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Samsung Galaxy S6 to let you hide preinstalled apps

Owners of the new smartphones will apparently be able to hide many of the apps that come already loaded.

You apparently will be able to hide certain preloaded apps from Samsung's new Galaxy S phones. Josh Miller/CNET

Buy a Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge, and you apparently won't be stuck looking at all the apps that come with it.

Screenshots of the upcoming Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone posted late last week on the XDA Developers forum show that you can disable preinstalled apps. The three images show several apps already disabled and disable (minus) symbols for such Samsung apps as S Health and S Voice and several Google apps, including YouTube, Gmail, Google+ and even the Google Play Store.

An earlier version of this story said that you could delete, or uninstall, the preloaded apps. But as seen in a video demo by blog site MobileSyrup, that's not true. Pressing the minus symbol next to a preinstalled app simply hides the app from the screen but does not uninstall it. The app still exists with all its data, and you can re-enable it if you wish to see it on your screen again.

Samsung's past Galaxy phones have been criticized for including a large number of apps -- often dubbed bloatware by critics -- that cannot be uninstalled. The company tried to cut down on the number of such apps with its Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S6. But you'll still find preloaded apps that you may not want to see on your Android OS phone.

Notably, Android maker Google has faced antitrust troubles over its purported policy of forcing Android device makers to accept its standard lineup of apps, such as Google Search, Google Play and YouTube. A lawsuit filed in May in US District Court accused Google of setting up secret agreements with Android device makers to ensure that its own apps are loaded on their devices. The European Union has also been eyeing Google over alleged antitrust violations related to apps. And last month, Russia-based search engine Yandex called for a probe into Google over the same matter.

The ability to hide preinstalled apps should help Samsung's reputation among folks tired of bloatware. The ability could also give Google some ammunition in its antitrust battles. The company can now argue that people can hide its apps, at least on the new Galaxy S phones.

Samsung did not respond to CNET's request for comment.

Correction, March 24 at 10 a.m. PT: This story originally reported that you will be able to delete or uninstall the preinstalled apps, but you can only hide them from the screen.

(Via Android Beat and TechnoBuffalo)