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How to delete apps on iPhone

Like all technology, mobile applications can become obsolete. Whether a company gives up on them, rendering them useless, or you're simply over them and looking to free up storage space, here's how you can delete apps from your iPhone.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
How to delete apps on iPhone
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

There are many reasons one would want to delete an app from their phone. I like to periodically clean up my app library and get rid of the apps I haven't used in a while and don't anticipate using anytime soon. It keeps my phone visually organized and keeps me from having to scroll through dozens of apps. 

Deleting apps from your iPhone is also a great way to free up space and keep your phone running smoothly. 

How to delete apps on iPhone

Step 1: Press and hold the app you want to delete

Press and hold app to delete
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

On your iPhone's home screen or your app library, press and hold the app you want to delete until a menu comes up. The app library is the list of all your apps accessible when you swipe left on your home screen.

When you press and hold an app on the home screen, this menu appears with options

When you press and hold an app on the home screen, this menu appears with options

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

Step 2: Select Delete App or Remove App

Delete app
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

If you're on your home screen, select Remove App from the menu that appears. iPhone will then give you the option to either delete the app altogether or just remove it from your home screen while keeping it in your app library.

If you're trying to delete an app from your app library, you'll just be asked to confirm if you want to delete it. 

Step 3: Confirm delete

Confirm to delete app
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

On the popup that appears, select Delete App in red to confirm deleting the app from your phone. 

When you delete an app, you can download it again in the future and sign back in, but any information that is not connected to your login account is also deleted. So if you're not logged into an account on an app, like on a game for example, you will lose all progress.

Also read: How to clear the cache on your iPhone (and why you should)

What is the iPhone App Library?

iPhone app library
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

The App Library on your iPhone is where all your apps live. It's the list of all the apps currently installed on your iPhone. You can access your app library by swiping left on your home screen and you can use the search bar at the top to quickly search through apps.

Can I delete an app without losing the information from it?

Offload unused apps
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

There is a way to delete the apps you don't use often without losing the data associated with them. You can do this by offloading, which is basically uninstalling an app to free up storage space on your iPhone, without deleting the data and information from it. To offload an app, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Go to General
  3. Select iPhone Storage
  4. Choose the app to offload
  5. Tap on Offload App

You can also have your iPhone automatically offload unused apps when it's running low on storage space.

Why do my deleted apps keep reappearing?

Deleted apps still appear associated with Apple ID
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

Sometimes you delete apps on your iPhone just to see them show up again on your screen a few days later, like some kind of nightmare. If this is happening to you, you probably need to check that your App Store doesn't have automatic downloads turned on, here's how:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Choose App Store
  3. Tap the Automatic Downloads toggle to turn it off

How can I delete apps on my App Store?

Hide apps in App Store
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

If you've ever deleted an app from your iPhone, you may have seen it in your account's list of Purchased apps in the App Store. All the apps you've ever downloaded with your Apple ID will appear here, the deleted ones show a cloud icon next to them since they're not on your device anymore. 

How can you remove these old apps from your Apple account? Simply swipe left on them and a Hide option appears, tap on that and it'll be removed from your account and, though it won't remove the app from your purchase history entirely, at least it won't re-download in five years when you sync your iPhone.

Will deleting apps on my iPhone remove them from iCloud?

Deleting your apps on your iPhone won't remove any backed up data in your iCloud. If you want to remove the data and app information from your iCloud backup, you'll need to access iCloud settings. 

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap on your name to access Apple ID and iCloud settings
  3. Go to iCloud
  4. Select Manage Storage
  5. Tap on Backups
  6. Choose the iPhone you deleted the app from
  7. Find the app on the list (select Show All Apps if needed)
  8. Toggle the app off

Why can't I delete apps on my iPhone?

If you're trying to delete an app and your iPhone won't let you, you may have a restriction on what you can do with iTunes and App Store purchases. To fix this, go to:

  1. Settings
  2. Select Screen Time
  3. Tap on Content & Privacy Restrictions
  4. Choose iTunes and App Store Purchases
  5. Check to see what permissions you have for installing and deleting apps and in-app purchases. Make sure Deleting Apps is set to Allow.

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