Android bloatware alert: DT Ignite automated app installer spotted on T-Mobile, Verizon phones

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An uninvited guest has arrived on some Android phones on Verizon and T-Mobile. Some users have reported seeing a new package labeled DT_Ignite that installs unwanted apps in the background without notification or permission.

The Digital Turbine Ignite site describes its service as a way for carriers to increase ad revenue through app installation. It describes how it can help carriers “regain a competitive edge,” and that its tool “maximizes the efficiency of pre- and post-loading applications on smartphones.”

The prime targets appear to be the LG G3 on Verizon and Galaxy Note 4 on both Verizon and T-Mobile. This is surprising to see on T-Mobile, which bills itself as a customer-friendly “uncarrier.”

Some unhappy campers took to various forums to find out more. The DT_Ignite package appears to put apps like RetailMeNot, Cookie Jam, and Drippler on their phones. Some have been able to uninstall them permanently, while others say they reappear after restarting their phone.

Another bone of contention is that such downloads count against your monthly data cap. While it may not be a huge amount of usage, it’s not cool to force customers into involuntary data usage.

Why this matters: Carrier bloatware has long been the bane of the Android ecosystem. It’s where the more open nature of Android is hijacked, with carriers using it to load up your phone with apps you don’t want and can’t uninstall. If you want to avoid this kind of problem go with a Nexus phone (although maybe not the AT&T model) or a Motorola device, which runs stock Android and a couple of useful add-ons.

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