Monday, June 13, 2016

With iOS 10, you can delete the pre-installed Apple apps you never use

Starting with iOS 10, Apple will be giving iPhone and iPad owners more control over the software that's installed on iOS devices. For the first time ever, you'll be able to delete the company's built-in apps (Maps, Calculator, Music, Videos, etc.) and download them again later. All of the major iOS apps are now visible within the App Store, and they've each got fleshed out descriptions and screenshots.

And users who've downloaded today's developer beta are confirming the change. Certain apps like Messages, Photos, and Camera cannot be deleted, presumably because they're tied too deeply to the system to be uninstalled.

Tim Cook said last September that Apple was "looking at" cutting down on the amount of software that ships on iOS, or at least giving users more flexibility in hiding them away from the home screen. If you're like me, you've got a bunch of apps sitting in a rarely-opened junk folder somewhere. "This is a more complex issue than it first appears," Cook said in last year's interview with BuzzFeed News. "There are some apps that are linked to something else on the iPhone. If they were to be removed they might cause issues elsewhere on the phone. There are other apps that aren’t like that. So over time, I think with the ones that aren’t like that, we’ll figure out a way."

Unbundling everything from Music to the Tips app from iOS itself is also necessary if Apple wants to bring new features to its software in any speedy fashion. Google has already done it with Google Play Services, and Microsoft too delivers per-app updates to the pre-installed software that comes with Windows 10. You could argue that even mid-year updates like the recent iOS 9.3 don't come fast enough. Fixing perceived problems with Apple Music or bugs in other apps gets much easier when they're all right in the App Store.

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