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How to remove (or hide) unwanted apps on your Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+

By Ng Chong Seng - 14 Sep 2015

How to remove (or hide) unwanted apps on your Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+


For those who care

As I've mentioned in my Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+ review, Samsung has mostly plugged its multi-year, useless feature diarrhea on its latest Galaxy devices. In fact, the most recent TouchWiz overlay is the most streamlined I've seen so far, and this makes for a very snappy UI on the new phablets (the fast Exynos processor and 4GB RAM help too). While they don't have much of a bloatware to speak of this time round, there are still some pre-installed apps that not all users have a need for.

Of course, the number of pre-installed, third-party apps you've on your device depends on where you bought it from. Units bought without contract at the Samsung Experience Stores typically have less cruft than those gotten from the telcos. That said, our Singapore telcos are actually very nice folks, and don't install a lot of unnecessary crap; but the same can't be said for overseas telcos.

Long-time Android users will probably know the steps I'm going to propose below, so this article isn't really for them. But if you're new to Android and keen to learn, here are three ways in order of difficulty on how you can remove (or at least hide) these unwanted apps. With the exception of method 2, these apply to most, if not all, Android devices.


1.) Using Application Manager

The easiest way to uninstall unwanted apps is through the Application Manager, which is found under Settings > Device > Applications. From there, find the All tab to see what's installed on your device. To prevent users from trashing items that are critical to the system's wellbeing, most can't be removed. But some apps can be uninstalled, such as Samsung Galaxy Life (I use it, but I know many who don't). For such apps, you will see an Uninstall button when you tap on them.

There will also be apps that are non-system critical, but which you can't remove, such as some of the Google and Microsoft apps, utilities, and social media apps, because they're baked into the ROM. For these apps, instead of Uninstall, you'll see a Disable button. This simply hides them from your app drawer and prevents them from running, so it doesn't help if you're trying to reclaim some storage space. To reverse the process, just go to the Disabled tab and enable the app again.

(Editor's note: Time flies. This feature has been in Android since 2011, starting from Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.)


2.) Using Package Disabler Pro

But what if you wish to disable apps and services that the built-in Application Manager doesn't allow? You can turn to a third-party app on the Google Play store called Package Disabler Pro. This is an app specifically designed to disable unwanted packages on Samsung devices, and it doesn't require root.

Disabling system apps in Package Disabler Pro is simple: just click on the package you want to disable. The free version has a limit on the number of packages you can disable (10 to 11), which is removed if you buy the full version that costs S$2. The full version also has advanced features, as such letting you export your disabled list, a search function, and a one-click bloatware removal tool.

Of course, we only recommend disabling things that you're certain you don't need, and won't break critical system functions. In short, if you're uncertain what a package does, don't touch it. It's also a good idea to enable disabled packages when you're doing a firmware update.


3.) Using Titanium Backup

The most advanced way to control your apps and data is to use Titanium Backup, though it'll cost you $8.65 to enable all its powers. This is the app that many hardcore users turn to when they want to backup/restore their apps, or remove, disable, or 'freeze' them. If you aren't comfortable using Package Disabler Pro, you probably shouldn't even consider Titanium Backup. It's bazillion times more powerful and extremely dangerous in the wrong hands.

Also, to use Titanium Backup, you need a rooted device. In a nutshell, this means giving yourself and the app you've chosen unrestricted access to the system files. Like a God mode, if you will. For the most part, we don't recommend rooting your Note 5 or S6 Edge+. It will most likely trip Knox (a built-in Samsung security feature), which last I heard, will mean disqualifying your device from using security-focused features, like Samsung Pay. (Sure, Samsung Pay may never come to Singapore. But still.) More importantly, it will also void your warranty.

All that said, if you like to live dangerously, you can check out these two forums on XDA Developers (here and here) to find out more on how to root the Note 5 and S6 Edge+.

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