Bye-bye, bloatware: Disable system apps in Android Ice Cream Sandwich

By JR Raphael (@jr_raphael)

So you've got a brand new Verizon Galaxy Nexus and aren't too pleased with the bit of bloatware Big Red baked into the phone. Join the club.

Verizon, unfortunately, decided to stick a couple of its own apps onto the U.S. version of the Galaxy Nexus -- My Verizon Mobile and VZ Backup Assistant -- and worse yet, the carrier made it impossible to remove the apps without hacking your phone. Mildly obnoxious, I know.

Disable System Apps Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Thanks to Ice Cream Sandwich, though, it's easy to get Verizon's intrusions out of sight and out of mind. Ice Cream Sandwich includes a new feature that allows you to disable and hide any system app. The app won't be fully removed from your phone's storage, but it'll never run -- and you'll never see it again.

The new bloatware-blasting functionality isn't limited to the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, either; it'll come in handy even more for owners of non-Nexus devices (you know, those phones that carriers just love to load up with junk like City ID and NFL Mobile). If you have any phone that might get the Android 4.0 upgrade, you'll want to make a note of these steps.

They're really quite simple:

1. Go into the main system settings. (You can get there by selecting the "Settings" icon within your phone's app tray.)

2. Scroll down to the "Device" section and select the "Apps" option.

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3. Tap the tab at the top that's labeled "All," then scroll through the list to find the app you want to blast.

4. Tap on the app, then tap the "Disable" button. Tap "OK" on the confirmation box that appears.

That's it -- you're all done. Bloatware, be damned; we've got a new sheriff in town.

JR Raphael writes about smartphones and other tasty technology. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Article copyright 2011 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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