How to Effectively Remove Android Crapware

Whether it’s an unwanted NFL app preloaded on your Verizon phone or AT&T’s unnecessary Navigator service, every Android phone sold by carrier comes festooned with crapware that you can’t uninstall. Even worse, if you check your settings menu, you’ll see that some of these apps are actively running in the background, devouring your system resources.

Unless you’ve rooted your phone — a risky process that voids your warranty — you cannot delete these apps from your storage memory. However, with a few simple steps, on any Android 4.0 or greater device, you can make them disappear from the apps menu and prevent them from loading in the background.

  1. Navigate to Settings. You can get to the settings menu either in your apps menu or, on most phones, by pulling down the notification drawer and tapping a button there. 
    Settings App
  2. Select the Apps submenu. On some phones this menu will have a slightly different name such as Application Manager.
    Select Apps Menu
  3. Swipe right to the All apps list. Ignore the lists of Running and Downloaded apps. You want the All apps list.
    All Apps Menu 
  4. Select the app you wish to disable.  A properties screen appears with a button for Force Stop on the upper left and another for either Disable or Uninstall updates on the upper right side. 
    Select app you want to disable
  5. Tap Uninstall updates if necessary. If the right button says simply Uninstall, the app is probably not a preload and it can be completely removed simply by tapping that button.
    Tap uninstall updates if necessary 
  6. Tap Disable. 
    Tap Disable 

The offending app will now disappear from the All apps menu and will no longer launch in the background. If you want to re-enable an app, simply look for it at the bottom of the list of All apps in settings, select it and tap Enable.

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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  1. Phil Says:

    If it’s preinstalled crapware, you usually can’t disable it. The button will be greyed out.

  2. Tim Says:

    Does not work on Droid RAZR Android version 4.1.2.

  3. UhWhat Says:

    I’ve found that some apps and widgets still run even after I’ve disabled them. No option to uninstall, either. Drives me crazy that my battery gets used up by this crapware preinstalled on my phone.

  4. Tim Says:

    I take back what I said about not working on the RAZR 4.1.2. Some apps you can disable directly as in the instructions above, but some you need to uninstall updates, back out the the apps menus, go back in, and then you can see the disable button.

  5. Brian Says:

    Doesn’t work on an LG Vortex running 2.2.2 – no real disabling functions at all, sadly.

  6. Norma Price Says:

    How do you delete videos that have automatically been sent to google?

  7. abullgator Says:

    as an office how do I know which apps are crap ware and not some system needed software

  8. edgar123ny Says:

    It is said on rooted devices. That’s the only way. And then you freeze them with another application like where’s my phone.

  9. latreice Says:

    Yes! This works I just did it on my Samsung galaxy s3! Thanks!!

  10. DeliveryMan79 Says:

    The lightening launcher really is fantastic

  11. soozzie Says:

    When I start to do this the phone warns me that some other apps may not work correctly if I disable it. Any experience with problems after disabling?

  12. vinoth Says:

    than you, worked in xperia e

  13. Wakane Says:

    Nic article.

    However, the title is a little bit incorrect. It is more accurate if it says “How to (sometimes) disable Android crapware

  14. Frank Moll Says:

    Thanks for the tips. It seems to helped. Time will tell.

  15. Mike Eisenberg Says:

    Avram, More good stuff. Thank you.

  16. Mari Says:

    Thanks for the tip. I have uninstall or disable the apps. However, some of these still show as for example “rebox instant” I unistall but now comes up with options to update or open, even if I disable them from updating. Is this how it is suppose to be?

  17. Joe Says:

    Thanks for the tip. This worked on 1/25/2015 for a new Verizon LG3. I was also able to uncheck an option to receive notifications and to clear data.

    I really did not like that this pre-installed app had the access to my phone that it did. If I agreed to it, it certainly wasn’t called out for NFL Mobile or obvious in the Verizon agreement.


  18. Green Says:

    Thanks, but doing it manually really cost me a lot of time. Instead, I’m using AirMore to uninstall Android apps. It is faster.

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