Apple to allow iPhone, iPad users to remove iTunes Store, other apps

SAN FRANCISCO — Good news, iPhone and iPad users: You may soon be able to remove some of the crapware Apple ships with those devices.

At least in its test version, the new iteration of iOS, the software underlying Apple’s handheld gadgets, allows users to remove many of its preinstalled apps. Among the apps that users can delete: the iTunes store, the Music app and the Watch app that’s used to pair an iPhone with Apple Watch.

Apple officials unveiled iOS 10 during the opening presentation of the company’s annual developer conference here, but they didn’t mention the app-removal feature. Instead, the feature was discovered within the “support” section of Apple’s website.

“If you update to iOS 10 beta, you can remove some built-in apps from the home screen on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch,” the company said on its support site.

Apple has stood firm against the kind of crapware apps that typically ship with Android phones. Those devices often include apps demanded by particular carriers or ones that come as the result of marketing deals. But Apple has made an exception for its own apps, including an increasing number of them with iOS.

The growing number of apps that Apple includes with iPhones and iPads has drawn the ire of many users. Because Apple doesn’t give users the option of whether to install them, many apps are of limited use and users can’t do much with them except hide them away in a folder. Company CEO Tim Cook had previously indicated that Apple was working on a way to let users hide or remove them.

Apple warns that removing certain apps may affect particular features on iOS devices. If users remove the Stocks app, for example, they won’t be able to see stock information from it in the notification center of their phones. If they remove the Music or Podcast apps, they won’t be able to use either app with the CarPlay feature that makes it easier to use an iPhone in a car.

When users delete one of the preinstalled apps, they also will remove any of their data associated with those apps. One exception to that rule is with the Contacts app. Apple will retain contact information inside the Phone app.

If users later wish to reinstall any of the default apps, they can download them from the App Store.

Users won’t be able to remove all apps. Among those that can’t be deleted: the Phone, Messages and Photos apps and the Safari Web browser.

Although Apple is now allowing users to get rid of apps, it isn’t yet allowing users to set new apps as the defaults for particular functions. So, you can’t designate Gmail or Outlook as your default email program instead of Apple Mail.

Apple will release a final version of iOS 10 this fall as a free download. As part of the update, Apple is also overhauling its Messages app and opening up Siri and its Maps app to developers.

In addition to iOS 10, Apple at its event Monday unveiled new versions of the operating systems underlying Apple Watch, Apple TV and its Mac computers.

Photo: The stage at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium before the kickoff presentation for Apple’s annual developer conference on Monday, June 13, 2016. (Troy Wolverton/Mercury News)


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  • DaveN

    So if you delete the App Store how do you get it back and how do you load other apps?

    • Matthew H

      Not all of the apps can be deleted. One example is the App Store, another is Settings.