It’s 2022, and yet, Samsung phone users still find themselves dealing with the menace of bloatware, with an irritating example being the user interface treating TikTok as an essential app. Now, the tactic is not unheard of. Chinese smartphone makers such as Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo have garnered some valid criticism in the past over the amount of bloatware that comes pre-installed on their devices. Samsung, and its One UI skin, are not too far behind. However, the situation gets even worse on carrier-locked devices.

Take, for example, the T-Mobile version of Samsung’s pricey new flagship, the Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G. The carrier’s official database shows that the phone comes pre-installed with 49 apps. But that’s not the end of it. On the entry-level Galaxy A03s, the number climbs to 59 apps, with the likes of Spotify and McAfee Security being the extra additions. The number rises to 77 pre-installed apps on the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G. And what is genuinely mind-bending is the fact that the Galaxy A52 5G, which was positioned as an Android alternative to the iPhone SE, has 90 pre-installed apps.

Related: Galaxy S22 Ultra Owners Are Already Reporting Display Problems

TikTok is absent on any of the lists mentioned above, but it appears that other carriers or unlocked units have a fondness for bundling the popular app as a pre-installed gift on Samsung phones. It’s not a new trend, but the fact that it is still troubling users in 2022 is disheartening. Reuben Binns, an associate professor at the University of Oxford, tweeted the photo of a Samsung phone’s setup screen, which labels TikTok as an essential app. The phone looks like a budget Galaxy device is an unlocked unit. Now, about the app’s status. An essential app is essentially a necessary evil. “Some of these apps are essential for your device to run correctly and cannot be uninstalled or disabled,” says an official Samsung support page. As far as non-essential apps that come pre-installed on Samsung phones are concerned, users can uninstall them immediately after the setup process is over.

Apparently, TikTok Is Essential For Your Samsung Phone

So, what can users do if an app is deemed essential at the system level but can’t be uninstalled? As per Samsung, such apps can only be disabled. To do so, open the app drawer, long press on the app’s icon, and tap on the Disable button that appears in the pop-up window. Users can do the same from within the settings section as well. Open the Settings app, tap on the Apps option, select the app, and go with the available option — Uninstall or Disable. However, some core apps such as Camera won’t show either of the options mentioned above. So, a third option is to uninstall the app directly from its Play Store listing.

Once an app appears as essential during the setup process, there’s no escaping it. Why is TikTok is deemed an essential app is something that Samsung phone users have been angrily chatting about in the official Samsung forum and Reddit for at least the past couple of years. A developer tool like ADB can help uninstall the unnecessary in-house apps hogging the internal storage, but such tools are not a cakewalk to use. How TikTok is an essential app is unclear, but to the average smartphone user, it is nothing more than a cash-grab scheme between the world’s most popular app and the world’s largest smartphone seller.