South Korea, we love you: Country says no to bloatware, unwanted apps must be deletable

south korea bloatware must be deletable

Everyone loves having added features on their smartphones, but often carriers and smartphone manufacturers get carried away, shoveling dozens of unwanted apps, or “bloatware,” on our phones. Normally we have to just deal with them, ‘disable’ them (which is an odd procedure), or try deleting them with a complicated hack. But not anymore, at least, if you live in South Korea. Thanks to new guidelines by the country’s government, as of April 2014 all “bloatware” on smartphones must be uninstallable by the end-user, with only a few apps as exceptions to the rule.

According to the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning, the goal of this initiative is multifaceted. It will give users back much-deserved control of their devices, not to mention prevent unfair business practices that restrict a user’s free control of his or her devices. The ministry also hopes it will increase performance, improve battery life, and free more device storage on the afflicted devices, which in some cases lose as much as half their internal storage to bloat and other files.

There are a few exceptions to this policy. Apps that are deemed essential to the OS operating properly, such as for Wi-Fi and NFC control, are allowed to stay. There are also exceptions for some service applications like the Google Play app store and apps related to customer service.

Bloatware is a tricky subject. Some consider any software that doesn’t come with the original OS as bloatware – even special launchers for Android like Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. As a result, we’re not sure how far this will go for some smartphones over otherwise, but it’s still great news for smartphone owners in South Korea. Hopefully these controls will make their way to the United States.

The LG G2 came with 62 pre-installed, non-removable apps, and the LG G Flex comes with 84. Samsung’s phones contain a similarly huge number. Anything to reduce the clutter makes us very happy.


Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.

Save up to $800 with the best smartphone deals for December 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $800.

Doubts emerge over when LG will reveal its folding smartphone

LG may be working on a folding smartphone, making it the latest device manufacturer to be linked to the technology, which may become one of the standout designs of the coming year.

Report: Samsung's upcoming foldable phone will cost a hefty $1,800

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy F, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Product Review

With sapphire glass and analog dials, you'd never know this watch is smart

The world of hybrid smartwatches is getting much larger, and the latest comes from a name with history — New York Standard Watches. In our NYSW GTS Activity Tracker review, we find out what makes this watch special, and why we were so…

Which smartphone manufacturers won and lost in 2018

As the curtain comes down on 2018, we take a look at the big successes and failures in the smartphone market over the last 12 months. Which phone maker had the best year, and who had a year to forget?

Scientists have charged a phone and a Fitbit with solar-powered clothes

Scientists from Britain's Nottingham Trent University have discovered a way to incorporate solar panels into clothing, and they've even managed to charge a phone and Fitbit with the energy created.

The Lenovo Z5 Pro GT packs the most RAM ever seen in a smartphone

The next generation of smartphones has begun, and it's begun with a bang. The Lenovo Z5 Pro GT comes with the next generation Snapdragon 855 processor, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage.

The best iPhone XS Max screen protectors to safeguard that huge display

If you love big screens, then the iPhone XS Max's huge 6.5-inch display is perfect for you. But it won't fare well against concrete. Protect your display with the best iPhone XS Max screen protectors.

Fitbit supercharges its smartwatches with its new 3.0 operating system

Fitbit announced a new software update for the Versa and Ionic, called Fitbit OS 3.0. The new OS will allow for things like on-device daily views, as well as 10 new third-party apps on the watch.

Google’s Gboard communication app reaches 500 languages in only 2 years

In December 2016, Google launched Gboard with support for an already-impressive 100 languages. Since then, however, Google has added a hefty 400 languages to the software keyboard, bringing the total number to 500.

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.

Walmart’s $100 2018 iPad discount is one of the best we’ve seen yet

The 2018 iPad is one of the best tablets we've ever seen and the tablet we recommend to the vast majority of users. Now, Walmart is offering one of the best deals so far on the device: $100 off the 32GB space gray version.