South Korea rules that all smartphone bloatware must be removable

The South Korean government clearly appears to have the best interests of its smartphone users in mind.

Recently announced industry guidelines dictate that all "bloatware" loaded onto smartphones must be deletable. Only applications that are critical to the function of Wi-Fi connectivity, near-field communication (NFC), the customer service center, and the app store are exempt from this ruling.

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said that the new guidelines aim to "rectify an abnormal practice that causes inconvenience to smartphone users and causes unfair competition among industry players." The Ministry believes that its measures will empower smartphone users with more data storage and better battery life.

This ruling will mostly notably affect South Korean company Samsung and its line of Galaxy smartphones, the most recent of which suffers from a lack of available storage due to pre-installed bloatware.

Perhaps government pressure will encourage Samsung to follow in the footsteps of its better behaved siblings (the Google Nexus line) and other rivals who already adhere to South Korea's new guidelines (see any Windows Phone device).

Source: zdnet.com

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44 Comments

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Hooray for Governments using force to control UX on devices. Just remember if they can change stuff you agree with they can change stuff you disagree with.

ZipZapRap said,
Should be the same for laptops

There's a laptop that prevents you from uninstalling the software it comes with? This isn't saying they can't install bloatware (one man's bloatware is another's useful app) it's just saying that the user has to be able to uninstall it. As far as I know that's already the case for laptops.

Asmodai said,

Yeah, and nothing prevents you from deleting keys in there either.

Only 1% of the population knows the registry exists, and half of them know how to edit it /correctly/

Don't use that excuses, because there is too much bloatware on modern laptops and you know it

ZipZapRap said,

Only 1% of the population knows the registry exists, and half of them know how to edit it /correctly/

Don't use that excuses, because there is too much bloatware on modern laptops and you know it


I'm not using any excuse, I agree that there is too much bloatware on modern laptops I was just pointing out that that opinion has nothing to do with this article since it has nothing to do with how much bloatware is installed, only if you have the rights or not to remove what is installed. On laptops you DO have the required permissions to uninstall bloatware, no matter how much there may be or if you know how to do it or not. On many phones you do NOT have the required permissions at all and have to "root" or "jailbreak" your phone which may be illegal, void your device warranty, etc.

Obviously this will affect Samsung phones being sold in SK, but will it stop them jamming it with bloatware on phones they ship outside of SK?

yeah, exactly. this news seem to be only valid for S.Korea.

why would anyone else really care. samsung phones anywhere else will still be the same.

Xilo said,
No because a lot of it is put on by carriers.

My phones have thankfully never had carrier bloat on. They have an app in the store that I can download if I want. I was thinking about all the S apps that simply duplicate functions already filled by Google stock apps. Being able to get rid of S Voice and the other S apps would be great. At best I can download additional apps, get a launcher and hide the icons. But they're still there taking up space and ram.

my iPhone 5s i feel is not loaded with bloatware and what apple did offer for free is a good thing but i choose what i put on my iPhone/mobile. as for androids i feel sorry for a lot of folks, the temptation is too great and the makers of these devices the temptation is as well too great.

belto said,
my iPhone 5s i feel is not loaded with bloatware and what apple did offer for free is a good thing but i choose what i put on my iPhone/mobile. as for androids i feel sorry for a lot of folks, the temptation is too great and the makers of these devices the temptation is as well too great.

I really admire Apple for its clean devices and skipping carriers for updates. WP is pretty good in this regard, but its not up to that level of awesome yet. Hopefully! One day!

that's the problem with Android/Windows Phones, you got 3rd party OEMs/carriers trying to shove what they think is "best" for you and you are force to deal with what they put in your phone. Android seems to have this issue more often probably due to it's open approach to the mobile handhelds.

One thing I do like about Apple is that they are in charge with what's on your phone. If you're an apple user, you won't mind this as you'll be part of the apple ecosystem already.

I wish this would be a rule in the US. I get so tired of having apps I can't remove on my phone unless you root the damn thing.

if you have an android device and don't root it what the hell are you doing?

thats like using a windows pc with the administrator rights turned off.

anothercookie said,
if you have an android device and don't root it what the hell are you doing?

thats like using a windows pc with the administrator rights turned off.


Thats how you should use a computer.... As a user, not running as an admin (or root).

recursive said,
Get a Nexus if you want to install apps of your choice. Get a windows phone if you don't want any apps.

I am a windows phone users and I have almost all the apps I need either through first party or third party. another thing is the more apps you install on android the slower your system become because they get integrated with OS. this is not the case in windows Phone thanks to virtual machines, application sandboxing and contracts. moreover when you remove the app in android it leaves some foot print. (use file explorer to see some folder still exist related to that app) which still not the case in WP, when you remove an app its gone.

Shadowzz said,

Thats how you should use a computer.... As a user, not running as an admin (or root).

I think you mis-understand. All people need admin/root every now and again to install apps and stuff. An android phone doesn't run as root all the time but rooting it enables the capability if needed. What is he saying is that running an Android device without root is like running a PC (or Linux as you indirectly mentioned) with admin/root disabled permanently without a way to gain access to that.

trojan_market said,

I am a windows phone users and I have almost all the apps I need either through first party or third party. another thing is the more apps you install on android the slower your system become because they get integrated with OS. this is not the case in windows Phone thanks to virtual machines, application sandboxing and contracts. moreover when you remove the app in android it leaves some foot print. (use file explorer to see some folder still exist related to that app) which still not the case in WP, when you remove an app its gone.

That is just plain misinformation. Unless your device is rooted. there is no way an app can alter or intergrate with any part of the Android operating system. Every app runs in its own sandboxed secure vm, and cannot access any other processes or app except its own.

There are two types of files on Android:
1. Files you created. For example, you wouldn't want pictures you downloaded with the browser to disappear when you uninstall the browser would you? So these files are left on the global external storage directory.
2. Cache files. You can clear these at any time under settings, and are automatically cleared when the app is removed.

recursive said,

That is just plain misinformation.

I like how you complain about misinformation when earlier in the thread you say something incredibly stupid like "Get a windows phone if you don't want any apps."

recursive said,

That is just plain misinformation. Unless your device is rooted. there is no way an app can alter or intergrate with any part of the Android operating system. Every app runs in its own sandboxed secure vm, and cannot access any other processes or app except its own.

There are two types of files on Android:
1. Files you created. For example, you wouldn't want pictures you downloaded with the browser to disappear when you uninstall the browser would you? So these files are left on the global external storage directory.
2. Cache files. You can clear these at any time under settings, and are automatically cleared when the app is removed.


I bet you have no clue of Linux programming, as a developer I don't spread lies. first off all you distorted my statement. I never said an app access other apps or processes, I said an app integrate with system, yes apps have sandboxing in android, I said the more apps you install, the slower your system become. because apps are more integrated. Windows on the other hand has another way of doing it. Windows Mobile 6.x had similar problem where apps could integrate into system and do whatever they wanted to (in android they ask for your permission before you install each app). Windows 7.x and 8.x has other approach. its more strict which is why developers didn't like it at first place. it imposes more restriction for developers, OEMs and Carrier providers. which is why you can remove ANY apps including bloatwares but you can't on android. this is double edge sword. but I prefer the Windows way because my phone will have longer battery life and dramatically lower crash rate. as long as I have space available I can install as many apps as I want assuring my system won't slow down

I'm so glad that on my Windows Phone I can already uninstall any crap the carrier/manufacturer decides to install.

Nimdock said,
I'm so glad that on my Windows Phone I can already uninstall any crap the carrier/manufacturer decides to install.

Agreed with you, on my Nokia 1520 i removed all AT&T bloatware software installed. it is so easy compared to my previous experience with a Xperia ZL and Android. Not easy to remove, unless you root the phone.

Nimdock said,
I'm so glad that on my Windows Phone I can already uninstall any crap the carrier/manufacturer decides to install.

Same here (had a Samsung Focus, Lumia 900, now 1020). But honestly? PCs need this in spades. And need it easily removable, for that matter.

I can't see carriers or OEMs doing that here - they'll fight it, or (less likely) offer a premium "clean" install for smartphones they bog down with crap.

And the other thing worth mentioning is that if you do change your mind later it is super easy to go into the carrier/OEM section in the app store and reinstall any of the apps you may have deleted.

When I hear people talking about "rooting" an Android phone to delete apps I just think this is not what a phone experience should be.

I guess it could depend on one's version of bloatware, I don't think my s3's bloated, but do understand that it's ui is hated (though not by me), and some think touchwiz in itself, if bloatware.

Aheer.R.S. said,
I guess it could depend on one's version of bloatware, I don't think my s3's bloated, but do understand that it's ui is hated (though not by me), and some think touchwiz in itself, if bloatware.

You do realise that when they're talking about bloatware they're referring to the drop box application bundled with the phone along with other third party crapware?

Yes, and I do understand, and can agree with you, but Dropbox happens to be one of the apps I do use a lot, (It just happens to be my preferred choice of cloud storage, but again, it's because it came bundled with my s3 and I haven't looked elsewhere for cloud storage yet..)

This is partly why I said it would depend on what one would call bloatware/crapware, (if a user doesn't need or is not interested in it)

Aheer.R.S. said,
Yes, and I do understand, and can agree with you, but Dropbox happens to be one of the apps I do use a lot, (It just happens to be my preferred choice of cloud storage, but again, it's because it came bundled with my s3 and I haven't looked elsewhere for cloud storage yet..)

This is partly why I said it would depend on what one would call bloatware/crapware, (if a user doesn't need or is not interested in it)

Why have it installed into the base system and doesn't allow you to uninstall it? why not just have vanilla Android installation plus Touchwiz and let the end user to decide what to install on their phone when they need it? why make it so that you cannot uninstall these components?

Which ones? Admittedly I haven't really tried all of the features in my phone as I don't social network, or anything like that, it makes/recieves calls/texts, email and maybe one or two other things (yes, a smartphone is too much phone for me, but it was what I wanted)
You've raised an interesting point as I'm not aware of any of these non uninstallable apps even though I haven't tried them all yet (pre packaged)

Aheer.R.S. said,
Which ones? Admittedly I haven't really tried all of the features in my phone as I don't social network, or anything like that, it makes/recieves calls/texts, email and maybe one or two other things (yes, a smartphone is too much phone for me, but it was what I wanted)
You've raised an interesting point as I'm not aware of any of these non uninstallable apps even though I haven't tried them all yet (pre packaged)

1) Please quote the person whom you're replying because I don't know whether you're replying to me or to the original poster.

2) Look at a Samsung Galaxy S3 or S4 and you'll see it crammed with preinstalled software that you cannot uninstall. It is one thing to include things like Drop Box to make life easier for a first time user but there is absolutely no reason other than spite to ram pre-instlaled applications down the throat of the end user but not allowing the user to uninstall them. It is akin to purchasing a laptop from Lenovo with all the crapware but having to hack your installation of Windows just to uninstall it.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

1) Please quote the person whom you're replying because I don't know whether you're replying to me or to the original poster.

2) Look at a Samsung Galaxy S3 or S4 and you'll see it crammed with preinstalled software that you cannot uninstall. It is one thing to include things like Drop Box to make life easier for a first time user but there is absolutely no reason other than spite to ram pre-instlaled applications down the throat of the end user but not allowing the user to uninstall them. It is akin to purchasing a laptop from Lenovo with all the crapware but having to hack your installation of Windows just to uninstall it.


Yes, sorry, as we were having a direct conversation, I just hit reply instead of quote.
I do understand what you mean after checking my phone, but I still feel it didn't ruin my enjoyment of the s3, as a toy and as a communications device. And the fact that it could handle the pre installed apps (whether I used them or not with no noticeable effect to me)

I just assumed that because I don't mess with stuff I have no interest in, others did the same.
This is why I still feel the term 'bloatware' depends on the user. I understand your point. In my case, it saved me some time, not looking for apps that could handle the things I use my phone for. The rest I just ignored.
Sorry if it seems I'm rambling (I've got flu and feel off balance, so my point may be lost in the explanation I have given)
To summarise, yes it's most likely a great idea to only have the os installed on the phone, but in most cases, prebuilt apps save a guy like me some time. But the non uninstallable apps thing was kinda new to me as I never bothered with the apps I didn't use.