South Korean government requires mobile bloatware removal option

The South Korean government has drawn up a directive requiring carriers to offer a removal option for bloatware on mobile phones. Many users are annoyed by the unnecessary software that is often difficult or impossible to remove.

The guideline was prepared by the South Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Planning. Under the new rules that will apply to mobile operators, all pre-installed apps and games, known as bloatware, must be able to be removed by the user. There are four exceptions: apps for WiFi connections, NFC, customer service and an app store may be given the property that these apps cannot be deleted.

The new rules should apply from April. According to the Korean government, this ensures that consumers get more free storage capacity and also a better battery life. Moreover, the directive would be necessary because placing non-removable bloatware on mobile phones is annoying for the user and can also distort competition.

The Korean website Yonhap News cites a Samsung Galaxy S4 marketed by telecom provider SK Telecom as an example of the growing amount of bloatware: a total of 80 apps are pre-installed, of which 25 apps from SK Telecom, 39 from Samsung and 16 from Google . Once the new rules come into effect, more than half of the 80 apps should be able to be removed by the user.