Can’t remove your preinstalled apps? A country takes action

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

TL;DR

The Indian government is planning new rules to combat pre-installed apps. The rules would force mobile brands to let users uninstall bloatware.

Bloatware is one of the more annoying aspects of modern smartphones, with manufacturers preinstalling a plethora of apps that you might not use at all. In fact, most brands go one step further and don’t allow users to uninstall some of these apps.

Now, citing an official document and two sources, Reuters is reporting that the Indian government is planning new rules to combat the practice. These rules would explicitly force brands to allow users to uninstall pre-installed apps. The rules would also introduce a mandatory security check of operating system updates before they are pushed to smartphones.

The regulations under discussion come amid concerns about spying and misuse of consumer data in apps. It also comes amid longstanding tensions between China and India.

‚ÄúPreinstalled apps can be a weak security point and we want to make sure no foreign nations, including China, exploit them. It’s a national security issue,” a senior government source told Reuters.

Uninstalling bloatware can have side effects

There’s no word on when those rules will go into effect, but the government has reportedly given smartphone makers one year from the law’s enactment to comply with those rules.

There are also some unanswered questions about this law. For one, an industry leader told Reuters that some preinstalled apps like the camera were critical. The representative therefore asked the government to differentiate between critical and non-essential pre-installed apps when determining which apps can be uninstalled.

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Do you think users should be able to uninstall all apps?

45 votes

Yes, of couse

58%

Maybe non-essential apps like camera and phone

42%

NO

0%

Many brands also make money from preinstalled apps, whether through financial deals with third-party app developers or through user revenue (like app stores and theme stores). Therefore, OEMs could potentially lose a revenue stream in India due to these laws.

Another executive told the Newswire that these rules could extend the deadline for a smartphone to receive regulatory approval, which is currently set at 21 weeks.

Nonetheless, the ability to uninstall bloatware could still be a great boon for Indian consumers and the general public. This would allow users to reclaim storage while giving them more control in the name of security and privacy.

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