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Apple may soon give iOS users ability to delete pre-installed apps

September 15, 2015, 6:23 PM UTC
Apple Starts iPhone 6 Sales In Germany
A shopper ltries out the new Apple iPhone 6 at the Apple Store on the first day of sales of the new phone in Germany on September 19, 2014 in Berlin, Germany.
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Someday soon users might finally be able to delete Apple’s pre-installed apps on any iOS device.

Goodbye iBooks. So long, tips. See you later, podcasts. Remind me what Game Center does again? Doesn’t matter, it’ll be one of the first to go.

The news comes out of Buzzfeed interview with Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook shortly before he surprised employees and customers at Apple’s Fifth Avenue retail store in Manhattan.

When asked about the iPhone’s pesky app surplus and why users can’t delete apps they never use, Cook acknowledged the need for a solution, while also pointing out that finding one isn’t as simple as some would think. The crux of the problem is that some apps are linked to other systems within the operating system.

Cook promised, however, that the company was looking at apps that weren’t tied to system functions, stating “we’ll figure out a way [for you to remove them].” He added, ”it’s not that we want to suck up your real estate; we’re not motivated to do that. We want you to be happy. So I recognize that some people want to do this, and it’s something we’re looking at.”

I’d wager any app that’s tied to Siri, such as Stocks or Weather, aren’t removable due to the complexities Cook mentioned. Unless, of course, Apple adds default app settings to its iPhones, which is just one of the features users have requested over the years.

In the past, users have asked for the ability to set third-party apps as default apps, instead of forcing every email address or website link to open in Apple-made Mail or Safari. For example, by setting a default app, users could opt to launch Google’s Chrome browser when tapping on a link instead of Apple’s Safari.

Default apps with deep Siri integration and the ability to remove Apple’s own apps would go a long way in making iOS users happy.

Another added benefit of letting users delete pre-installed apps would be freeing up space on storage-starved devices, such as the still-for-sale 16GB iPhone. Making the case for a device with minimal storage wasn’t easy, but it’d be easier if users were given the ability to free up space by removing Apple apps they never use. Deleting unused apps, after all, is the first step in clearing up space on a device.

Cook didn’t provide any hints on when iOS users would gain the added ability, only saying the company is looking into it.

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