I just got my hands on the AT&T version of Samsung’s new flagship phone, the Galaxy S4.
The good news is, unlike the Sprint version I tested for my review, I can finally access LTE data networks, the fastest wireless standard available. (Sprint has a tiny LTE network compared to AT&T and Verizon, and it’s not available in New York.)
The bad news is AT&T loaded the Galaxy S4 up with a ton of extra services and apps that most people will never use. By my count, there are nine AT&T-branded apps or apps with AT&T partnerships preinstalled on the phone, many of them located on the home screen when you turn on the phone for the first time. Sprint had its own “bloatware” on the Galaxy S4, but not as much as AT&T did. (Verizon’s model has not launched, and I haven’t seen the T-Mobile model yet.)
There’s no way to truly delete the apps. AT&T and other carriers lock down the Galaxy S4 so you can’t uninstall their apps even if you want to. Now add that to all the heat Samsung took last week when it was discovered all the extra software features in the Galaxy S4 take up nearly half the memory in the 16 GB model, leaving users with a tiny amount of space to add their own apps, games, videos, and music. The phone is completely bloated with unnecessary software and gimmicky tricks.
The Galaxy S4 does allow you to add extra memory if you buy a SD card, but you can’t install apps on it, meaning you can only use it to store photos, music, and other files. The AT&T version of the Galaxy S4 that I’m using now only had about 9.5 GB free out of the box. The Sprint version had about 10 GB.
Unless you want to hack your phone, the only solution for now is to disable the apps you don’t want by using Android’s settings menu. It won’t clear up memory on your phone, but it will hide the apps from your screen and keep them from running in the background or sending you notifications.
Here’s how it works:
Go to Settings.
Tap the More tab and select Application manager.
Swipe over to the All tab and select the app you want to disable.
Tap the disable button and the app will disappear.