Installing apps and removing them is second nature. It is one of the most fundamental things you learn on a computer. With iOS, there is an entirely different process.
Installing apps is the easy part: go to the App Store and download. Everything else might not always be intuitive for new iOS users. With Apple pushing the iPad as the only computer for some people, it’s worth looking at how to manage your apps on iOS.
Delete iPhone and iPad Apps the Easy Way
Assuming you don’t have a device with 3D touch, this is the easiest way to remove an app from your iOS device: press and hold until you see the icons share and tap the x. In the dialog that appears, tap Delete.
Long presses on 3D Touch iPhones isn’t the worst, but it does take some getting used to. It can get frustrating if you accidentally trigger 3D Touch in the middle of trying to do a long press.
After a few seconds, the app and its data are removed from your device. Anything the app has saved to iCloud Drive is still there in the App’s folder, accessible via the Files app if you need to grab something. Anything not saved elsewhere will be removed along with the app: photos, documents, game saves, the lot.
Deleting Apps via Settings
Removing apps via Settings is not as quick as the Home Screen, but it is easy and gives you a good idea of how much space each app is currently using.
If you want to find apps that are hogging space or those you just haven’t used in awhile, open Settings then tap General. Next, tap iPhone/iPad Storage to see all your apps along with the space they are currently taking up on your phone.
Scroll down beneath the Offload Unused Apps and Review Large Attachments sections. Under each app’s name, you’ll see the date you last used it. Next, to that, you’ll see how much space the app is using. Tap on the app to get more info. You’ll see the size of the App as well as the amount of storage its documents are using.
If you want to remove it, tap Delete App. In the dialog that warns deleting the app removes all documents and data tap Delete App a second time. You’ll return to the app screen a moment while the app erases.
What About Offloading Apps?
It is always wise to clean up apps that you are not using anymore. But what about those apps you only use once in a while? For those, Apple has introduced offloading. When you offload an app iOS removes the app, but leaves the data behind.
The icon stays on your Home Screen with a little download icon next to it. When you tap the app’s icon, you have to wait a few seconds or so for the app to redownload. Larger apps only redownload on Wi-Fi. This means you can keep your important data, like documents or artwork, while freeing up space used by the app itself.
To offload an app open Settings then tap General then tap iPhone/iPad Storage. Find the app you want to offload. Tap on the name, then tap the Offload App button. In the dialog that pops up tap Offload App again, and after a few moments, the app is gone, but your files remain.
Automatically Offload Apps
If you are perpetually short on space on your device, you can set iOS to automatically offload apps. It activates when you’re short on space, and starts with apps you haven’t used in some time. This method is similar to the way that the Apple TV handles its limited space.
If you’re still rocking a 16GB iPhone, this saves you from an eternity of storage micromanagement.
To enable the feature open Settings then tap General and then go back to iPhone/iPad Storage. After it loads, tap Enable next to Offload Unused Apps. A green check mark appears where Enable was, and now you’re all set.
You cannot disable the setting in the same menu. In fact, when you return to this area of Settings, it doesn’t even appear. This is because the setting is actually a part of your App Store preferences. To disable App Offloading, head to Settings > iTunes and App Store. Scroll down to the bottom and tap the switch next to Offload Unused Apps. You can re-enable it from the same screen.
What Happened to iTunes?
The latest version of iTunes removed support for iOS apps. You may still have a library of apps living on your hard drive. Even if you connect your device to your Mac, there isn’t an option for apps under the device in iTunes.
If you have an app that’s no longer in App Store you want to install it, you can use an older version of iTunes. Apple posted it for enterprise users, but you do not need a special account to use it.
There is a downside to reverting your iTunes version. From this point, you won’t get the automatic updates via the Mac App Store. Instead, you’ll need to go to the Apple site and download the latest version for Mac manually. If you’re going to make this choice, you might end up with a vulnerable version of iTunes without any notice.
Consider setting yourself a Google Alert for iTunes Vulnerability if you intend on using this version. Hopefully, Apple creates a new tool for IT departments to manage iOS devices. Restricting users to an old version is not a great solution.
Deleting and Offloading iOS Apps Without Your Mac
It is clear that Apple is trying to send the message that you won’t need your Mac to manage your iPhone or iPad. Considering the widespread consternation over iTunes, managing one less thing was wise. Settings is the best way to manage your Apps. The new Offloading method lets you “keep” apps on your phone albeit not entirely.
The ability to offload apps is already making room on my phone for more pictures of my cats, so I’m really happy Apple added this to iOS 11.
Are you interested in offloading apps to save space? How many cat pictures can you now store? Let us know in the comments below.