We may have more iPhone storage than we used to — with new devices boasting at least 64GB of storage — but with more apps, more data, and bigger files than ever before, you may quickly find yourself with a phone packed full of apps you no longer need and are looking to get rid of. So, whether you have a 256GB iPhone or even a 16GB one (we’re so sorry if you do), we’ll show you how to get rid of those unwanted apps and clear up some space.
Delete a particular app you don’t like
This method is best for those who are casually perusing their iPhone and manage to swipe deep into strange and ancient lands filled with apps you’d forgotten were ever downloaded. If you’ve ever come across an app and thought, “Why do I still have this?,” this is how to get rid of it before you’re even finished that thought.
Step 1: Tap and hold the icon of the app you want to get rid of on your Home Screen. Hold your thumb or finger directly on the icon for about two seconds, until it animates and begins to shake. Newer iPhones (iPhone 6s and onward) may respond differently to this gesture than you might expect. The new touchscreens support 3D Touch, which means they can tell the difference between you pressing hard on the icon, and pressing very lightly on it. If you press down too hard you’ll open up the Quick Actions menu for the app instead, which can be frustrating when it happens for the fifth time in a row. Remember to lay your thumb or finger gently on the icon and wait for it to start jiggling.
Step 2: Wiggling apps will show a small “X” mark in the upper left corner of the icon. Tap that “X” to delete the app. Depending on the size of your phone, the “X” can be pretty small, so this may require some delicate tapping work. When you hit the “X,” you’ll be reminded that deleting the app will also remove its data. Tap Delete, and it will vanish. This will also typically get rid of any information the app holds, unless it’s backed up online. Please note that this will not cancel any subscription or accounts you may have through an app (your HBO subscription will still be active without the app, for example).
These steps still not working for you? Head over to the Settings icon (the box of gears), tap General and swipe down until you find Restrictions. Here you’ll see an option titled Deleting Apps. Make sure this capability is turned on — that the slider is green. Now you should be able to go back to your home screen, highlight an app, and have the option to delete it.
Go through your old apps and delete them all
Want to delete apps more quickly than just one at a time? There’s a way to do that, too!
Step 1: Head over to Settings and look for the General section up toward the top of the list, and select it.
Step 2: In General, look for iPhone Storage. The names used for these settings change slightly in different versions of iOS, but they should still be easy to find under Usage or Storage & Backup or a similar name. If you still can’t find it, you may want to update your phone. It’s always a good idea to have the latest version of iOS anyway.
Step 3: This will bring up a list of all the apps you currently have downloaded. Selecting an app will take you to a screen that shows how much data the app uses, and gives you a very clear option to Delete App or Offload App. Choosing Offload App, will delete the app but keep its documents and data. The icon will also remain on your home screen with a small icon next to the name indicating that it needs to re-downloaded to be accessed. Choose Delete App, then confirm. This allows you to quickly go through a list of your apps rather than explore them icon by icon, making mass deletion much easier, especially when you can see exactly how much data an app uses.
How to hide Apple’s built-in apps
Some iOS apps — known as built-in apps — are included on your iPhone from the beginning and tie into core services, like Contacts, Mail, FaceTime, and many more.
You cannot permanently delete those apps, but you can hide them. Hold down on the icon until it shakes, and then press the “X.” This will remove the app just like it will with all others, but the data and the capabilities of the app will remain on your iPhone (removing Contacts won’t destroy all your contacts, etc.). You can always re-download these apps via the App Store if you want.
Do you find yourself deleting a lot of apps because you didn’t like them? Here are 100 of the best apps for iPhone, so you can find some good alternatives.