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Verizon's Galaxy S7 can install apps on its own, but don't panic

Engadget Engadget 9/05/2016 Jon Fingas
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Verizon is notorious in some circles for loading its smartphones with bloatware, but its recent moves have some users more anxious than usual... if not necessarily for the best reasons. A recent update to the carrier's Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge variants has installed Digital Turbine's Ignite, an app that lets carriers install more apps in the background. This has surfaced before on earlier T-Mobile and Verizon phones, but owners on Reddit and elsewhere are understandably nervous that this suddenly gives Verizon carte blanche to install more unwanted apps. Are you going to wake up to find another unnecessary navigation app or media portal on your phone?

Well, not quite. We reached out to Verizon (yes, they're our corporate overlords) for details, and it tells us that Ignite isn't the bloatware apocalypse some are making it out to be. Much as on earlier devices, Ignite is there to make sure that you're getting the most recent software loadout when you either set up a new phone or reset to factory defaults. You shouldn't see bloatware apps popping up without warning, then. Also, a spokesman swears that it's possible to completely uninstall (not just disable) new apps that do show up as a result. You can disable Ignite if you're still worried.

The remarks aren't going to completely allay fears that Ignite could let Verizon do something sneaky, whether or not it's limited to factory-fresh devices. And of course, they don't tackle the underlying complaints about the very existence of bloatware -- why do we need so many redundant or pointless apps, Verizon? However, this does serve as a reminder that even the pushier carriers have their limits.


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