With over 2 million apps available on the App Store, it’s easy for your iPhone to become cluttered with unused and forgotten apps over time. Removing apps you no longer need can free up valuable storage space and declutter your home screen.
- Unused apps take up storage space and create clutter on your iPhone. Deleting them can optimize storage and simplify your home screen.
- Finding unused apps is easy using built-in iOS features like the App Library, search, and Siri App Suggestions. Sorting by size and last used date also helps.
- Permanently deleting apps frees up the most storage space. Offloading removes the app but keeps documents and data.
- Subscriptions and associated accounts should be deactivated before deleting apps to avoid surprise charges.
- Back up your iPhone to iCloud or iTunes before deleting apps as a precaution.
How to Locate and Identify Unused iPhone Apps
The first step in decluttering your iPhone is actually locating forgotten and unused apps among the sea of icons. Here are some of the easiest ways to find them:
Use the App Library
The App Library automatically organizes all your apps into categories. Apps you haven’t opened in a while get grouped under “Suggestions” at the top. Scroll through this category to uncover apps you haven’t used recently.
Search for Apps
Use the iPhone search bar to manually look up apps. Those you forget about or rarely open likely won’t come to mind. Searching jogs your memory.
Review Siri App Suggestions
Siri App Suggestions on your home screen surfaces apps Siri predicts you’ll use based on time of day and location. If Siri hasn’t suggested an app recently, you likely don’t use it.
Sort Apps by Last Used
In Settings > General > iPhone Storage, you can sort apps by last used date. This reveals your most infrequently opened apps for easy deletion.
Look for Large Apps
Also in iPhone storage settings, sorting apps by size identifies bulky apps you may no longer need. Delete them to free up the most space.
Screen Time Insights
Under Settings > Screen Time, the App Usage section shows daily average time spent in apps. Low usage apps are prime removal candidates.
Permanently Delete vs. Offload Unused iPhone Apps
Once you’ve identified apps to remove, you have two options:
Permanently Delete Apps
Deleting an app completely removes it from your iPhone. This gives you the maximum storage space savings and completely declutters your home screen.
To permanently delete apps:
- Tap and hold any app icon until they start to wiggle
- Tap the X icon on any apps you wish to delete
- Tap Delete when prompted
Offloading removes the app itself from your iPhone, but preserves documents and data associated with the app. Offloaded apps appear as a download icon in your purchased apps list.
To offload apps:
- Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage
- Tap on the app you want to offload
- Tap Offload App and confirm
Offloading saves less storage space than deleting. But it lets you easily reinstall the app and associated data later if needed.
Deactivate App Subscriptions and Accounts
If you subscribe to services through apps, cancel the subscriptions before deleting apps. Otherwise, you could get billed without realizing it.
To cancel subscriptions:
- Go to Settings > [Your Name] > Subscriptions and tap on the subscription to cancel
- You can also visit account settings within the app to cancel
Also sign out of any accounts connected to the apps you’re deleting. Otherwise, your account could remain open and accrue charges.
Back Up Your iPhone Before Deleting Apps
As a precaution, back up your iPhone to iCloud or iTunes before mass deleting or offloading apps. This saves your data and settings in case you change your mind later.
To back up your iPhone:
- Enable iCloud backups in Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup
- Or, plug your iPhone into iTunes on a computer and create a backup in the Summary tab
Backups give you a safety net as you declutter your iPhone apps.
Avoid Reinstalling Apps You Don’t Need
A common pitfall that undoes all your decluttering progress is re-downloading apps on a whim that you just deleted. Avoid the temptation to reinstall apps you don’t have a specific use for.
Think carefully when considering reinstalling an app you previously removed. Set a rule like waiting 24-48 hours before re-downloading to give yourself time to consider if you really need that app.
Alternative Ways to Declutter Your iPhone Apps
In addition to deleting and offloading, a few other tricks help streamline your iPhone app home screen:
- Use App Library and hide home screen pages you barely visit
- Group apps together in folders by category or function
- Only display your most-used apps on the first home screen page
- Rearrange apps by frequency of use with most common ones on the bottom row
Taking the time to periodically clear out and organize your iPhone apps keeps your home screen tidy and optimized for your usage needs. Avoid digital hoarding by letting go of the apps you simply don’t use.
FAQs About Deleting iPhone Apps
Can I recover a deleted app?
Yes, you can recover deleted apps if they’re still in your App Store purchase history. Go to the App Store > Tap your profile icon > Purchased > My Purchases and search for the deleted app to redownload it.
What happens when I delete an app?
Deleting an app removes the software and all associated data from your iPhone permanently. The app will disappear from your home screen.
Is it safe to delete iPhone apps?
Deleting most apps is perfectly safe and won’t negatively impact your iPhone. The only risk is accidentally deleting an important app that stores data you need. Be sure to back up your iPhone before deleting apps just in case.
How much storage space do I gain when deleting apps?
It depends on the app size, but most take up anywhere from 100MB to over 1GB. Deleting larger apps saves you the most iPhone storage space. Offloading instead of deleting apps saves less space.
Can I still use an app I offloaded?
No, offloading removes the app functionality itself. But it preserves documents and data associated with the app. You’ll need to redownload the app from the App Store to use it again.
Cluttered iPhones crammed with unused apps waste valuable storage space and create visual clutter. Fortunately, iOS offers helpful tools for identifying and removing apps you no longer need. Features like App Library, iPhone Storage management, and Siri App Suggestions make finding forgotten apps easy.
Be sure to fully delete unused apps instead of just offloading them to maximize storage savings. And don’t forget to cancel any paid subscriptions or accounts before removal. Back up your iPhone beforehand too.
Periodically reviewing and deleting unnecessary apps keeps your iPhone optimized. Avoid re-downloading apps on impulse. Focus on displaying your most useful apps on your home screen for a tidy, functional iOS experience.