The Note III is Samsung’s latest offering in the oversized phone market (or for those of us with larger hands, the “finally a phone that doesn’t feel like a toy!” market).  This amazing powerhouse of a machine could easily double as a laptop replacement if coupled with a dock.  That being said, it also comes preloaded with an amazing outhouse’s worth of bloatware.  While Samsung’s S Pen apps are great apps, there are definite advantages in being able to pick and choose exactly what apps and Samsung ecosystem infrastructure are on a device as opposed to running the entire stack – which is waste of CPU cycles, RAM, bandwidth, and most important of all battery life.

Google’s apps on the phone suffer from the same issue, and of course there is a healthy dose of carrier bloatware to boot (how much there is depending on your carrier).  Thankfully Samsung’s phones are still based on Android (until Samsung brings Tizen onto the market later in 2014, at least), and with root there is complete control over a device’s software.  As such, the Note 3 can easily be optimized via bloatware removal.

This article uses model SM-N900W8 (N9006), running stock Android 4.3.

Contents

0:  Why Freeze Instead of Uninstall?
1:  Requirements
2:  Which Bloatware Apps to Freeze?
3:  Launch Google Now Instead of S Voice for Home Button

0: Why Freeze Instead of Uninstall?

Freezing an app differs from deleting an app in that freezing only makes the app non-executable by the system.  It’s still there, taking up space on the disk, but the system ignores it.  There are several good reasons to freeze an app rather than uninstall it:

  1. If you uninstall an app that is required by the system, your system may become unusable.  If you haven’t made a backup of that app, you will have to perform a factory reset.
  2. There is more than enough internal SD card space on the Note 3; uninstalling won’t free up a significant amount of room, so why take the risk for no advantage?
  3. Missing systems apps (which includes bloatware) will cause OTA updates to fail; the installer will check the system and determine that it’s not the one it was designed for as there are apps missing that it expects to find, and so the update will fail.

1: Requirements

Root

A rooted device is necessary in order to handle bloatware, as they are installed as system apps and so cannot be modified by the regular user account.  Kingo Android Root is the easiest method if your phone is a supported model running Android 4.3 and you have access to a Windows PC (a complete run down of rooting options is beyond the scope of this article).

App Freezer

Once you have root, it’s possible to “freeze” apps so that they won’t run or show up in the app listings.  Titanium Backup Pro is the best app available for managing your applications, along with making backups.  It costs a few dollars to get the freezing feature, but is well worth it for the extra back up and power user features.  There are free freeze apps on the market, but most do not provide as  complete a listing as TiBU does and so some items that can be frozen will be missed.

2:  Which Bloatware Apps to Freeze?

Third party apps will vary from carrier to carrier, but the Samsung and Google apps should be the same on all devices.  This list will most likely include a few apps or services that some users find useful.

Samsung

Name Description
Action Memo Virtual memo pad.
AllShare ControlShare Service Framework for controlling devices from other devices devices (PCs, TVs, tablets, phones, etc.) over WiFi Direct and/or DLNA.
AllShare FileShare Service Framework for sharing media files from other devices devices (PCs, TVs, tablets, phones, etc.) over WiFi Direct and/or DLNA.
Backup Samsung’s cloud backup service.
Beaming Service Sending files and data between two devices via radio peer to peer network.
BlurbCheckout Background purchase and checkout app for Samsung’s book-making app.
CloudAgent Mediator for file transfer to Samsung cloud services.
ChatON Samsung’s cloud IM service.
DirectConnectManager Samsung’s VOIP service contact & message manager.
DirectShareGallery Gallery app for displaying AllShare framework media available.
DirectShareManager Framework for managing files in DirectShare.
EpsonPrintService For printing to Epson printers from your device.
Group Play Pairs Samsung devices together to share and play media and games using a peer to peer network rather than WiFi or cellular data.
HP Print Service For printing to HP printers from your device.
Internet Samsung’s custom web browser.
KNOX Virtual secure system emulator for sandboxing applications and data.
KNOX Notification Manager For displaying KNOX enterprise mobile security notifications.
KNOX Store Apps for KNOX virtual sandbox.
Mobile Print For printing to wireless printers from your device.
MobilePrintSVC_Cups For printing to wireless printers from your device using Mobile Print.
MobilePrintSVC_Cups_Backend For printing to wireless printers from your device using Mobile Print.
Music Samsung’s music player.
My Magazine Samsung’s emagazine reader.
NOTE:  freezing this may interfere with the stock email app, as per redditor johoyouknow.
PageBuddyNotiSvc PageBuddy notifications service (eg, “recommended apps”).
PEN.UP Samsung’s social media network for sharing doodles and sketches.
S Finder Samsung’s local file storage, settings and contacts search engine; searches through all text related material on a device, including the content of handwritten notes and memos.
S Health Samsung’s health tracking app.
S Namecard Samsung’s contacts manager.
S Translator Samsung’s language translation clone of Google Translate.
S Voice Samsung’s Google Now / Siri clone.
Samsung Account Samsung user account details & management.
Samsung Apps Samsung’s version of Google Play for apps.
Samsung Apps Widget Screen widget for Samsung Apps.
Samsung Backup Provider Samsung’s device backup service.
Samsung Cloud Data Relay Samsung’s data cloud connector.
Samsung Cloud Quota Throttles speed and total data to Samsung’s cloud services.
Samsung Contents Agent Mediates Samsung content from cloud services.
Samsung Hub Samsung’s version of Google Play for music, movies, books, and games.
Samsung In-App Purchase Mediate purchases inside of apps but outside of Google Play.
Samsunk Link Formerly AllShare Play.  Remote access to display, push and share media via Samsung’s servers with PCs and devices.
Samsung Print Service For printing to Samsung printers from your device.
Samsung Push Service Framework to push notifications to Samsung apps such as ChatON, AllsharePlay, etc.
Samsung SBrowser SyncAdapter Syncs bookmarks between Samsung web browser on different devices.
Samsung Video Samsung’s version of Google Play for video.
Samsung WatchON TV show listings with recommendations based on viewing habits & social media integration.
Samsung WatchON Video TV show player & TV remote.
SamsungHub Updater Application update service.
Scrapbook Samsung’s document collection – groups together in a “document” videos, images, etc.
Share Music Framework for sharing music between devices.
Share Video Framework for sharing music between devices.
Story Album Samsung’s picture & photo organizer with web printing service.
Story Album Widget Widget for Story Album
Video Editor Lite Samsung’s video editing tool.
Video Player Samsung’s video player.
WFDS Print Service Plugin WiFi Direct printer driver for connecting to wireless printers.
Wi-Fi Direct WiFi Direct app for communicating between devices over wifi.
Wi-Fi Direct Share WiFi Direct app for sharing files between devices over wifi.

Google

Name Description
Google Play Books Google play store framework for ebooks.
Google Play Games Google play store framework for gaming.
Google Play Movies Google play store framework for movies.
Google Play Music Google play store framework for music.
Google Play Newsstand Google play store framework for emagazines.
Picasa Uploader Service for automatically uploading all images to Picasa.

Third Party

Name Description
Evernote Cloud based note, photo and to-do list organizer.
Flipboard Social and world news content delivery.
Polaris Office Document display and editing (PDF, spreadsheet, text, presentation).
TripAdvisor Trip Advisor website’s app.
Yahoo! Finance Yahoo’s financial information feed app.

3:  Launch Google Now Instead of S Voice for Home Button

Samsung has mapped pressing the home button twice to launch S Voice, so if you have frozen the S Voice app this will cause TouchWiz to crash.  TouchWiz will display a notification box and start up again right away, but it is a major annoyance.

To launch Google Now (or any other application) instead of S Voice when double clicking the home button:

  1. Install Home2 Shortcut.
  2. Launch and grant root privileges.
  3. In the section labelled “– Step 1 — Home > Home”, click the “Choose Application” button, click “Installed Applications”, select “Voice Search” and click “OK”.
    home2shortcut-1 home2shortcut-2 home2shortcut-3
  4. Scroll down to the section labelled “– Step 3 –“, click the “Choose Home Application” button, select “TouchWiz Home” and click “OK”.
    home2shortcut-5 home2shortcut-6
  5. Click the “Close” button to exit the application.
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