Let’s say you just plunked down $1,000 for a brand new smartphone. The kind with a shiny camera, huge battery, and crisp screen. But then you turn on the phone to find apps already installed on there, like a sports score app, a video streaming app, and a few others you’ve never heard of before. Congrats, you’ve got bloatware.

It happens when cell carriers strike deals with manufacturers to preload some apps of their choosing. Or sometimes, the manufacturer has apps they want to promote. Either way, the motive is always money. Whether a company is paying the carrier or the carrier has some service they have created and wanted to promote. But for us consumers, we really never end up using these apps.

In a March 2014 study by AppOptix, users spent an average of seven minutes using Samsung apps and 149 minutes using apps from the Google Play Store.

But before you think having a few apps on your phone is harmless, think again. They take up space, hog your memory, run down your battery life, render your phone performance sluggish, and usually cannot be deleted.

Which? Magazine found in 2014 that in one case, 46% of a phone’s memory was taken up by system files and bloatware. Which means you’re not getting the storage space you paid for and may, in turn, buy a phone with more storage memory at a higher cost to compensate.

Which brings us to why this topic is all of the sudden an issue again. Verizon announced yesterday that they signed a deal with Samsung to put its own apps on their smartphones worldwide. Meaning we all have to suffer with apps we will never use, never wanted, and can’t get rid of.

Consumers should get exactly what they pay for. Nothing more, nothing less. Preloading bloatware diminishes the product and disabling removal stymies consumer choice.

Bottom line: Say no to bloatware. You can buy handsets directly from the manufacturer that are ‘unlocked’, meaning you’re not tied to using it on a specific carrier and will most likely come without bloatware. Even better, support manufacturers who place little to no bloatware on their phones. Like Motorola.

(Featured photo credit: “Samsung Galaxy S5” by Kārlis Dambrāns is licensed under CC BY 2.0.)

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