Can You Delete the Apps That Come With the iPhone?

Get rid of the apps you don't want

Delete symbol

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The major apps that come pre-installed on every iPhone are pretty good and pretty useful. From Music to Calendar, Camera to Phone and beyond, they're great apps for what most people want to do. But there are more apps that come pre-installed on every iPhone – like Compass, Calculator, Reminders, Tips, and others – that many people never use.

Why keep apps on your phone if you don't use them, right? This is especially true if you're running out of storage space on your phone. In that case, you may have wondered: Can you delete the built-in apps that come with the iPhone?

Deleting Pre-Installed Apps Depends on Your Operating System

Whether you can delete the apps that come pre-installed on your iPhone depends on what version of the iOS you're running.

If you've got iOS 10 or higher on your device, you can delete pre-installed apps. Users with iOS 9 or earlier cannot delete any of the stock apps that Apple pre-loads on the iPhone.

While this is frustrating for iOS 9 users who want total control over their devices, Apple does it to ensure that all users have the same baseline experience and can be solved by a simple OS upgrade.

How to Delete Pre-Installed Apps in iOS 10 and Up

Deleting the built-in apps that come with iOS 10 and up is simple. You delete these apps the same way you delete third-party apps. Just tap and hold the app you want to delete until it starts shaking, then tap the X on the app, and tap Remove

Not all built-in apps can be deleted. The ones you can get rid of are: 

Apple Books Calculator Calendar Compass Contacts
FaceTime Files Find My Friends Home iCloud Drive
iTunes Store Mail Maps Music Measure
News Notes Podcasts Reminders Stocks
Tips Videos Voice Memos Watch Weather

If you change your mind and want an app back, reinstall built-in apps by re-downloading them from the App Store.

Deleting Pre-Loaded Apps on Jailbroken iPhones

Now the good news for iOS 9 users: If you're tech-savvy and a bit daring, it is possible to delete the pre-installed apps on your iPhone.

Apple places controls on what users can do with every iPhone. That's why you can't normally delete these apps on iOS 9 and earlier. A process called jailbreaking removes Apple's controls and lets you do virtually anything you want with your phone – including deleting the built-in apps.

If you want to try this, jailbreak your iPhone and then install one of the apps for jailbroken phones that lets you hide or delete these apps. Soon enough, you'll be free of the apps you don't want.

Unless you're really tech savvy (or are close to someone who is), it's best not to do this. Jailbreaking, and especially deleting these sorts of core iOS files, can go very wrong and damage your iPhone. If that happens, you may be able to recover the phone by restoring it to factory settings. Bu that may not work and you could be left with a non-functioning phone that Apple may refuse to fix. So, you should really weigh the risks here before proceeding.

How to Hide iPhone Apps Using Restrictions

OK, so if iOS 9 users can't delete these apps, what can you do? The first option is to turn them off using the iOS's built-in Restrictions feature. This feature lets you control what apps and services are available on your phone. It's most often used with kids or company-issued phones, but even if that's not your situation, this is your best bet.

Using Restrictions doesn't remove the apps from your phone, it only hides them. So, the apps still take up storage space, but at least you don't have to see them.

To use this option, enable Restrictions. With that done, you can turn off the following apps: 

AirDrop App Store Apple Books Camera CarPlay
FaceTime iTunes Store Mail News Podcasts
Safari Siri Wallet

When the apps are blocked, they'll disappear from the phone as if they've been deleted. In this case, though, you can get them back by disabling Restrictions or changing your settings.

How to Hide Apps in Folders

If you'd rather not enable Restrictions, you can also just hide the apps. To do that:

  1. Create a folder and put all the apps that you want to hide in it
  2. Move the folder to its own home screen page (by dragging the folder to the right edge of the screen until it moves to a new screen), away from all the rest of your apps.

This approach doesn't help if you want to delete the stock apps to save storage space, but it's pretty effective if you just want to declutter.