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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > Report: ability to hide stock apps in iOS coming soon

Report: ability to hide stock apps in iOS coming soon
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MacNN Staff
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Apr 6, 2016, 03:15 PM
While Apple is renowned for putting less "bloatware" on its devices than most, it does -- like other device makers -- have a tendency to make its own included apps unremovable, even if the app in question would be little-used by a majority of users. This has been a source of complaints over the years, as users who do not invest have no use for the "Stocks" app, and the "Tips" app quickly turns useless with time, as two examples. New code in the latest betas, however, suggests that Apple may be planning to allow users to hide, albeit still not delete, those apps from view.

Currently, many users banish the few "useless" Apple apps that cannot be removed to a folder on a distant page: the new solution would effectively replicate that trick, but also make the apps invisible -- they continue, however, to take up a small amount of space on the limited storage of iOS devices. All third-party and most optional Apple apps can be removed from iOS devices in the usual manner, but certain apps that tie into system functions -- such as Maps -- cannot be removed.

Developers are now reporting that some internal App Store JSON data suggests that some "stock" apps will be hideable, and possibly even removable (though could be re-downloaded if that were the case). Most apps would likely remain unremovable to avoid catastrophic user error (such as accidentally removing the Phone app), but some apps would likely be easily hideable, such as (for example) Tips or Compass. Apple CEO Tim Cook had said the company was looking into the option, in response to user complaints.

The key in question is an API element that has turned up called "isFirstPartyHideableApp," which could also allow Apple to make some "stock" apps less dependent on system releases to gain new features. For example, if the Stock app were separated from the OS, the company could update it with new features or security enhancements without having to wait until the next iOS update. Outside of some custom home screens creatable in Apple Configurator for enterprise clients, there has never been a way to hide or delete unwanted "stock" apps on iOS devices.
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Apr 6, 2016, 03:44 PM
That would be a welcome feature...
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Join Date: Jul 2006
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Apr 6, 2016, 08:01 PM
As the article notes, hiding isn't enough. Unneeded apps need to be totally removable. That's particularly true for the base iPhone SE. With only 16GB of memory, users need every bit of storage they can get.
Author of Untangling Tolkien and Chesterton on War and Peace
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Apr 6, 2016, 10:33 PM
Inking, you need every bit of storage you can get. Not everyone is you. In fact, very few people are you.

16GB works (and has worked) well for a great many people. More is better, but 16GB is very, very doable. If you need help managing 16GB, just ask -- I'd be glad to show you how.
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