What you need to know about DT Ignite, the hidden bloatware your carrier may have installed

Right about now, half of us are ready to jump to the comments and start hollerin' about DT Ignite, while the other half is scratching their heads wondering what we're talking about.

We're talking about a piece of carrier bloatware named DT Ignite. It's an application written by Digital Turbine (thus the DT part) that's used to pre-load other applications onto your phone. Some folks are having issues with a recent Verizon HTC 10 update and DT Ignite re-enabling itself or running after it's been disabled, but the app itself is not new. And yes, it's something you would never install yourself and is bloatware in any and every sense of the word, but it's not the demon some make it out to be.

As mentioned, DT Ignite is used to install other apps onto your carrier-branded phone. While people tend to point fingers at Verizon when talking about it, DT Ignite is used by a good number of carriers — AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, US Cellular, America Movi, Deutsche Telecom, Vodaphone, Singtel, Cloudphone, MTS and more according to the Digital Turbine website.

Some folks seem sure that the technology is licensed to Sprint for the Sprint Zone app, but I can't find any evidence either way. Folks using Rogers are also saying they see DT Ignite installed, but the company is not listed on DT's page. Not all phones from these carriers have DT Ignite installed, but many — including the Galaxy S7 that most people are buying — do.

People tend to point fingers at Verizon when talking about DT Ignite, but is used by AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and carriers in Europe and Canada

About those Verizon HTC 10 update bugs some people are saying they see — we've heard three different issues:

  • DT Ignite re-enables itself after the recent 1.82 update. This may be expected behavior if a new version of the app is installed. Just disable it again.
  • DT Ignite hides from the App Manager after the 1.82 update. It doesn't — you have to show system apps in the App Manager to see it.
  • DT Ignite runs intermittently in the background even if disabled after the 1.82 update. Only a few people are seeing this bug. This isn't normal behavior and more troubleshooting is needed. Or just reset your phone and let DT Ignite do its thing again, then start uninstalling and disabling.

Carriers use DT Ignite to install the apps they want you to see when you set up your phone for the first time or after it's been factory reset. It also can spam your notifications with ads for suggested apps at any time. You also agreed to allow it to do both when you clicked accept without reading during setup. It doesn't install any apps on its own after the initial setup, but it does run in the background.

Don't spam me bro

Why it sucks: It installs apps you don't want using your monthly data allotment to do it. It also spams your notification bar with ads for apps like Soda Crush.

Why it doesn't suck: Soda Crush doesn't have to be pre-installed to get you to know it's there.

We agree that having an application that can install crap you don't want is not a good thing. Not at all. But the alternative is worse. DT Ignite has one very redeeming property: using it is better than the old method of installing this crap into your system partition where you can't remove it. And while we hate having it, we have to remember that we agreed to it being there.

The good news is that once it's done doing its setup shenanigans, you can disable it. If you head to the App Manager section of your phone settings and allow it to show system apps (look in any menus or overflow areas) it's right there where you can click the button to shut it down. And that's the first thing you should do after you're done uninstalling the apps it randomly dropped onto your phone.

We can wave pitchforks and bundle kindling as we rail against carriers and shoddy practices like this, but the fact remains that we keep buying phones with this sort of thing installed. If you just can't deal with DT Ignite or any other bloatware app, you should stop buying carrier phones. If you want or need to buy carrier phones, you should accept the fact that it happens and will continue, then judiciously uninstall or disable them and stop worrying about it.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

105 Comments
  • Didn't appear on my Rogers Note 7
  • I'll check my AT&T Note 7 once it comes in. Can't get a straight answer on when that is though.
  • I don't see it on my AT&T Note 7
  • I find it sad that Apple offers phones without all this garbage on every carrier. But as fans of Android we have to forgo payment plans through the carriers and insurance through the carriers just because we want a clean phone.
  • Or you can buy carrier unlocked phones. There's a higher amount of carrier unlocked phone options on Android than options for iPhones
  • You didn't read his comment before you posted at all did you?
  • I did, and it's simply incorrect. "But as fans of Android we have to forgo payment plans through the carriers and insurance through the carriers just because we want a clean phone." By buying a carrier unlocked phone you aren't stuck with either a payment plan through the carrier or an insurance plan through the carrier, and you get a clean phone. I'm not sure which part you think I didn't read EDIT: I now realize that I misunderstood wkm001's statement. They meant to say that by not getting it through a carrier you lose the payment plan and insurance. I can hear the part of losing the payment plan, but I feel like manufacturers insurance is at least as good as the carriers
  • All good man, I agree with buying non carrier phones, but like he said, losing carrier insurance is a deterrent for some simply BC it is the best option for them. And of course the interest free loan.
  • Carrier features like wifi calling, VoLTE, and channel bonding rarely come on non-carrier phones. Verizon just announced their LTE-A network. My 2015 Moto X Pure Edition is LTE-A capable but Verizon only lists the phones they sell and are capable here. https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https2F2F...
  • That doesn't apply equally to all carriers, but this is a good point and part of the reason people would want or need a carrier phone.
  • I have a Nexus 6p on Verizon and VoLTE works on my phone. I know because I enabled an option called Enhanced 4G LTE Mode on my phone, and the difference was notable. While I do t have the "Advance Calling" feature on my device, which means no WiFi calling for me, certain features will still work if the phone is capable. Once they actually flip the switch on LTE-A and some like me are able to try it, we'll see if it actually works on our phones or not. But to be fair, I doubt they'll list phones that are available outside of their stores/website. That means less money in their pocket and if they don't have to inform the average customer that there are phones with those capabilities available elsewhere, they won't.
  • Yeah but the Nexus 6p won't do wifi calling on vzw that's why I had to sell mine.
  • Really, VZW blocked a native feature to replace or cripple? That doesn't sound like VZW to me.
  • Yeah, I said that in the post you replied to, in the third sentence.
  • I push co-workers, friends, and family the unlocked route. But nearly all or them are unable or unwilling to pay full price for a phone. All of them will sign a 2 year contract or use the device payment plan offered by the carrier. Insurance through the manufacturers usually has a smaller deductible. Motorola and Samsung offer financing and insurance directly.
  • Alright, then can you show me where I can buy an Unlocked Note 7 Directly from Samsung to us in the US, that also has manufacture warranty? I didn't think so. Im forced to buy from the carrier, or wait an undisclosed amount of time to where I can buy it from them without bloat.....and then it doesnt have things like voLTE, etc. EDIT: And before anyone says buy from Ebay (Exynos), read back to the part about warranty.
  • B&H Photo has an identical 1-year warranty (in case you were serious).
  • Wow I did not know B&H offered their own warranty on the mobile phones. Thanks!
  • Thye don't on every phone, so be sure to read that fine print.
  • Like I said above, I have a Nexus 6p on Verizon, and I have VoLTE on my device. I may not have all the features of Advance Calling like WiFi calling, but I have used it and the difference is there, much clearer like the person is sitting next to me and not sounding like it's coming through a tunnel. Almost made me jump out of my seat when the person answered since I was driving and alone in my vehicle.
  • But Verizon is the only major carrier that allows VoLTE and HD voice on non carrier phones(well a few anyways) that I am aware of. Assuming the person that posted that comment doesn't use Verizon.
  • As do Nexus devices.
  • Although I do buy a carrier phone for now instead of unlocked, I haven't worried about a warranty for over 6 years of phones cause the manufacturers, or in my case, Amazons is good enough...even though I haven't needed it. I repair most of my own when Its possible. Now the S7, well we'll see how that one plays out. I love it but.it does have a high repair rating(as in, its hard ti repair). Just my 2cents.
  • read around how easily the glass shatters. there are many accountants of them spontaneously shattering from getting to hot. all those third party insurance companies have got to be pissed as samsung provides no warranty for any thing but the board.
  • I agree completely. It is important to note that there are a few companies that offer both interest free payments and insurance separately too. I believe Google offers this for the Nexus 6P. I know Motorola offered it for the Nexus 6. HTC offers both too. But yeah, it still sucks.
  • Apple has stuff, you just don't see or know about it. It's a closed system, not open like Android. There is all sorts of **** going on and getting reported back.
  • No, apple stuff their own hand-made bloatware on the phone
  • While Apple phones don't have carrier bloat, they are filled with Apple bloat. It got so bad Apple even includes a folder for stuff they couldn't fit on the homescreen. I think now they changed though to allow you to disable those apps.
  • Was going to say something similar, can't imagine buying anything other than a Nexus. Using an iPhone seems so draconian but I'd pick it over any of these carrier phones without a second thought
  • Apple does not have to use crap like this because Apple allows the direct install of apps without your consent. I've had game challenges pop up and the corresponding game installed on my iPhone without any dialog boxes to accept or deny,
  • Non carrier Nextbit Robin ftw! I don't think I will every buy another branded smartphone again. Posted via Nextbit Robin Ember
  • How do you like that phone?
  • It is more nefarious than this makes it seem. Have a Note 7 that I got on launch day. Didn't specifically disable it under the assumption that it would only install stuff during the initial setup, which I could remove. Over a week later, suddenly a bunch of crap is on my phone - eBay, go90, Empires, Mobile Strike and more. That is insane for a phone that costs $850.
  • Do less assuming. It is no more or less nefarious than the article says, had you disabled it right when you got the phone it would not have installed those applications.
  • Now we know why charging for apps seemed so appealing to Verizon. They could put apps on anytime they want rather than just when you setup or wipe the phone. It would be a license for Verizon to print money basically. "We could use a couple hundred extra thousand dollars this month." "Install more apps!"
  • Verizon get's paid $1-2 per app on each device. with a 100 million strong on their network it is a hell of a scam
  • According to DT and Verizon, it doesn't install anything after the first-time use. It can spam your notifications tho, so you should disable it.
  • Verizon can say what they want. About 12 months ago I had some games, a utility app and remote TV app installed on my Note 4. I know I did not give permission for the installs in notifications. I traced it back to DT. From what I can tell they can install apps and set any permissions they want on the apps (without user approval). I now have it disabled and use and app that keeps track to make sure it stays disabled. DT and Verizon and say what they want, but I fully consider DT a Virus. It can install apps and set any permissions it wants on the apps. I don't like junkware that comes on a phone, but to have junkware installed at anytime is much worse. Unless DT has changed its practices in the last 12 months, what they say and what they do are the the same.
  • How did you trace it back to DT?
  • This happened on my VZW Note 7. Approximately 5 days into using the phone and 5 or 6 new apps appeared out of nowhere, to include GO90 and a bunch of games. Thankfully they installed over wifi.
  • I agree.. Another reason why I am no longer going to be buying a carrier branded phone. I personally own and use a Nexus 6p now and I am in the process of weeding my family off the last 3 carrier phones Dragging out payment plans over time isn't really worth it to me any longer nor is their incentives to stay on them.
  • Welcome to the Nexus Master Race. I budget for new phones, once every 2-3 years, just start saving $25 a month, and then buy it outright, when I finally see or need a replacement, the nexus devices never steer me wrong
  • The 'Nexus Master Race'? JFC...
  • Not on T-Mo's Note 7 (unless it IS hiding from the app manager).
  • Can't find it (or the process itself) on any T-Mo phones here, either. But the are listed as a carrier that uses it.
  • I do remember seeing it on a T-Mobile Note 5,though.
  • t-mobile note 5 here, no sign of it. Possible they took it out with the MM update, and only included it in the Lollypop version?
  • Maybe, I gave the Note 5 away before that update. It was way back when DT Ignite was first making the rounds, so they might have disabled it before that, not sure.
  • I've looked through Package Disabler Pro and can't find anything that could potentially be this, although there are more than enough strange sounding apps or services that could be cloaking this. Still I've never seen apps being installed on and of my T-Mo phones by themselves outside of at initial setup time.
  • It's not listed on my US Cellular Note 7 either.
  • Have a LG G4 and no signs of it. However, it had the bootloop issue and had the circuitboard replaced, so maybe that might be a reason.
  • While this is business as usual, the real questions is why carriers have the nerve to sell us full priced phones (zero subsidy) but still feel they have a right to install bloatware on our storage and smear their logos all over our hardware? I'm a Nexus guy so this doesn't impact me much, but it used to and it sucks.
  • Simple answer. People keep buying them. Most people don't seem to care. Users complaining is just the cost of doing business. They only care when they lose profitable customers (profitable being the key word.)
  • I didn't find it on Sprint note7
  • This looks sweet! Does anyone have the apk so I can sideload this bad boy on my Nexus 6P? It would be pretty sweet to not have to worry about finding new apps to try out. Plus, I get to help out my friendly neighborhood carrier!
  • I like this guy
  • Good article,with a reasonable explanation and course of action.Thanks.
  • Another reason to stop buying phones from carriers. There are lots of options these days, starting with Nexus, which also avoids the problem of carriers refusing to release security fixes and new Android releases.
  • Is this better or worse than Carrier IQ? That app collected information without you knowing that probably wouldn't have affected you at all. This app doesn't collect information but it runs all the time and serves you bloat.
  • I got blasted for this last time, but I'm gonna say it again anyway: Everyone knew what information Carrier IQ was collecting and agreed to it by clicking Accept, other than 1 bug with one HTC phone on one carrier that was later fixed. READ THAT SHIT.
  • I agree, but I also think that carriers and OEMs deliberately make their EULAs overly long and drawn out for the sole purpose of discouraging users from actually reading them. I know it'll never happen, but I'd love to see EULAs released with a companion TL;DR version, similar to how Google releases condensed, plain language versions of their privacy policies.
  • Yup. But that isn't going to happen because plain English descriptions would just make them look bad. You get the minimum information required, in language that leaves as much wiggle room as possible. But the information IS there and we should be reading every single word until we understand.
  • The only issue I see with that explanation is, if you don't accept it, are you still able to use the phone? When I wasn't able to get WiFi calling through Verizon on my Nexus, people suggested using the Verizon Messages app, which allows you to do WiFi calling. The only problem with it was that if you didn't allow it to be set as your default messaging app, it wouldn't even install. Since I only planned to use it for WiFi calling, I just decided not to install it.
  • If you don't accept it, you get your money back when you return the phone. I have tested this policy in a store in person.
  • If most all carriers have this and it's on most all devices, then what choice do you have but to either accept it or go without a smartphone?
  • I remember Carrier IQ. That is when I switched to Nexus.
  • I hate Carrier phones haven't bought one of years unlocked phones for the win
  • This started back in 2014. See this thread from the Note 4 forum: http://forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-note-4/467487-t-mobile-u... Or more at: www.droid-life.com/2014/12/02/dt-ignite-verizon-tmobile-bloatware-malware/
  • If DT Ignite is so harmless as claimed in the article, why does it need such extreme permissions? For those who want to see the permissions click on the link to the android central note four thread listed above.
  • It has system-level permissions. That means it can do everything. The old permissions section just displays them that way.
  • I don't see it on my Verizon PRIV. Does it require root or the ability to unlock the bootloader to work?
  • Nexus FTW
  • To much bloat on a Nexus for me. Moto G4 Plus FTW!!!!!
  • What, you do know that Nexus devices are as close to stock as possible without going for AOSP, that "bloat" is on every Android device including your Moto G4 Plus!!!!
  • Don't see it on my T-Mobile Note 7...
  • Surely this shouldn't be allowed under Google Play's rules.
  • The first time I heard of this, my mind went all; "Yo dawg! We heard you like bloat. So we installed bloat that installs more bloat so that you can bloat while you bloat."
  • I agree with trying not to buy carrier phones. These bloatware practices sound like classic Verizon behavior, but it's not comforting that all the major carriers do this. I bought my phone from the OEM this year and I am so glad I did. But I can also foresee a day where cash-strapped OEMs (looking at you, HTC) would consider similar deals if there were enough incentives...
  • Thanks for the information: disabled and done!! Only thing was it was in plain site. Didnt have to "show system apps", at least in my case. Lol Again AC comes to the rescue. You guys are awesome!
  • Just disable DT and deny all permissions on day one set up of the phone. Stays disabled on my HTC 10. YMMV
  • Yeah but I disabled mine and deleted all the apps. On a reboot it reenabled itself and installed a couple games on its own before I caught it. VZW note 7.
  • Not showing up on system app list on Note 7 Att.
  • As I click the "agree" like anyone else on setup, can you tell us if it actually gives the option to opt out of it installing? Or, does it tell you about it, require it, or you can't use the phone? And thank you for this article. I haven't been able to figure out what it is on my MM Note 4 on VZ given where and when it does and doesn't show.
  • I disabled DT Ignite yet these three apps were installed from the Play Store on their own: Despicable Me (Gameloft)
    Now for Reddit (Phyora)
    Seven Guardians (4:33) http://forums.androidcentral.com/showthread.php?t=718271 Motorola Moto Z Force DROID Edition
  • I see the following app on my AT&T Note 7 in package disabler. App Select
    com.dti.att Not sure if this is the same program. I didn't see it in the application listing before I disabled it.
  • But if ever phone was easily and simply rootable,more and more folk could just load a clean factory image..very soon it will be law that any non-carrier phone sold in the e.u has to be rootable,locked bootloaders etc will be illegal,makers want everything set up for their own good against the interest of the buyer,if I'm paying €700+ for a phone,I expect to be able to do what ever I want with it,not have it half crippled by the maker,here's looking at you HTC...
  • With regards to cell phone insurance... Check out your credit card details. I used to work for Wells Fargo and a credit feature was if you paid your cell phone bill from the credit card monthly it came with insurance for the phone. Something to check on and think about!
  • Another option would be to buy a device from a carrier that is an iOS device. Doesn't seem like Apple allows these shenanigans. So i don't know why android users should just expect it... just deal with it.... and keep quiet. I honestly don't get why you (Jerry) are suggesting we should.. I mean, while you were writing this article apple/iOS had to at least cross your mind. We shouldn't need to make concessions....bcuz obviously Apple has it figured out.
  • When I had to jailbreak my iPhone 5 to delete the Verizon software that works with their in-store backup service, Verizon address book "stuff" and Verizon location assistant i wasn't very happy. Was even less happy to see them on the 6S. I have no idea what those apps can do, but I do know that T-Mobile or AT&T get enough information from me. I don't need to share any with Big Red if they aren't providing me services. But the point is that if you WANT to support this practice by buying phones from a carrier, you need to accept it. You do have a recourse — buying an unbranded phone. No particular manufacturer was ever mentioned there. Maybe I meant a BlackBerry Passport? :P
  • I've never had an iPhone. So maybe I was speaking out of ignorance. If so, then I apologize. From reading different articles, forums, comments etc, I always see people saying that Apple doesn't allow carriers to put ANY bloatware on their devices (unlike samsung for example). But you're saying the 6s had some of verizons bloat so apparently I made an ass of myself by making an assumption. My apologies Sir.
  • Naww. It's not the same. These are hidden system things and not complete apps. I just don't know what they do when You're not using Verizon so I had to try and take them out. And it's always fine to make an ass out of yourself. I do it regularly :P
  • Not having any of these issues with T-Mobile
  • I also can't find it on my TMO Note 7. Doesn't much matter if they release an unlocked Note 7 like they did for the S7. I'll flash the unlocked ROM from that onto the TMO Note 7. All the things TMO offers .. wifi calling, VoLTE and the rest will still work so I'm not really worried about it. We'll see.
  • The last paragraph should've been the third paragraph then job done!
  • The last paragraph should've been the third paragraph then job done!