While Apple is regularly adding new features to iOS, there are a few long-requested features that still aren’t there. One of them is the ability to hide or delete Apple’s stock iOS apps, but it looks like Apple may soon cross that off the list of user-requested features, too.
A report from AppAdvice claims to have found code that reads “isFirstParty” and “isFirstPartyHideableApp” in iTunes metadata. These are boolean values that can be changed from true to false, and so the fact that the values can be changed on a per-app basis suggests that only some apps will be hideable.
Apple hasn’t given a comment on today’s report, and it’s unlikely to. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook said last year that his company was “looking at” allowing users to delete preinstalled iOS apps. Doing so is difficult because some apps are tied deeply to another part of the iPhone, Cook explained, but he went on to say that Apple will “figure out a way [for you to remove them].”
Right now you can hide unwanted Apple apps in a folder so that they’ll only take up one spot on your screen instead of several, but some folks would prefer to get them off of all of their device’s screens completely. Deleting certain preinstalled apps could cause some wonkiness, and Apple may not want to enable deletion of stock apps so that it can avoid anyone accidentally deleting apps from their phone. Hiding apps seems like a good middle ground, letting advanced users hide unwanted apps while ensuring that if a person accidentally hides an app, it’ll still actually be on the iOS device.
Exactly when the ability to hide Apple iOS apps will arrive — if it does at all — is unknown, but we could learn more at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Stay tuned.