Does a Macbook come with bloatware/crapware?

The last laptop I bought was in 2008 and it is a Toshiba Satellite. It was too good of a deal to pass up, but unfortunately it came with tons of installed stuff that I didn’t want. I still haven’t gotten rid of all the garbage that came pre-installed.

When I can save up enough, I’m going to buy a Macbook. Does Apple include a lot of the same type of pre-installed programs? How about if I buy a refurbished one from

New machines ship with iLife, but you want that.
Also, none of the pre-installed software is nagware - it won’t pop up annoying messages. If you don’t want to use those programs, don’t.

The refurb machines are shipped just like new machines - they have the same warranty and are configured the same.

The Mac Pros and server-class Macs come with nothing but the OS; I think the MacBook Pro may, as well. The Consumer-class Macs (everything else: iMac, MacBook, Mini) come with iLife installed (iTunes, GarageBad, iMovie, iPhoto, and iDVD - all pretty basic system components), and sometimes a demo of Microsoft Office or a game or two. All are drag-to-trash uninstallable. Sometimes there’s a copy of the latest Pixar movie in there, but they’ll advertise that and it will be in a separate box (I haven’t seen this in a while).

Nothing will be “hidden” or have “parts” installed anywhere; and you can always just re-format with the disk in the box before you use it if you want a completely clean install, the iLife (if present) will be on a separate disk from the system installer.

It depends what you mean by bloatware. Macs do come with a number of things installed. They are all things I like, but you may not. One of the reasons it is so easy to get peripherals to work, is that the standard software to run most existing peripherals is already on the computer. I just need to tell it what type of printer it is, and I’m ready to go. Even printers that don’t exist yet, usually work pretty well with the earlier software. MacBookPro certainly does come with iLife. I like being able to plug my camcorder or camera into the machine and just have it do what I want. It also comes with iTunes, but I love iTunes, so I’m OK with that.

…With a few notable exceptions:
If you aren’t a musician, and you don’t want Garageband, just throwing Garageband in the trash leaves many GB of music clips in /Library/Application Support/Garageband; same with iDVD - it leaves GBs of themes in /Library/Application Support/iDVD.

Ah, I just checked; you’re right. Strange that they would put that there instead of in the application bundle itself. Maybe I’ll zip Apple a message about it; in any case, re-installing from the system disk will give you a completely clean system.

Aside from Garage Band, I think you can also save some hard drive space by disabling support for alternate languages when you install the OS.

Much of the software that comes with a new Mac isn’t pre-installed, either: It’s on disks that come with it, and when you’re setting up the system you can check or uncheck whether you want to install each.

One of my computers did come with a trial version of MS Office, though, that I didn’t even realize was there until years later when I tried to open a .xls without realizing that it wasn’t associated to NeoOffice. So I don’t think you can say that Macs are completely free of bloatware.

I don’t think you could say that they are free of bloatware. I just like the bloatware that they come with. You can decide not to install the stuff you don’t want, but my computer came with everything installed. I bought a refurbished model, so I don’t know if that makes a difference. It’s good to know about Garage Band though. I may try to use it someday, but if my computer ever gets low on memory, that library is first to go.

I have been doing Mac consulting for 25 years. I have **NEVER ONCE ** had a client complain about unwanted software on any Mac.

I think the Mac’s about as free from unwanted software as you are likely to get.

One of the things I always remove from my Mac are drivers for modems and printers that I’ll never use, and in languages I’ll never use. These don’t slow the system down at all, but do take up a chunk of disk space. If I ever need something I removed, I just have to download and install the driver separately, so all I lose is the “plug and play” convenience of standard drivers pre-installed.

My MacBook Pro is a bit more than 2 weeks old and came with iLife pre-installed.

It’s not really strange, it’s the appropriate approach for developing on OS X. You wouldn’t want a 12 GB application bundle, for instance. Aside from the fact that Apple wrote the iLife applications themselves and are presumably done to their standards, your entire ~/Library and /System/Library directories are designed in part to accommodate application support files and preferences.

This is a pretty common move recommended by Apple ‘geniuses’. One of them recommended I install without any support for Asian character sets, figuring most customers couldn’t read it anyway.

IMHO, Macs are completely free of bloatware. You don’t turn them on and find the desktop littered with icons to sign up for AOL, Prodigy, MSN and Yahoo, nor do you find things like 30-day trials of the ultimate bloatware - Norton Antivirus.

I don’t know what the PC user experience with bloatware. My Mac has plenty of stuff on it that I don’t use very often, but I’m always glad it’s there when I want it. I don’t have any complaints about what comes with my MacBook Pro. I’m just saying that if you really strictly define bloatware, then Mac’s come with it. I have no idea what sort of things PC’s come with, so it could be a completely different ball game.

I think my first Mac came with AOL. I don’t really see anything on my new computer that isn’t Mac related though. There are just a few things that many people wont use. A lot of PC users don’t like iTunes. I’m sure they won’t like iPhoto either. I think iMovie is great for a free editing program, but how many people are going to use that? Unless your a musician, Garage Band is pretty useless too. Heck, I’m a musician and I’ve never even tried it. I don’t know what it does.

Bloatware that came on my current machine(6+ years old)
America Online
Lycos Sidesearch
Ameritrade ad
Online banking offer from BofA
MSN Explorer
MusicMatch Jukebox
Wild Tangent games
Steeetwaves music
Rhapsody music
Yahoo! Best of Web
Presario Club
Several internet signup offers
Ads for:
PC Accessories
Home networking
Micromart online store
WordPerfect trial
Office trial
Quicken trial
RealOne player
InterVideo DVD (crippled)
Symantec (short term)
Norton (short term)
Slyder from Compaq
Net-it Now!

That wasn’t a mac, was it?!

Sorry, should have clarified. It’s a Windows PC.

This was in response to WarmNPrickly’s post.

Since you’ve never tried it, why would you say it’s useless?

Garageband is actually really cool. It’s one of those programs that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars a few years ago, and now Apple gives away for free. You can compose your own music, tunes or ringtones using sampled instruments or your own recordings and voiceover. You should try it.

One other key distinction I just thought of -

Yes, Macs come pre-loaded with things like iLife, iTunes and Garage Band. But, they’re not loading on boot and consuming CPU cycles every single day, and, as someone mentioned above, if you don’t want them, you can generally get rid of them very easily by dragging the app to the Trash.

This is only true if you buy it with Mac OS X Server. I have owned 3 Mac Pros and they all came with all the software you’d expect (iLife, GarageBand). MacBook Pro certain has all that stuff too.