Get your crappy apps off my smartphone

Remove mobile phone apps
Why aren't all apps on phones uninstallable?

After months of anticipation, something amazing happens. There's a pause and then a cry, and then you're holding your pride and joy, tightly wrapped.

You gently unwrap your precious parcel so you can see it for the very first time. And that's when you discover that the midwife has drawn a comedy 'tache and specs in thick black marker pen.

Mobile phones are a bit like that.

Annoying apps are spoiling smartphones, and they're often harder to get rid of than a marker pen moustache. We thought Apple's iPhone would kill them off, but even Apple's at it: good luck getting shot of Stocks or wiping the Weather app. And now, other smartphone users are finding their phones infected with apps they don't want, and can't delete.

The apps depend on where you are, what you've got and who you're with. US Droid X users get Blockbuster Video apps and Need for Speed demos; Samsung Vibrant users get an app for Smurf movie Avatar.

Over here Androids ship with the Stocks and Facebook, plus whatever delights the operator decides to add. It's no wonder that as boxes are opened and the latest, shiniest smartphones are powered up, a cry goes out across the planet: "what the hell is this crap?"

I think I can speak on behalf of every irritated smartphone user when I say: get your crap off my smartphone!

"T-Mobile put each of these partnerships into place to deliver a great mobile entertainment experience on the device," T-Mobile spokesman David Henderson told the LA times. I don't know about you, but when I want a premium entertainment experience pretty much the last people I'll turn to are the hepcats at my friendly neighbourhood mobile phone carrier.

Here's how to deliver a great mobile entertainment experience on a device: get your crap off my smartphone!

Money maker

The apps are there for one reason and one reason only: to generate cash. That's not good enough.

We're not talking about pay as you go phones that you can buy with the change from your weekly shop; we're talking smartphones, premium products that tend to have premium prices - or at the very least, premium price plans - attached.

Are the phones and the talk plans free? No? Then - and I think you know where I'm going here - get your crap off my smartphone!

We've been here before. PCs came with so much crap preinstalled that people wrote applications to get rid of the applications. PC makers' plans to squeeze every last penny from low margin kit backfired spectacularly, creating out-of-the-box experiences so horrid that people started to say nice things about Linux.

At least you could delete the PC stuff. That's not always the case on phones. Installing crapware is bad enough on hardware with severely limited storage space and fairly limited horsepower. Making it impossible to remove is unforgivable.

What's mildly annoying on a PC is an enormous pain in the arse on a mobile phone, and anything that's responsible for "how do I remove…?" post after post after post in mobile phone forums is a sign that the "experience" you're delivering isn't welcome. Get your crap off my smartphone!

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.