Windows 11 installed TikTok automatically! Why?

Some people have found that Windows 11 installed TikTok automatically. They did not ask for it and they do not want it. Why is this happening and what can you do to stop it? Let’s take a look.

Imagine you are using your computer, or maybe not even using it at all and it is idle, and a notification is displayed saying that TikTok has just been installed. Perhaps you booted up your computer this morning and TikTok was there on the Start menu, or you recently updated Windows. What is going on? Is Microsoft force-installing this social media app?

I have not experienced this myself, so I cannot say for sure exactly what is happening, but there are some obvious possibilities that are worth mentioning. Maybe one applies in your situation if it has happened to you. If TikTok has suddenly and mysteriously appeared on the Windows 11 Start menu, here are some suggestions.

Is TikTok really installed?

Is the TikTok app really installed or is it just an icon on the Start menu? Stop panicking. There is no TikTok app for windows. It might look like an app is installed, but really there isn’t.

TikTok in Windows is a web app.
TikTok in Windows is a web app, not an application

What is installed is simply an icon and shortcut, which is basically a type of web browser bookmark. Click it and it opens a web browser window, but with all the usual web browser components hidden so that it looks like an app. There is no address box, no toolbar, no bookmarks, no favorites and so on.

This makes it look like an app, but really you are just visiting the website in a bare bones browser window. It is a web app, which is a website that is designed to look and work like an app. This means that it is not using disk space, not running in the background, using memory, spying on you and so on. Well, no more than any other social media website you visit in a web browser.

Uninstall an app in Windows 11 Settings.
Uninstall TikTok in Windows 11 Settings

How to remove TikTik from your PC:

  1. Press Windows+I to open the Settings app.
  2. Click Apps on the left and then Installed apps on the right.
  3. Scroll down to TikTok and click the three dots for a menu.
  4. Click Uninstall.

You can see that the app on my PC is using just 896 KB, which is almost nothing. On the menu is an Uninstall option if you want to remove it, but the space recovered is insignificant because it is just a shortcut to the website. It’s like deleting a browser bookmark.

Why does TikTok install in Windows?

There are several possible reasons why TikTok installs and one is that when Windows is installed or updated, it can suggest popular apps you might like. These appear on the Start menu. Open is and you might see icons there for various apps. They are not installed applications, they are shortcuts to make it easier for you to go and get them if you want them. Clicking a suggested app icon can lead to the full application being installed.

Open Settings > Personalization > Start and you can see three options at the top, plus a switch lower down to Show recommendations for tips, shortcuts, apps and more.

Windows Start options in the Settings app.
Configure Windows Start options

The Show recommendations… option might show TikTok and other icons in the Start menu after an update. Turn it off if you prefer not to see them.

However, remember that there is no TikTok Windows app. Even if you see it in the Start menu, it is just an icon and shortcut to the website. Right click it and uninstall it from the Start menu if you don’t want it.

If you bought a new computer with Windows preinstalled, the manufacturer might add extra apps to the installation. In this case, the software might actually be installed, although in the case of TikTok, it’s just a shortcut that is taking up almost no disk space.

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