Can I Get Rid of Default iPhone Apps?

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on November 3, 2016, App Guides

With so many apps available in the App store, it can be tough deciding which to download. But once you have made your decisions, you might start to find that home screen real estate is starting to run out. Of course, you want your top apps on your front page, but getting things set up the way you want can be difficult. This is especially true when you consider the space taken up by all of Apple’s default apps. One solution to this problem is to get rid of those default apps, but that might not be as easy as you think. We’re taking a look at how you can free up some home screen space on your iPhone, but be prepared to work for it…

What are Default Apps?

Most phones these days come with default apps, and iPhones are no exception. These are apps that are preloaded onto your phone, and in most cases can’t be deleted. With an iPhone these apps range from the stocks app to news, tips and other things. If you actually use these apps, they’re no bother. The problem is that many of us don’t. Let’s be honest, there are few people that actually need the default Apple stocks app. Try to remove those apps though, and you’ll find that you don’t have the permissions to do so.

The Easy Way…

We’re going to be completely honest with you here, and tell you that whilst those default apps can be removed, the process is not an easy one, and might be beyond the tech capabilities of some people. For that reason, we’re giving you an easy, though maybe not a perfect, solution first. By far the easiest thing to do is to set up a folder on your home screen and then drag all your unused default apps into that folder. That way all those apps will only be taking up the minimum of screen space, and then you can go about your day. Like we said, that’s not a perfect solution, so if you really, truly want to get rid of them, we’ll tell you how to do that too…

Before You Start…

Before you get started wiping those apps there are a couple of things that you need to know. The first of these is that you will need a Mac to do this, it’s simply not possible on a Windows or Linus PC, so you’ll want to borrow one if you don’t already have one. Second, these process is going to wipe your phone. If you’ve just got a new iPhone out of the box, that shouldn’t be a problem (and we really recommend doing this only on new phones, since it’s simpler, but the choice is yours). If you have already been using your phone you’ll need to ensure that you have a full backup of all your data on the cloud before you begin. Ready? Let’s get started then…

Setting Up Your Profile

This is really a two step process and the first part involves setting up a configuration profile (and that’s not as tough as it sounds, promise). Using your Mac (not your phone), go into the App store and find and download an app called “Apple Configurator,” which is an official app and is also free. Open up your download when it’s done, click on “file” then “new profile,” then under the box labelled “name” choose a name for the profile you’re about to set up. Any name is fine, and you don’t need to mess with any other settings or headings you get (unless you really want to).

Now look on the left hand task bar and click “General” then “Restrictions” then “Configure.” On the right you should see a tab that says “Apps” so click on that. Towards the bottom of the page you should see a place where it says “Restrict App Usage (supervised only),” so pull down the drop down box and choose “Do Not Allow Some Apps,” then click on the “+” button to get a text box. In that box you can type the name of any app you want to hide away (so, for example, type in Tips or Stock). Click on the name of the app you want to hide when it appears on the list, highlighting it, then click “Choose.” Repeat this as many times as you need until you have all the apps you don’t want to see chosen, then go to “File” and “Save” so that the profile you’ve configured is all saved. Now you’re ready to move on to the next step…

Installing the Profile

We’re going to repeat that warning again: this is going to wipe your phone so please ensure that you have a back up saved! You’ll also need to disable the “Find My iPhone” setting before you begin. You can find this under “Settings” then “iCloud” on your phone, simply toggle the switch to off. Once you’ve done all this, plug your iPhone into your Mac and launch your Apple Configurator app.

Now it’s just a question of hitting the right buttons. Double click on your phone when it appears on the first screen of the app, then hit the button at the top that says “Prepare.” You’ll start a process of pop up boxes, simply agree to everything, with two exceptions: make sure you choose “Manual Configuration” when asked, and ensure you choose “Do Not Enroll in MDM” when asked. When you reach the screen that’s titled “Supervise Devices” check the box that says “Supervise Devices” and check the box that says “Allow Devices to Pair with Other Computers.” Keep following the screens, just going with the default options, and eventually the app will start preparing your phone.

When the preparing process has finished you’ll be sent back to the app’s home screen, you’ll need to double click on your phone when it appears on the home screen, then select “Profiles” on the left hand side, click on “Add” and then click on the profile name you chose earlier. And… you’re done. Install the back up you made of your data, go into your phone (ignore any messages that appear on your lock screen about supervising, you shouldn’t see them more than once), and all those apps should be hidden. Phew.

Okay, that was a long description, but in actuality the process itself doesn’t take that long, maybe a half hour. Whether or not it’s worth going through all that just to get rid of some annoying default apps is up to you, but at least you’ll have plenty of space on your home screen when you’re done. Oh, and don’t forget to re-enable “Find My iPhone” when you switch your phone back on, just in case!

Photo via VisualHunt.com