Android Delete Apps

If you need to clear out some space on your device, uninstalling old apps is a great place to start. You can quickly uninstall any app that you’ve downloaded from the Play Store. If the app came preloaded on your device, you’ll have to jump through a few hoops in order to get rid of it. You can also disable any apps that you can’t get rid of.

Uninstalling an app that you have installed on your Android device from Google Play is simple — but what if you didn’t install it? What if the app you’re trying to remove is one of those that came pre-installed on your device, provided by the manufacturer, your mobile network, or as a part of Android itself? Removing unwanted system apps from Android can be tricky, but it is not impossible.

Why You Might Want To Remove These Apps

Before you start deleting apps, however, you should spend a few moments considering just why you want to get them off your phone. For instance, it might be that they are cluttering up your home screen. If this is the case, then long tapping and dragging to the Remove box at the top of the screen should get them out of the way.

On the other hand, these apps might be considered “bloatware” and take up valuable resources. Pre-installed games might take up space on your phone’s storage, while Internet-connected apps could be eating into your monthly allowance. Such apps might even be recording and/or uploading information that you would prefer they didn’t.

And then there’s the impact on your battery life.

Uninstall Downloaded Apps

You can delete any app that you’ve downloaded using the Settings app on your device.

  1. Open the Settings app from your app drawer.
  2. Tap "Apps" or "Applications". This will open your device’s application manager.
  3. Swipe to the "Downloads" tab. This tab contains all of the apps downloaded from the Play Store or installed from other sources.
  4. Find and tap the app that you want to delete. Scroll through the list of downloaded apps and tap the one that you want to delete. This will open the details for that app.
  5. Tap the "Uninstall" button. You will be prompted to confirm that you want to remove the app. Tap "OK" to confirm that you want to delete it.

If you can’t find an "Uninstall" button and only see an "Uninstall updates" or "Disable" button, the app came preloaded on your device. Even preloaded apps can show up in the Downloads tab. The only way to remove these apps is by rooting your device and uninstalling them through the command prompt. See the next section for details. If you just want to hide the app, you can "Disable" it instead and the icon will disappear from your app drawer and home screens.

Delete apps from the app menu

On some phones, namely Samsung’s Galaxy range, you might be able to delete apps from the app menu. If you open the menu from the homescreen, look for Edit somewhere - it’s usually in the top right corner butmight also be in a menu which you swipe in from the side.

Once you’ve hit edit, the apps which you can uninstall will be marked with a minus or sometimes a cross. Select the one you want to uninstall and follow the intructions to complete the process.

Use a File Explorer

Since some of you may already have a file manager that you use, let’s cover this option next. Although there are different file managers available on the Play Store, I’ll be using my favorite, ES File Explorer File Manager. Using ES, access the side menu and tap the "App" option to view all the apps on your device.

While on the App page, tap and hold one application in order to begin checking the multiple apps you want to uninstall, then tap "Uninstall" on the panel below. Be aware that although you can select multiple apps, you will need to confirm and tap "Uninstall" for each app individually.

Use a Bulk Uninstaller App

There are tons of "uninstaller" apps available that essentially all do the same thing, so for the simple reason of presentation, I’ll be using Easy Uninstaller. Much like the file explorer, simply select the multiple apps you wish to remove, then tap "uninstall." Again, you will have to confirm each app.

In addition to the heaps of third-party apps you never use anymore, there are probably some stock applications (or bloatware) that you haven’t used since day one and also want to remove. Although you may not be able to delete these while unrooted, you can hide them. But for all you root users, we’ll be showing you how to uninstall them, too.

Options For Non-Rooted Devices

Deleting system apps isn’t possible in most cases, but what you can do is disable them, or on older versions of Android, hide the ones you don’t want.

Prior to Android 4.4 KitKat (which you should now be using to protect against the stock browser bug), you could open the app drawer, tap the menu and select Hide Applications before selecting the apps you wished to hide and then tapping Done to finish.

For devices running Android 4.4 KitKat, you should go to Settings > Device > Apps and find the app that you want to remove. Select Force stop and then Disable — you won’t be able to delete the app, but it will stop running on your phone, never to be seen again until you perform a factory reset.

This isn’t a great solution, admittedly, as there are some apps that cannot be disabled in this way. Should you find that this doesn’t suit you, there is always the option of installing an app launcher replacement. Any app can be removed from a third party launcher, but remember that it will still be on your phone, hidden away in the background.

In most cases disabling and hiding an unwanted app is just as good as removal.

Rooted? Try These Tools

For those of you who have rooted their phones (a universal method of rooting doesn’t exist; you’ll have to head over to the XDA-Developers forums to get an idea of where to start for your model), the matter of removing unwanted pre-installed apps is a little easier.

NoBloat Free

This is a good, free solution that removes pre-installed bloatware and makes backups too — after all, you wouldn’t want to delete the wrong app and end up with a featureless phone! A premium version is also available, offering some enhanced features such as blacklisting system apps.

System App Remover

This app offers an easy way to remove apps while also proving the tools to move apps to your SD card, should this function be required. Although ad-supported, System App Remover seems to be faster than the other two options in removing pre-installed system apps.

Titanium Backup

Arguably the first app you might think of for dealing with unwanted apps on your Android Device is Titanium Backup. It can handle any app you throw at it, whether downloaded from Google Play or pre-installed. The free version allows you to backup and uninstall apps, but the paid version allows you to freeze apps and more.

App Master

A final option you might want to check out is a simple bulk uninstall tool we reviewed a while back that focuses entirely on batch uninstalling apps in a clean and easy way. Check it out if the above options don’t tickle your fancy.

Don’t Forget Custom ROMs!

There is one other solution for removing unwanted apps from your Android device: flash a custom ROM. While it might take a bit of research to find out which new ROM will fulfill your needs, the solution can leave you with a stripped-back version of Android that you can keep particularly close control of.

OmniROM and Paranoid Android are two examples of custom ROMs that are designed for users with an eye on performance and privacy, and these are two key reasons why you might want to kill the bloat on your phone. You should definitely consider these an option, especially if you’re already rooted.