I'm a bit surprised I couldn't find this answers myself. I am a major minimalist when it comes to computers (my desktop and laptop both run strip-down Linuces) and I wanted to get rid of some of the bloatware that came with my new Android. My only problem being that I'm not entirely sure what some of the applications do and whether I need/want them. Is there any way to get details on what an application does?

Edit: For clarification: when I say "details" I mean some description of what the application does.

Edit: My device is a Samsung S4 Mini from AT&T.

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    The list of safely removable bloatware varies with each device manufacturer and also depends whether your device comes unlocked or from a carrier. It would be better if you added these info to your question.
    – dantis
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 2:35

2 Answers 2


It's a really old question but you may still be interested in this quite new community project : Universal Android Debloater

It's a bash script using ADB to debloat non-rooted smartphones. The packages lists used are as well documented as possible in order to provide a better understanding of what you can delete or not.


Newer android versions let you disable applications you do not want but cannot uninstall. These pre-installed apps are usually in /system/app/YouTube.apk as an example.

To remove: - root your device - uninstall app updates using normal settings -> app manager - make a backup of your /system/app/appName.apk adb shell, su, - mount -o remount,rw /system - rm /system/app/appName.* - sync, reboot ( do press enter where i did a ',' ) - as long as your adb is still working, you can safely restore apps you removed and want back again. But don't forget the file permissions! Do a ls -laF in this folder before, note the permissions, and set them again accordingly after restoring.

Have fun!

  • This doesn't really answer the question. I know how to remove something, I want to know what I can safely remove.
    – Thomas
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 20:56
  • Everything you want. And if it wasn't save you can restore it again. Adb usually works anyway. And if something goes horribly wrong, just reflash the stock firmware. It depends on the user what can be removed and what not. Do you need YouTube? A Browser? A mail App? It really depends on you. Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 21:01
  • I'm not talking about what I am physically capable of removing. I'm talking about dependency resolution. A prime example is I disabled a few apps and shortly after found that Message would fail whenever I tried to read a text. I managed to go through the Applications Details for Message and found a few of the dependencies that I had blocked which fixed the problem. Unfortunately, I have a similar problem with certain settings menus which the same method couldn't fix. To the point: I know for a fact that I can't just delete whatever I want because it will cause apps to fail.
    – Thomas
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 0:09

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