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Get a new Samsung phone? Here are six things to turn off

New Samsung phones are great, except for the parts that aren't

When it comes to the sheer number of features offered, Samsung's TouchWiz is pretty much unmatched. If you can imagine it, chances are it's a feature on the latest Samsung phones like the Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 4 or Galaxy Alpha. Many of these features are useful, but there's some stuff enabled out of the box that you might want to selectively turn off.

Read on to see which six features we find ourselves killing off when we start using a new Samsung phone.

Water droplet

The water droplet touch sounds

Bloop. Bloop. Bloop. Start up a new Samsung phone for the first time and these water droplet sounds will punctuate your every touch of the screen. A relic of the Galaxy S3's nature-inspired UI, this minor irritant can be disabled by toggling "Settings > Sound > Touch sounds" into the off position.

Samsung whistle

The Samsung whistle

Even if you've never owned a Samsung phone, chances are you're familiar with the unmistakable piercing whistle of the company's default notification sound. You can change it to something less objectionable under "Settings > Sound > Notifications."

S Voice shortcut

Double-tap S Voice shortcut

Samsung's personal assistant has improved considerably since it first appeared on the Galaxy S3. But if you're not using it every day, you could make your home button more responsive by disabling the S Voice long-press shortcut.

First load S Voice, then hit the menu key (or three dots at the top of the screen) and select "Settings." From there, uncheck "Open via the home key." With this option disabled, the home key will respond immediately when pressed, rather than waiting to see if a second press is coming.

My Magazine

My Magazine on your home screen

In the default TouchWiz launcher, swiping right from the leftmost home screen panel will load up "My Magazine," Samsung's Flipboard-powered home screen reader. If you're using it, great. If not, kill it by long-pressing on an empty home screen space, then tapping "Home screen settings" and unchecking "My Magazine."

Lock screen sounds

Lock screen sounds

If Samsung's spritely default screen unlock sounds are just too cheerful for your tastes, they're easily disabled under "Settings > Sound > Screen lock sound."

Gallery clutter

Samsung's Gallery app can draw in content from Dropbox, Facebook and Picasa as well as whatever's on your local storage and SD card. Usually that's all configured when you first set your phone up. But if you've got tons of photos in your cloud storage or social accounts, you might not want all this stuff lumped together.

In fact, if you have enough photos across your various accounts, the Gallery app can slow to a crawl. The easiest way to limit the Gallery app to photos on your phone is to hit menu (three dots) and select "Content to display." From there you can uncheck whichever services you don't want showing up.

More: Samsung Galaxy S5 help, tips and tricks

Alex Dobie
Alex Dobie

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

137 Comments
  • This article is hilarious. Thanks for the info. Last night I spent more than 30minutes disabling about 40 built in apps and setting up Nova Launcher for a relative's LG Vista AT&T, I didn't even know it's possible to even have that much bloatwares I have the Moto X, all I had to do was put in the sim card, turn it on and start using it.
  • "Last night I spent more than 30minutes disabling about 40 built in apps " Exactly... I was gonna say "only 6? WHAT???" Here is the only way to get a Samsung phone running well. Step 1. ROOT.
    Step 2. Uninstall EVERY SINGLE SAMSUNG APP
    Step 3. Uninstall EVERY SINGLE CARRIER APP
    Step 4 Uninstall any other pre-installed apps you dont/wont use. Now your Samsung phone is quite awesome and fast as hell.
  • Just having an app sitting on your phone isn't going to slow it down. If you want to remove the bloatware, fine, but don't imply that they slow your phone down just by the nature of them being there.
  • yes it is going to slow down and it depends on the app.
    if the app has a service attached to it then it will slow the phone down.
  • He didn't say it depended on the app. He just said that getting rid of all the default apps will make your phone run faster, which isn't true. Just having apps on your phone will not slow it down unless they are open and running in the background.
  • Agree to disagree. A lot of things can slow down your phone and whole bunch of "unused" apps is one of them. Posted via the Android Central App on VZW Moto X
  • Simply having an excessive amount of apps regardless of using them or not, absolutely will slow down your phone... The amount of bloatware on a new Samsung phone from Verizon is absolutely ridiculous!! And shutting them off doesn't work, they persistently nag me to allow me to update them and even though I say no, they eventually updated on their own... Turning off automatic updates is not an option for me because I do prefer the apps I chose to install to update automatically... Computers (phones included) don't like to be ran at max, filling up your hardrive will always slow it down... ALWAYS
  • You're arguing two different things. I agree bloatware is annoying, but being nagged to update them isn't the same thing as your phone becoming slow simply by their presence. And, please...you're not filling up any storage space with the amount of default apps on the phone. i get that twelve or so apps is a lot, but it's not taking up enough space to slow down your phone.
  • Hard storage is not RAM. Having tonnes off bloatware will not slow your phone down one single bit unless you are using it. The only reason people think it does is because of a misconception that if a hard drive has more files on it, the device will perform slower, which is true for Windows PCs from before 2000, but not anymore. An HDD is not RAM.
  • i'm a software engineer and can you having an excessive number of apps with services running in the background will chew up memory, cpu, and other resources. This will happen even if the user has not manually launched the app ever. Think of malware, location-based services and ads, apps analyzing every incoming text message. These could be up and running after every clean reboot and use up a big chuck of free RAM. it is a well known fact that flash store slows down the fuller they get. That is due to the reduced amount of free areas and the extra search the system has to do to find an extra area in the flash to write to. Google it 'ssd slow down'.
  • Ok so Ed, I recently bought a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 that came with over 7G but I have only 565 mb of memory left. The phone has come with so many apps that I do not nor will not use. Granted, I have downloaded 5 games that does not total a lot of memory. What can I do to give my phone more memory. The speed of the phone is fine. Thanks in advance
  • u don't have any earthly idea of what you're talking about.
  • Cool.
  • Actually, most of them do. They're not "just sitting on your phone." Almost all of them have services attached that start themselves in the background.
  • u obviously have no idea what you're talking about. if it takes up space then it takes up speed, and yes even by just sitting there not being used.
  • This would be true if sit is all they do. But some of these apps will load on boot, continually get location or connect to the server to check for notification or something. These WILL slow your phone down, drain your battery, not to mention take up the valuable internal memory.
  • I would just disable the apps, root the phone and make sure the root keeper is installed. If you delete apps you're not going to easily get OTA's anymore.
  • Oh no I won't get my 9month late OTA, god the horror ! Root, factory reset flash a stock is ROM, profit Posted via Android Central App
  • It's a good thing I don't take advice from you.
    Some people act as if they know a lot of things.
  • How do you root the S5?
  • All you had to do was buy a Nexus. I remember the times after rooting my Xperia and deleting practically every pre-installed app.
  • ..Any advice for a extremely smart phone ignorant guy switchiching from a Quanitaco. Wanting a pc type operation? Many thanks.
    How do I get flash player on mozilla. Android? Thanks in advance for any input.
  • http://www.comes1st.com/androidflash.shtml
  • http://www.comes1st.com/androidflash.shtml
  • I know how to root from my desktop (we run Linux on hubby's computer and our server) but don't know how to get there from my phone. ....
  • How do I get rid of Samsung software, the obstacles they put in your way is facist. There insistence on depriving *owners* phones the options to set them up without samsung bloatware is unconscionable. In this respect they are just as bad as apple
  • hi...i'm having the same issue...charge my galaxy6 to 100%, disconnect my charger, then i don't touch it for 6 hours come back and the battery is at 40% i called samsung and verizon...they said not to uninstall any samsung apps or i will damage the phone. I don't understand what "force stop" does...can u please explain what i should.do and not do? Thanks...i appreciate the help...not all that tech savvy!
  • And what is ROOT?
  • Simple solution is to use package disable app https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https2F2F... no need to root phone, or tipping knox pits
  • Lol AT&T is the worst about bloatware... Although I think Verizon is a close second
  • Well Folks this G-S-5 is somewhat of a pain. This phone is cluttered like none other. Wow what is with needing to always turn off apps. Even send a text and there is a running app, BS Samsung This is my life. I almost took this thing back today. I miss my HTC Resound ! That was a good unit. Now I will try to stop the excessive RAM usage. Any Ideas ?
  • This has nothing to do with Samsung. "RAM usage" in Android is not a problem.  It's not Windows.  Android intentionally tries to keep the most commonly used apps in RAM so that they are ready when you request them.  Android will free memory, as needed, on-the-fly.  In the Linux world, free memory is wasted memory.  If you are constantly force closing apps to try and "free" memory, you are actually reducing the performance and battery life of the device, since Android is just going to try and immediately reload apps to fill the RAM back up.
  • sorry but, it is a very big problem in android if u do not have a powerful enough processor.
  • If you don't have a "powerful enough processor" it's even more important to let Android keep your most commonly used apps loaded and ready to go.  Apps sitting cached in RAM have nothing to do with processor speed.  Cached apps don't use any CPU time. What you will see is games that run as a "Service" so that they can respond to push notifications from a server.  Shutting them down isn't doing you any good, since Android will just immediately re-launch them (thus, causing the problem I mentioned previously) because they have told the system that they need to be running as a background service.  Personally, when I find a game running as a background service for no apparent reason, the game gets uninstalled and I point it out in a review in the Play Store.  That's really about all you can do. There are some Android "Services" as well that have to do with getting push notifications for email, sync'ing Facebook, etc.  Again, if you shut them off, they will just come right back, chewing up a ton CPU cycles in the process. TL/DR version:  cached apps have nothing to do with CPU speed, because they're not actually doing anything.  Force closing Service-level apps will make your device slow while they re-launch.
  • If only we could get rid of the At&t branding in the notification bar like you can on the new X. Ugh...I KNOW my phone is on At&t.
  • You can. We posted this last week. In the network settings, uncheck 'show mobile settings' in mobile network settings.
  • Read my comment again. Yes...you can do it on the X. Not on the Alpha.
  • Ah, I thought you were on the old X. My mistake.
  • LOL these are literately the first 6 things I did after I factory rested my S5. Followed by nova setup and bloat removal( thanks Verizon) This can also apply to Samsung's line of tablets
  • Ugh, this is a big reason why I've finally made the jump to IOS. Love Android, but coming from Verizon, there's so few good options. The GS4 is just a wastebucket of samsung annoyances.
  • You went to IOS because you hate turning things off or changing sounds on Samsung phones? Sounds like a good reason to me. Posted via Android Central App
  • Same here. I bought a new house because my front door creaked. I don't feel that I should have to oil the hinges to enjoy my house.
  • So, you went to a platform that you have no control over? There is a screen of apps on our iPad that I cannot remove that I don't use.
  • I put them all into one folder and put the folder on like the 3rd page. You won't even know they're there.
  • I do that too. Started doing something similar back in my PalmOS days with the apps I couldn't remove on it. Gave them their own hidden category.
  • Seems like a bit of a pyrrhic victory... Posted via Android Central App
  • You do realize there are several Android phones to choose from. You don't have to buy a Samsung phone.
  • Samsung's Touchwiz can certainly drive you to iOS. Unless you root the phone and install a vanilla Android ROM, you can't get rid of the crappier parts of Touchwiz, such as the terrible settings menu and all that. For people uncomfortable having to root their phone just to make it user friendly like Android on a Nexus 4/5, Moto X or HTC Sense device, it just makes sense to dump the platform in frustration or buy a Android phone with a good UI. Samsung takes Android's amazing fluid platform and makes it a cartoony laggy piece of trash. Too bad Nova Launcher can't remove all of Samsung's garbage. Posted via Android Central App
  • That's not true I have a bloated S4 and I dont care for iOS Posted from my SGH-I337M
  • It only drives you to iOS if you're a fool. Posted via Android Central App
  • "made the jump to IOS" Why are still trolling an android site, then? Shoo!
  • you went to ios cause you want to carry a 200ft Extension cord admit it :P
  • Why would you buy a phone that you don't want? Samsung adds a ton of stuff that isn't necessary, but maybe some people like it. But if you don't like Samsung s*#it, don't but a Samsung phone. FYI. Have you heard the news flash? There are Android phones that aren't made by Samsung.
  • "Got a new Samsung device? Here's the first thing to do: install an AOSP-based ROM to get rid of TouchWiz."
  • Couldn't agree with you more. Samsung really knows how to make a superior platform inferior by slapping on a terrible custom UI. Posted via Android Central App
  • All a matter of opinion... I for one, buy Samsung because I like TW. I despise stock Android and other oem and Play Store launchers... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I prefer TW to boring stock bland featureless stock Android.
    Better software, better camera and features.
    I don't get why people get excited over the latest greatest flagship from OEM's, only to slap stock Android.
    If you want stock android, get a Nexus Posted from my SGH-I337M
  • I agree that Sammy's hardware is superior to other Android manufacturers, and I like the superior hardware. I also like plain vanilla Android.
  • +1 to that. I've rooted and ROM'ed almost every android device I've ever had. Haven't rooted my latest tab though - It hasn't been delivered yet!
  • After disabling every bloat app you can, go into about phone, click the build number 7 times or however many it says to to enable developer settings. Then go into developer settings and turn all 3 animation settings down to 0. Download Nova launcher, set the speed to faster than light and then profit. Makes even a stock Samsung phone kinda snappy. A lot better than it is out of the box. Posted via Android Central App
  • +1 always do this on every phone it really helps getting rid of animations. Posted via Android Central App
  • Absolutely. Touchwiz trash. Posted via Android Central App
  • Lol we get it, you hate TW even though you've made it obvious you haven't used a Samsung device in a long time. :P settle down kid. Posted via Android Central App
  • edit: nm.
  • Step 7. Root. Uninstall carrier and Samsung bloatware.
    Step 8. Install Xposed Framework, download Wanam, and get rid of excessive statusbar icons and notification.
  • Step 9. Tell my wife how to do all that stuff so that she actually understands :P
  • Just a question. Do the AC editors root their devices. I'm assuming by now that all of you have done at least once. I'm a ROM addict but does anyone one the AC team go that far? Posted via Galaxy ace plus running Speedmod 2.5 with Xposed
  • not only do they not root their devices, they discourage you doing so, which is completely understandable.
  • Most of them can, but we don't really feel the need as much anymore. That's actually how I got noticed by Phil and got to come write here was that I wrote about how root isn't as needed anymore.
  • Don't you love the "just root it" crowd.  I did it so it must be easy! Well I am not saying I can't do it... I just don't want to do it!
  • Depending on the phone it can be one click/tap. Which is idiot proof.
    But yeah unlocking a boot loader flashing a recovery and then SU isn't always easy. Posted via Galaxy ace plus running Speedmod 2.5 with Xposed
  • once they implement a titanium backup like ability without root, I'll never need to root again
  • Two problems wrong with your answer... First... You can't uninstall app just because your phone is rooted... you still need to use a special app with root access to delete them. Second, unless you never plan on doing OTA updates, it's recommended to NOT uninstall the bloatware apps but to instead Freeze or Disable them.. otherwise the update will not detect those specific apps and cause the update to fail or crash.
  • I like the whistle notification sound.
  • You are the worst kind of human being -.-
  • Damn Skippy! Posted via Android Central App
  • ha! what ^he said
  • 4th Posted via the Android Central App
  • Oh no you didn't.  That is about as bad as not changing the default ringtone on an iphone.
  • My mother had me hunt down the whistle on zedge for her when I got her a Moto X.
  • I did the same whenever I'm using a non - Samsung phone.
  • I like the water drop sound. LOL ;)
  • I like the bloop touch sound. Damn pansies Posted via Android Central App
  • You know who doesn't like them?  EVERY DAMN PERSON AROUND YOU!
  • They're great for announcing that you're typing on the toilet....
  • bloops are awesome. hipsters gonna hate
  • turn off Touchwiz option would be great
  • Installing another Launcher like Nova as the default is difficult? You have options. I like some Touchwiz features but HATE the brightness of TouchWiz and the icons. Takes all but 5 seconds to switch to any launcher you want. The beauty of Android, and you don't even have to root (unless you want to).. Sure beats staring at a screen of icons on an I-device with zero choice..
  • TouchWiz runs more than skin deep. A launcher will only hide the surface. It won't get rid of TouchWiz.
  • Although it doesn't get rid of it I'm happy with my Google launcher. My biggest gripe with TouchWiz is mymagazine flip board being forced on us. Posted via Android Central App
  • On the note 4, you can turn off flipboard on the home screen settings. Not sure about other galaxy's.
  • Absolutely correct. It does not change the deep down problems with Touchwiz. Posted via Android Central App
  • Ugh, that bloody whistle notification! I don't have a Samsung device, but every time I hear it I want to kill someone! The only notification that's worse is that stupid giggling baby one. Posted via Android Central App
  • 2nd Posted via the Android Central App
  • Perfect!
    As a long time Samsung user these are my first steps.. ...Followed by turning off the animation settings in developer options.
  • I'll never understand it. Buy a shinny new Samsung phone, root and uninstall everything making it just like a handful of other phones, Praise Samsung for their awesome phone.
  • Yeah I own a note three and there are plenty of things I love using on TouchWiz and some I can live without. The Google launcher makes the experience much better covering almost all the things I don't like. Posted via Android Central App
  • Does the Google launcher interfere with the S pen functionality? Posted via the Android Central App
  • First thing I do is root , 100% OBLITERATE all default sounds.. My only sounds is a single beep for text messages, two alarm ones and two choice sounds from BattleStar Galactica.. Next I remove all the annoying Samsung Cloud Services/apps/other services/bloat, Google bloatware like newsstand/books/hangouts/Gmail/Etc and preinstalled extra bloatware like Amazon/B&N/Etc.. Finally, I install Nova and whatever apps I had..
  • Similar thing here, my ringtone is the cylon tune from battlestar galactica
  • I have really grown to hate those bleeps and bloops. Annoys me as much as the people who uses a song for every alert on their phone.
  • a song or diff alert? it's great to have a diff alert for diff applications so you know if it's something that can wait or not. FB notifications can wait while text messages I rarely postpone. email gets a diff ring too. why not customize your phone so that it provides you with the most information at once?
  • Yes I like to differentiate my alerts as well. I'm talking about phones with ALL Songs as alerts and ringtones.
  • Wait wait wait. 3 out of your big 6 TouchWiz slams.. are sounds.. cm on maan. This can't be all the bloat ware that Samsung needs to get rid of. Dew drop sounds and whistles? Really?
  • Well those are the ones most likely to annoy other people.....
  • i think you just touched on the purpose of the article, the author hates those sounds so he wants to influence the other hipsters to hate them more as well. whistle does suck, but the bloops are a decent sound for touch sounds. Everyone else uses a sound the sounds like a keyboard key press that isn't anywhere near authentic
  • Besides the Nexus, does LG have the same kind of crap to turn off?
  • Just turn off the device altogether and exchange it for one that's not from Samsung.
  • Lol. Hilarious. You win, sir. N3 via AC App
  • Brilliant! I would use a Blackberry before using a Samsung phone. After dealing with the Galaxy S4 and the awful Tab 10.1 (2014) provided to me by my office, I would rather use a Blackberry just to avoid that trash. Posted via Android Central App
  • +1
    I hear that. If you don't like so much about Samsung phones. Got get a damp Nexus. It's not like years ago when Samsung was the king of specs for android. Now a days there's like 4 or 5 phones with 3gb ram and snapdragon 8××
  • This is really good info. I did all this when I got the Note 3 last year. N3 via AC App
  • I don't mind the water drop sound. You can lower its volume from the Sounds settings though. The Whistle notification is beyond annoying though. I'll take their uncap bottle sound over that stupid whistle any day!
  • You should also do an article about on how to shut off AT&T'S bloatware. I'm an experienced Android owner and this helped with a few annoying problems I had with Samsung. AT&T's and Samsungs bloatware is horrible. They have Beats, ATT Scanner, Drive Mode, family messages, smart Wifi, My ATT (actually useful) ), Samsung bar codes, Flipboard, Samsung Print and Trip Advisor. These are only a few. This is ridiculous.
  • Oh that whistle. I nothing could be as bad as Apple's tri-tone till that came out. Posted via Android Central App
  • +1. And I have an iPhone.
  • Fortunately for Sprint customers, all Sprint apps can be UNINSTALLED, except Sprint Zone which I presume is similar to My ATT for tracking usage stats and paying the bill.
  • Egads!!! You all sound like a bunch of sisified whiners/ whingers. Get a life foo. Ugh. .... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I agree. Nexus good...Samsung bad!! Lol. You sound like...gSh$$p. Very sad! Go get a Note 4 and actually learn to use the features. You will never even look at a Nexus device seriously again. Then again, if you like the Nexus experience...more power to ya! People like iPhones too. And you can't really do anything productive with them either. Posted via Android Central App
  • Again you are talking bullshit as there are no other alternatives to your bloat-productivity. You say samsung has features that clean android on nexus doesn't have? WRONG. The idea is to keep it simple and elegant. It's your problem if you don't know how to use google play.
  • Samsung Samsung why is everything always about Samsung Posted via the Android Central App
  • because there are only 3 major android companies and htc rarely does anything exciting.
  • They missed, just don't buy a Samsung phone because they are full of junk Posted via Android Central App
  • I'll be disabling Google Now/Search as well along with S Voice, My Magazine, and uncluttering the Gallery. :)
  • This is definitely good advise. I certainly have done this and you can rest assured it helps. Now if I could get Samsung Hub off the Wiz I'd be a happy camper.
  • It's like this...Nexus is okay if your a Google head, and Samsung is good too! Samsung gets the bad rap because of Asian Companies usually do. But as I see it...it's our technology we developed it and then due to greed well we all know or should know the rest. Given that Microsoft had the opportunity but dived, so Apple picked up the slack. Innovator, Mr Jobs definitely not. Genius please don't go there. Our capabilities are being stolen or better yet given away at our own dismay. Maybe if we as consumers got our shit together then we could get better products instead of throw away junk. My self I use a Samsung generation 1 or the original "S" phone on Kit Kat. Some mods.but still original in every way. And just purchased the S4 on lollipop. Uh can't see what the problems are.
  • I appreciate the awesome information on the page thank you all very much...
    I own a Galaxy IIIs, I have no idea what apps I should keep, or the ones I need to delete in order to get better performance. This comment has taken over 20 minutes to type in order for it to make any sense please help me gget started, if you can. Very much appreciated.
    Sincerely, RoB KuZ
  • I have an S4.....fulla Samsung junk. Gettin a moto g 4g....Cheap and seems to do the job.
  • Flash CM12. You will get rid of ALL samsung apps immediatelly. This phone is freakin amazing, trust me.
  • How bad could it be?? S4 is not worth over $500 vs <200
  • Samsung phones are kind of shit with their Android inside. Flashing CM11 (especially CM12) makes samsung phones as fast as hell!
  • but the installing procedure is damn hard. I read the list of steps and I backed out. Though I hate Samsung and I want to go as far from the original system as possible.
  • I hate Samsung S5. I am fighting this terrible bad awful piece of junk every day, spending hours to fix ridiculous restrictions and limitations Samsung created to torture stupid morons who paid their hard earned money for this brick called smartphone. Never buy Samsung. Save mental health, time and money.
  • How do I root a prepaid version Samsung galaxy s iii
  • I just want to how to change when I get a text message. I dont want it to go straight to the notification bar I want it to go to straight to the screen
  • God Bless you! I thought I was stuck with that horrible My Magazine thing- you have made my day! thanks
  • I understand that BLU phones are relatively bloat free.