Bloatware: What it is and How to Remove It
There’s a long list of malware and viruses that are threatening your computer and other devices, but did you know some of the most common culprits for slow speeds are actually hiding in plain sight? Bloatware is one of them. Simply put, it’s software that you never wanted. It’s responsible for taking up an unhealthy amount of processing power and can actually cause damage to your devices as a result.
Bloatware includes the pre-installed software that comes with your laptop, computer, or mobile phone and any additional software that’s forced onto your machine when you download and start using a new application. This all sounds pretty innocent, doesn’t it? So, what is it about bloatware that makes it such a problem?
Why Bloatware Is Such A Problem
Bloatware Leads to Security Risks
Bloatware can pose a significant security risk – to android devices in particular. Many of the pre-installed apps on an android phone are managed by the firm’s pre-installed app store and aren’t available to download separately from other stores (such as the Google Play store). As a result, they don’t have to pass the same rigorous security tests.
It’s never 100% clear what kind of information the bloatware on your Android devices is keeping tabs on, or where that information is being sent to.
It Can Slow Down Your Devices and Make Them Useless
It’s only natural that after a certain amount of time, the memory on your mobile phone and computer is going to start filling up with saved photos and movies. This is where bloatware becomes a problem. Once any kind of strain is being placed on your devices, bloatware becomes very noticeable. It takes up a lot of memory and CPU, which can sometimes render devices completely useless in some cases.
Bloatware Leads to More Serious Issues
Your phone already comes pre-installed with a significant amount of bloatware. If you’re the kind of person that enjoys downloading lots of apps that you only use a handful of times, you could be installing even more bloatware onto your device without realizing it. When this happens and your CPU is completely exhausted, your device will start crashing or attempt to restart. In more serious cases, you may need to completely reset your device, which could lead to you losing important files.
How to Protect Yourself From Bloatware
Perform a Manual Uninstall on Windows Devices
On Windows 10, you can safely remove bloatware by performing a regular uninstall in your apps and features menu. While relatively harmless bloatware can be uninstalled this way, other programs can prove more difficult to get rid of and will require the installation of additional software. Which leads us to our next point…
Use a VPN
You can unknowingly download bloatware onto your devices by clicking on links and advertisements from dangerous websites, making it a form of malware too. Thankfully, you can easily avoid such a risk by using a VPN that has built-in anti-malware capabilities. Websites such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN will automatically block any suspicious websites or adverts to protect your devices, making them perfect for users who are looking for extra security online.
Disable App Permissions on Android
Putting a stop to annoying bloatware isn’t as easy on Android devices. As most of the bloatware on Android devices is pre-installed, there’s no easy option to uninstall or delete it. Instead, you’ll have to open up your settings to disable it. There is a way to manually delete bloatware, but doing so requires you to root your phone, something we’d suggest avoiding, especially if you want to hold onto your warranty.
Use Computer Cleaning Software
Your computer running slow? There are lots of helpful programs out there that have been developed to identify and remove bloatware from your devices. ShouldIRemoveIt? is one of them. It can take a look through your machine and let you know which programs you’re hardly using and the ones that can go as a result. It’s one of the easiest ways to completely remove bloatware (or crapware, as they call it).
Not every program on your phone or computer is useful. Developers want to cram as many different programs onto your devices as possible, usually to grab as much information from you as possible. Storage is precious. Don’t let it be eaten away by useless junk that you’ll never end up using.
As we mentioned above, a VPN is a fantastic way of avoiding bloatware online. If you’re not using a VPN already and are still on the fence as to whether a VPN is for you or not, you can learn more about the benefits of using one here.