South Korea Bans Unremovable Smartphone Bloatware

South Korea Bans Unremovable Smartphone Bloatware

No more will carriers in South Korea be able to pre-load smartphones with unremovable bloatware.

Anyone who has ever bought a smartphone in pretty much any country has had to deal with "bloatware" - carriers loading their phones up with unremovable apps that sit there and suck up processing power. Well the days of carrier-sponsored bloatware are numbered, at least in South Korea, as the South Korean Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning has announced a ban on the practice of mobile manufacturers and networks putting unremovable apps on smartphones.

Under the new law, carriers will be required to make all pre-installed apps deletable, with the exception of an app store, and apps that enable Wi-Fi connectivity, near-field communication, customer service. Previously, getting rid of those pesky bloatware apps required users to root their phones - a risky move that voided warranties and could "brick" their devices.

"The move aims to rectify an abnormal practice that causes inconvenience to smartphone users and causes unfair competition among industry players," said the ministry in a Korean-language press release.

This law will have no affect on iPhones, as Apple has famously never permitted carriers or networks to pre-install apps on the iPhone.

The press release added that users will also benefit from the regulations in terms of battery life and data storage.

Now if only the same kind of regulations could come to the rest of the world...

Source: Ars Technica


There sure is a lot of bloatware on my phone at least. Facebook and Hangouts are the ones that I find most annoying, as they constantly demand to be updated, despite my resistance to even use either app, and so see no use in it taking up more of my phone's storage.

I wonder if this will make South Korean-made phones to have the removable bloatware, or will all my future phones suffer the same result?

Time to learn korean.... I'm chinese but plenty of korean mistake me for one of them.

I've been meaning to root my droid to remove that Blockbuster App they installed.
Seriously! BLOCKBUSTER! They are DEAD!
But I havent gotten around to it.

If you live in the rest of the world, you will have bloatware forever more.

Apple may not let carriers put bloatware on the phone, but they put alot crap on it i wish i could delete. Actualy, that could apply to all manufactors. I dont need samsungs in crappy chat and video apps on my tablet.

Not that i have an HTC any more but i really wish i could have removed the bloatware they installed. I could barely install apps on it because the on board memory was woefully small.


I wonder if this will make South Korean-made phones to have the removable bloatware, or will all my future phones suffer the same result?

It's going to be the same as unlocked phones in the US vs Europe. They'll just make different models.

They will just bloody well work around the law, like not installing the bloatware on the device but having some aspect of their service you cannot do without or have limited options like insurance[1] requiring a specific security/anti theft app or the free WiFi hotspots needing an app[2].

Whilst I would love the UK to pass similar legislation I know it wouldn't take long for network providers to find workarounds, then because of the oligopoly they are once one adopts the practices they will all feature them.

[1] Example, "free" but mandatory insurance without a high upfront payment for the device or some other bullshit reason.
[2] That are "free" but you are actually paying for them as part of the service and you cannot opt out.

If you live in the rest of the world, you will have bloatware forever more.

No, there are options to remove it, plenty of options, just that you have to void your warranty.

Such legislation in America would be laughed out of the room. Time to move to South Korea? Everything I hear about it has been good.

My Galaxy Note 2 is up there with the Vic-20 and Mac Plus as one of my favorite and most memorable computer devices I ever owned. Go SK.

Possibly Samsung is behind it? They make their phones pretty easy to hack, and it was a Samsung employee who wrote CyanogenMod.


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