A government guideline has now come into effect in China which states that certain software and apps that come pre-installed—often termed “bloatware”—on smart devices must now be uninstallable, and must not pass on user data without user approval. Instructions for their removal must also be included with new devices.

Manufacturers now have to open up the settings for pre-installed apps to allow users to delete them; failure to comply will be punishable. New phones and devices will have to ship with the software already removable and accompanying instruction books must detail how to remove the software. If no instruction booklet is included with the handset then the instructions must be included on the device’s packaging.

Manufacturers cannot push uninstalled software back to phones when a user upgrades the operating system and the deletion of any software must not interfere with the phone’s connectivity to any networks.

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Frank Hersey

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...