This is my next has just uncovered what I think just might be the greatest feature inside of Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich“, the ability to disable system applications from running and appearing in the app launcher. What this means is that when a Carrier loads up any Android 4.0 device they plan on selling with bloatware, you can easily disable the application(s) from running on the device at all — you still can’t uninstall them, not that it matters now.

I can only imagine the tears that Telstra, Optus and Vodafone are shedding right now, only to be outdone by the cheers of average consumers not having to put up with crap links to webpages on their devices. Good move, Google, good move — power to the people.

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Oh! this is great news, if it does what it says, I will be extremely delighted. I am so sick of having to look at Vodafone crap all over my HTC Sensation XE phone. If there is a way to disable all the logo flashing, bloatware etc etc. I will be soooo happy. I love HTC phones and this feature in ICS will be a relief… Thank you Google for listening.

Mallardious Monk

The much-maligned Windows Phone 7 has had the ability to remove carrier-added cruft from day one.

Which may help to explain why the carriers really aren’t interested in promoting it.

In any event, unless they’ve gotten much worse in the past six months, there wasn’t much extra stuff on my Telstra Galaxy Tab.  A couple of web bookmarks, unremovable but easy enough to shunt to the back of the application launcher.


This is one area where I think Apple do a much better job for the end user than Google does (and probably better than Google ever can or will).  Being able to always just get the latest directly from Apple with no middlemen (ie. no separate phone manufacturer and no carrier) is a big advantage.  It’s definitely an area where the android phone manufacturers have an opportunity to differentiate themselves – if there was one manufacturer that really commited to supporting updates for a reasonable period (2 years say) and getting them out as quickly as possible, then I would… Read more »


google pushes ‘open eco system’ so if they locked down the handsets and took control that apple did, then they really can’t spin the open card anymore. Apple can’t say they are open as everything is locked down and controlled, including the source code. 

But I do agree, it would be nice to have all the apps and tweaks added ontop of the OS, so it can all be uninstalled as required.


that’s where rooting has it’s benefits for android.
on iphone i beleive it’s almost impossible to get an update or featureset on an older phone that isn’t supported, even if it could handle it.
whereas almost any android phone can get the latest os version unofficially.
even the hero got gingerbread.


It’s a great idea, but due to Android being open source, telco’s I’m sure will just disable this feature and add their garbage to the phone anyway.

Doesn’t affect me as I root/flash roms so I never have to deal with it, but for those that don’t it would be very annoying.


Telcos won’t be able to disable it directly, they would need to request the handset maker to cook a special rom for them with it disabled.

That said, the average person won’t bother to disable the bloatware, but the more tech savy user will, so it won’t be a huge loss to the telco

Ian Tester

Don’t telcos make/request a special ROM? I had been assuming that they did. Many of them already develop (or have developed for them) custom apps for their services.

So do they just provide a bunch of APK’s and other files to the manufacturers? I’m sure they’d still look for a way around this new feature.


Yes telcos request special roms with tweaks to the radios and bloatware added. I see no reason for the handset maker to disable this feature unless the telco requests it.

But unless its turned off in the rom, there is no way the telco had ‘disable’ this remotely, unlike the iphone were the telco can control tethering at a per handset level remotely.


they cannot disable it as its core kernel, unless they play with the kernel or core components


Wait and see…… but don’t cry when its disabled by one of your crazy yankie telcos


why not just let us remove this crap without root, i think the whole disabling thing is pretty poor.


Fantastic feature. Carriers shouldn’t have anything to do with the software on the phones anyway. The more Google take away from carriers the better off we will all be.


I like this feature and let’s see what the bastard telcos will do disable this. Maybe they should make apps ppl like to use.


It would be nice if this was the case but surely because android is open source the carriers can turn on and off any parts of android they want to- eg. Just as ATT turned off the ability to sideload apps…

I am sceptical at this stage but hope it is true


Being able to prevent “system” apps from being able to be silently launched in the background, by other apps, without user permission, is a Good Idea, and one that is long overdue.
Does the launch permission prevention, cause the apps to be unable to be specifically and manually launched by the user?My concern at this news is what the US telcos will do TO Android over this?What Google needs to do to complete things is to make it possible for ordinary users to be able to uninstall default telco and Google bloatware “system” apps.