So deleting them doesn’t really help your storage get bigger.”

  • Keith Monson

    Yes that was a waste of time. Also note that anything you do will be undone when you power cycle the phone. It would be better if phone manufacturers would just stop putting that stuff on in the first place!

  • KonnivingKiwi

    No mention of Package Disabler Pro? Disable ANY system app you wish without Root. I have 40+ items disabled on my Galaxy S6. Works as advertised. Be careful disabling items you aren’t familiar with. It may cripple the phone. I accidentally selected TouchWiz Home and had to uninstall/reinstall to get things right again.

  • HotelQuebec

    Disabling is better than deleting since it doesn’t change the image checksum which will affect the ability to get OTA updates. Also, this method through app menu is limited. The Debloat tool does a more thorough job of disabling apps that don’t have the disable button.

  • Rounak

    Why can’t I disable messaging app on my moto g2?
    I use Google’s messenger

  • Jonathon Rios

    What a useless article lol.

  • Nader Idkeidek

    Wow, and I thought apple guys were stupidly clever. Thank you however.

  • This kind of mickey mouse article has no place in a publication for enthusiasts, where most readers know how to do the basics. The problem faced by any kind of regular news publication, however, is that sometimes there isn’t much news and fillers have to be used even if they are not worth the space they take up.

  • Justin Williams

    Well I feel disappointed. Nothing that I haven’t been doing since 5 years ago!

  • And here I thought this article might be the ultimate solution I have searching for! Lame article AA! ?

  • A2theC

    I’ve seen some USEFUL apps in the google play store that can disable system/preloaded apps that normally won’t let you, but GOD this article is basic 101 from the Samsung Experience Shop class for beginners…

    Next article should be “How to use ‘FaceTime’ on android” then show hangouts…

  • ladoputi360

    What a useless article who does not know this?

  • Soto

    This is meant for the new readers and or new to Android users, you small-minded freaks.

    • People aren’t being small-minded freaks. The instructions shown here are actually rather intuitive to begin with. If you’re going to write an article, you’d better also go beyond the basics or your article is going to be useless to 90% of the people Googling this issue.

  • Two simple methods you have given to remove bloatware apps on Android smartphone. Before reading this article I was not aware that this could be as simple.

    Although, as you have mentioned in the article that it doesn’t actually removed but can certainly generate space in the smartphone, I would still thank you for bringing this article into the notice.