At last! iOS 10 will let you delete built-in Apple apps


I spent two hours straight blogging about everything Apple was going change with the launch of it's new software, and yet it hid the best bit of iOS 10.

You can finally uninstall the Stocks app on the iPhone. I'll just let that sink in. At last. We're free from its tyranny, sitting there upon its throne, not caring if it was stuck away in some folder because IT KNEW that you were unable to get rid of it.

When notifications came to iOS, there it was again. Showing you information on financial things you have no idea about, a bunch of cascading lines that offer something to do with money but you're just here to play Candy Crush.

Maybe Apple is being kept prisoner by Stocks, and this move is its last desperate attempt to free itself from the chains of this previously impervious app, having to dribble the news out on a support page in iOS 10.

Of course this move is bigger than just the removal of stocks: you can drop all the pre-installed Apple apps on your iPhone, taking back the space you paid for but were unable to access. Never listen to Podcasts? Cast it out. Not much of a math fan? Calculate the optimum time to delete Calculator. Perfectly able to work out where you are? Jettison the Compass and Apple Maps without a look back.

You can delete reams of these apps, freeing up so much space. While you'll lose all your user data (which is hardly unexpected) you'll still be able to get them back if you accidentally get rid of Notes and feel the need to sketch some rude pics using the Apple Pencil on your iPad - they'll be instantly added to your suite of apps that offer the little 'cloud with an arrow underneath' icon.

Obviously there's a few built in bits and pieces that you can't get rid of: Camera, Phone and Messages all remain due to their importance on the core functionality of the phone. Although that still feels a bit unfair - surely as long as you can prove you've got one messaging app or camera choice on there, you should be able to get rid of the old ones?

Then again, if you don't have the Messages app that could cause a lot of issues when people try to send you a missive, so rather than deal with that it makes sense for Apple to have mandated you must always have a portal for messages coming over the airwaves.

iOS 10 updates

There's still one weird interloper though: Game Center, one of the least-used apps in my life, gets a stay of execution. While I know it's the central point for a lot of apps, it doesn't seem to be something that's so core you'd need to keep it around.

Perhaps it's part of the process of installing some games, and ripping it out would cause them to fall apart. Or maybe the developer of it has pictures of key Apple personnel in compromising positions.

I've still got a few questions though: if I get rid of Mail, will Gmail become my default app? Why can I not get rid of Safari but Music, iTunes Store and Contacts are fair game? And by making these their own apps, will they be pushed differently on the App Store and updated more often?

It's important to note that some things won't work when you uninstall some apps: delete the Watch app when you're still paired to a timepiece (why you'd want to do that is unclear) will tell you remove the connection first. If you don't have Podcasts, you can't listen to podcasts on CarPlay (surprise). If you remove the Weather app, none of the places in the iPhone that showed the weather (like the notifications bar) won't be able to do so either.

But that's it. Those tiny issues are the only places that you'll need to worry about, and it's worth it to have the thought of a phone so uncluttered that it only has six or seven apps on the home screen, with no folders in sight. A clean utopia where you no longer feel the itch that you should be thinking about a financial portfolio, simply to justify the existence of the Stocks app in your life.

It's here people. We're free.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.