Every iPhone or Google Pixel phone comes with a handful of apps. However, every Samsung phone comes pre-installed with numerous applications. Most of these are third-party apps and are called bloatware.
Samsung phones app can be divided into four categories —
- Samsung Apps
- Google Apps
- Microsoft Apps
- Third-party Apps
There are various reasons why Samsung has so much bloatware. Primarily, Samsung puts Microsoft apps because of a lawsuit settlement agreement, puts Google apps so that it can access Google services such as Google Play, and pre-installs third-party apps such as Facebook for billion-dollar extra revenue from those third-party app companies.
Source of Microsoft Bloatware
Every Samsung phone comes with a few Microsoft apps. The most common applications are —
- One Drive
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft Outlook
However, Samsung isn’t putting Microsoft apps on their phone to help users, but it’s because of a lawsuit.
Everything started in 2011.
Samsung uses Google’s Android OS. Due to some patent infringement issues, in 2011, Microsoft and Samsung agreed that Microsoft would not sue Samsung if Samsung decided to make Windows phones. From 2011 to 2014, Samsung made a few Windows phones.
However, When Microsoft acquired Nokia, Samsung stopped making Windows phones around 2014. At the time, HTC (now bankrupt) was paying Microsoft $5 per handset for patent royalties.
In August 2014, Microsoft sued Samsung for patent infringement and failure to pay royalties. Microsoft wanted $12 per device from Samsung in this lawsuit. At the time, it was more than billions of dollars.
In February 2015, Samsung settled the lawsuit. Even though Microsoft didn’t disclose the terms and conditions of the suit, people soon noticed its result.
Since February 2015, every Samsung Galaxy phone has come pre-installed with a few Microsoft apps.
Samsung uses the Android OS developed by Google. Even though it’s open-source software, an OS alone isn’t enough to sell a smartphone.
Every smartphone needs an App Store, and for Android, Google has the largest store — Google Play — besides Apple’s App Store.
If any handset manufacturer wants to access google play and other G services, they must pre-install some Google Apps. It’s why every Samsung device comes pre-installed with the following Google Apps —
- Play Store
- Google Search
- YouTube Music
- Google Play Movies
- Google Duo
- Google Photos
- Google Assistant
These apps are also called system apps and can’t be uninstalled. Even though few of them can be disabled, those apps will still consume phone storage.
Samsung develops and ships some redundant apps with each Galaxy phone.
- Google Play
- Galaxy Store
- Google Chrome
- Samsung Internet
- Samsung Bixby
- Google Assistant
- Google Photos
- Samsung Gallery
- Samsung Mail
- Google Pay
- Samsung Pay
However, Samsung is doing it intentionally.
Several times Samsung tried to develop its mobile operating system. Once with BADA and once with Tizen. Both times, they failed miserably. Currently, only smartwatches, TV, fridge, microwave, and other Samsung devices use Tizen. There’s no Tizen smartphone.
The BADA was a horrible performing OS. Even though Tizen is a good OS, it failed due to a lack of apps on its App Store and a lack of support from developers.
As Samsung is entirely dependent on Google for its phones’ OS, they want some leverage over Google.
Samsung used to modify the Android so heavily that it became unrecognizable whether it’s an Android or not. Those clumsy modifications slowed down Samsung phones tremendously, and it also did some bad PR for Android OS. But Google couldn’t do anything because Samsung was the largest handset maker globally.
To tackle Samsung, Google bought Motorola and became a direct competitor of Samsung.
To protect itself, Samsung, from the beginning, has created its ecosystem. Thus for every Google app, there’s a redundant Samsung App.
The following apps also come pre-installed on every Samsung smartphone (the list may vary depending on the handset model) —
- Game Launcher
- Samsung Free
- Samsung Global Goals
- Samsung Members
- Galaxy Shop
- Samsung Notes
- Galaxy Wearable
- Samsung Health
- SamsungTV Plus
- AR Zone
Not every one of these apps is helpful for every user. But there’s no way to uninstall these.
Every Samsung phone comes with a few of the following third-party apps —
Samsung has existing deals with Meta (parent company of Facebook), ByteDance (parent company of TikTok), Netflix, and other third-party companies to pre-install these apps. In return, Samsung gets billions of dollars yearly from these companies.
Among the list, TikTok and Facebook are awful for security. Facebook isn’t bloatware; it’s straight malware.
Pre-installed apps are known as system apps. The system apps have more advanced permission to access the phone than an app installed later.
For example, Facebook can install-uninstall apps. Yes, Facebook runs an app installer service in the background that many users are unaware of.
Moreover, as a system app, Facebook can access location, phone logs, SMS, photos, cameras, microphone, apps use history, browser history, cookies, internet log, etc., 24/7. Even when Facebook isn’t being used, Facebook can track a user.
In 2022, Facebook announced that it would lose $10 billion in revenue due to privacy changes in iPhone’s iOS.
The change on the iPhone was straightforward. A user could ask iOS during the installation of an app not to track. This simple change cost Facebook $10 billion.
Now, imagine how much tracking is going on behind the scenes by Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and TikTok, which a user is unaware of.
A Samsung phone purchased from a carrier such as Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T will also have carrier pre-installed bloatware.
Phones Performance Degradation
The core problem with this bloatware isn’t that it consumes valuable storage. Nowadays, every phone has enough storage for all this bloatware.
The issue is that this bloatware runs various services — apps without UI — 24/7 in the background. It consumes critical RAM and consumes battery power.
Android is a JAVA based operating system and resource-intensive; thus, it requires a lot of RAM. When this bloatware consumes RAM in the background, it slows down the phone. It’s one of the primary reasons for Samsung phones being slow and laggy.
Not every third-party app is developed equally. Many third-party apps are poorly coded and hogs phones’ performance. For example, if Facebook isn’t disabled, Google Maps would crash on many Samsung devices. Because both Google Maps and Facebook consume the entire RAM on the phone.
Therefore, bloatware is bad for phones performance and security.
Samsung, at the core, is a hardware company and thus doesn’t understand customers’ software needs. For the last decade, they haven’t changed their position regarding bloatware.
Thus, if bloatware is an issue, buying a Google Pixel phone or Apple iPhone is advisable.