Most Android smartphones come with at least a few basic apps pre-installed. Some come with a lot of apps that you may not want or need. And while this isn’t something that’s unique to Android device, the bloatware that often comes with Windows PCs can usually be uninstalled. Android bloatware is a tougher nut to crack, because it’s often written to your device’s system partition, which means it cannot be fully removed without root access.

But you can prevent unwanted apps from ever running or consuming precious CPU or RAM resources. It’s possible to do that with a series of Android Debug Bridge commands. Or you can simplify things by using a free utility called Universal Android Debloater.

The Asus Zenfone 2 had more bloatware than any other phone I’ve ever used.

In a nutshell, this application removes pre-installed system apps from the user-accessible data partition of your Android phone, tablet, or other device. While the “removed” apps will still take up space in your system storage, the Universal Android Debloater script will stop them from ever being loaded into memory – even after you reboot your device.

You do still need a bit of technical know-how to run the utility. It involves enabling developer options on your Android device and then connecting it to your computer with a USB cable and running a command line script that will bulk “remove” unwanted applications. That script runs natively in Linux or macOS terminal windows, but Windows users will need to install the Windows Subsystem for Linux or another Unix-like environment that will let you run bash scripts.

If that doesn’t scare you off, then the next step is to run the script which will compare your device against a set of bloatware lists to identify apps to uninstall. There are debloat lists for various phone makers, wireless carriers, and universal lists for apps that are often pre-installed by chip makers or other potentially unwanted applications from Google, Facebook, Amazon, or Microsoft, for example.

You may also want to look through the default lists and remove any apps that you want to keep before running the script.

In the event that you do accidentally end up removing apps that you want to keep, the process is reversible – one of the software’s features is reinstallation of system packages. But you may lose any user data associated with those apps, so it’s probably a good idea to back up as much data as you can before beginning.

You can find out more about the Universal Android Debloater by reading the FAQ or checking out the official thread for the project at the xda-developers forum. Or you can just download the latest release and take it for a spin following the “How to use it” instructions at the project’s GitLab page.

via xda-developers

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4 Comments

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  1. if this doesn’t remove the bloat from the storage space, and only keeps them out of RAM, I don’t have much use for it.

  2. I dusted off an old Asus tablet to just run YouTube music on Bluetooth. It has so much bloat that every couple of seconds – it would blip for a microsecond or less. I tried to disable the apps to get it to perform better. Didnt want to go through the motions of rooting it and replacing it with a custom ROM. But this has come right in time – all I need are those apps supressed so that I can get as much performance as I can. So this is something I will try out over the weekend. Great tip Brad. Plus this script is Bash and not some fancy Java – so I can atleast make some modifications.

  3. Is this method of suppressing unwanted android apps actually new? I don’t think it is. I can’t remember where, but I have seen this method before.
    Removing unwanted apps isn’t just a point of principle, it is to stop those things from collecting data about you. The description above doesn’t actually say that the suppressed apps will no longer collect your data – it just says you won’t see them.
    I don’t really think that is good enough. Sorry.