Apple Needs to Allow Hiding or Uninstalling of the Bundled iOS Apps

Thursday, November 20, 2014

There is no doubt that everyone who owns an iOS device has a screen or folder dedicated to housing the bundled Apple Apps that are never used. It has become an ever increasing “problem” with each release of iOS.

For example, I never use the following Apps:

  • Reminders
  • Notes
  • Videos
  • Newsstand
  • Compass
  • Voice Memos
  • Contacts
  • iBooks
  • Tips

Some of those Apps are actually useful to people depending on their workflow, but in several cases third-party iOS Apps provide the exact sort of functionality I am looking for.

I use Simplenote in place of Reminders and Notes. If I’m not watching a YouTube video, I’m not watching a video on my phone. Newsstand has never interested me. I probably open Compass a few times a year (typically on an airplane). I take text notes instead of audio notes. I access my contacts through the Phone App or Spotlight. I use Kindle instead of iBooks.

And then there’s the Tips App. It was thrust upon everyone with iOS 8. It is a great App for new comers but even new comers eventually become familiar enough with iOS to not need it. Now there is talk about a Beats Music App being bundled with iOS. If this is going to continue, Apple needs to provide a mechanism to hide these Apps or simply allow us to uninstall them. If there are some sort of inter-app dependencies and the iOS Apps cannot be uninstalled, it would be trivial for Apple to create a new pane in Settings to show or hide the stock iOS Apps.

How does this situation compare to OS X?

OS X contains a handful of applications that I never use but that extra “bloat” is less of a “problem” because the Dock, not Finder or Launchpad, is the primary method for displaying and opening your most used applications. The Dock can be customized, almost, to your heart’s desire. Contrast that with iOS where the Home Screen is your only option to display and open your Apps.

This is of course arguable, but I see the following as the core iOS Apps:

  • Phone
  • Messages
  • Safari
  • Mail
  • Music
  • Clock
  • Calculator
  • Photos
  • Camera
  • Maps
  • Calendar
  • App Store
  • iTunes Store
  • Passbook
  • FaceTime
  • Settings

The best solution would be to ship iOS with only those Apps and allow any other Apple Apps to be downloaded from the App Store. Simply make an Apple category and put everything there.

Update 2015-09-15: At least Apple is aware of this issue.



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