Can You Delete the Apps That Come With the iPhone?

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 on every iPhone – such as Compass, Calculator, Reminders, Tips, and others – that many people never use.

Given that people don't use these apps, and especially if you're running out of storage space on your phone, you may have wondered: Can you delete the built-in apps that come with the iPhone?

It Depends on Your Operating System Version

At the highest level, there's a very simple answer to this question. That answer is: It depends.

Users running iOS 10 or higher on their devices can delete pre-installed apps, while 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 seek 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.

Deleting 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 would 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

You can reinstall built-in apps that you've deleted by 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 stock apps on your iPhone.

Apple places some 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.

CAUTION: 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, but you may not 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.

In this case, you need to 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. Because the apps are only ever hidden, this won't free up any storage space on your phone.

How to Hide Apps in Folders

Let's say you'd rather not enable Restrictions. In that case, you can also simply 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.