Many smartphones/tablets come packed with pre-installed apps by device manufactures and cellular carriers which are not user-removable. These apps are called bloatware and takes up valuable storage space.
Who installs these apps?
Platform, device manufactures and even the carrier install such apps. Carriers like Verizon, AT&T and devices manufacturers like Samsung, LG and HTC preload handsets with their apps.
Even Apple phones come with preloaded apps e.g. iLife and iWork on iPhone 6. Some third parties tie up with carriers and provide free subscription for limited period of time. They are undeletable and we need to pay to renew the subscription or to make full use of them. Music subscription services and anti-malware apps are the examples.
Useful or crap?
Though these apps are loaded to enhance user experience, most of the times they are not used by users. They consume a lot of RAM thus producing a bloat. If they are running in background they also eat up processing cycles, battery and slow down the phone.
How to remove bloatware?
Uninstalling or removing preinstalled apps is not straightforward and it does involve unsupported techniques.
If the iPhone is not ‘jailbroken’, only option is to include unwanted apps in a folder and hide it. For jailbroken phones, Cydia app can be used for uninstalling. However, some of the apps can be bound closely to OS and may cause OS issues.
Android 4.0 provided feature of disabling the apps instead of uninstalling. However, this does not remove app completely. Only option is to root the device and uninstall unwanted apps. Even this can cause issues to OS. One can also try using CynogenMod OS; an open-source operating system based on Android without its preinstalled apps. Few days back Microsoft announced that some of its apps like Outlook, Skype will be bundled along with CynogenMod OS. However, they are removable apps and cannot be considered as bloatware.
Preinstalled apps on Windows Phone are user removable since the beginning. Hence, the problem of bloatware does not affect Windows Phone.