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    Question Methodology for App Pruning; bloat, clutter, cruft - begone?

    There seem to be innumerable threads aimed at instructions for reducing the stuff installed onto our phones by the carrier or the manufacturer - yet what I have not found is a guide to a thought process one should cultivate towards phone upkeep.

    See, I just got my first ever smart-phone (Samsung Galaxy S5) from Verizon - and I trolled through the Application Manager ad hoc turning off (disabling) apps based on pure speculation "Gee, will I think of using the `Knitting Synch App' - nah : disable" - knowing that I could enable anything if I changed my mind.

    But - after a couple days of this - I'm frustrated wondering "Gee, did I just break some useful interaction between service A and service B" ? And then I wondered at my motivation; what was I attempting to do, disabling all these apps?

    First - I found the sheer clutter overwhelming. Turned the phone on, and whoa look at all those icons. Daunting. To any well-read Douglas Adam's fan, my response of "it'll have to go" smacks of purest Krikkit sensibilities.

    But - Mostly what motiviated me was a suspicion that having all these apps enabled would collude to use my data plan and expend my battery charge. And I've read all about task-killers, and thoroughally agree their role on the Android system is foolish at best...

    Now, I am a damaged-goods example; As a long time linux hobbiest, I have (several times) used package managers to scrape every bit and byte from my system that *I* thought unnecessary, only to break unknown (to me) interactions betweeen services. And sure enough today on my phone I witnessed the first evidence that turning off a particular app was visible elsewhere on the phone (I turned off S-Voice, and in the Settings routine, choosing S-Voice causes the Settings program to 'Unfortunately stop'.

    Hardly surprising - but it leads me to pause ... What other situations am I asking for by knee-jerk disabling apps left and right. What is the better line of thinking I should take to decipher IF I should disable something ...

    My plan - and this is subject to your advice gentle reader - is to reset everything and leave it all on for several days - and then use the battery and data plan monitoring facilities to help identify what is doing what - and then google only the top offending applications to learn what their role is in the phone ecosystem - and then if it all makes sense, disable them.

    What do you think?
  2. #2  

    Default Re: Methodology for App Pruning; bloat, clutter, cruft - begone?

    Welcome to Android Central! This is why I have come to love Nexus devices--minimal bloat!

    I used to deal with tons of bloatware back when I was on Verizon. There are bloatware apps that should clearly be disabled--especially the ones that start with "Verizon," since most of those are useless (like VZ Navigator and their ringtones store, whatever it's called). Any preinstalled bloatware app that is also freely available on Google Play (like Slacker, for example), is also a good target if you never use it, because you know it's not something that is integral to the system.

    Where you have to be careful is with apps whose purpose aren't immediately clear. It's hard to know sometimes if it's a system app or a 3rd party bloatware app. In those cases, Google it and find out what other people have done. When in doubt, leave it alone until you have more information.
  3. #3  
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    Default Re: Methodology for App Pruning; bloat, clutter, cruft - begone?

    The normal philosophy is to disable (never just uninstall blindly) any app that appears to be a stand-alone and that you'll never use. Use the phone for about a week (more if you're a light user). If nothing seems to break, disable another app. Etc.

    I usually do a nandroid backup first (or, in the present case, run Safestrap) so I can always get back to a running situation and not disable "that" app again.

    To check data usage, run in airplane mode, then run an app that "shouldn't" be accessing data. If it complains, you know something is going on that shouldn't be. (Remember that some free apps that are ad-supported, download ads as needed.)

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