How to Permanently Delete iPhone Apps (2023)

Whether an app is causing problems on your iPhone or you just want to free up some space, you can follow these steps to get rid of it for good.

There truly is an app for everything. That’s a fact avid iPhone users know all too well—especially when they look down at their phones and realize they have more apps than they ever wanted or needed. Ready to get rid of a few of yours and finally organize your apps? Not so fast. You need to make sure that you’re actually deleting them instead of simply hiding apps from view. If you don’t take a few extra steps, those unwanted apps will still be lurking somewhere on your smartphone. Thankfully, we have a handy iPhone trick for you. Here’s everything you need to know about how to delete apps on iPhone, whether you’re navigating from your phone, your computer, or even in iCloud.

Looking for even more iPhone hacks? Find out how to lock apps and how to edit photos on your iPhone like a pro.

How to delete apps on iPhone

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Most iPhone users already know how simple it is to uninstall an app: Just touch and hold the app until a pop-up window appears and then select the Remove App option. (Depending on your iPhone model, your apps may start to jiggle when you hold the app icon, and you’ll tap the X or minus symbol to remove it.) From there, tap Delete App to confirm you want to uninstall the app from your phone.

One problem with this process? It removes the app from your home screen, but it doesn’t completely remove the app. It still exists in your Apple account, and it may even be unintentionally added back to your phone during an update or when you sync your device. Permanently deleting an app, whether from your Apple account, phone Settings, or iTunes, takes a few more steps. And they’re steps you might want to take if you have one of these apps that allow someone to spy on you.

Deleting from your Apple account

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(Video) Permanently Delete Apps from iCloud on iPhone! [How to]

“To delete an app from your Apple account, first uninstall the app from your iPhone,” says tech expert Andrew Jackson from Simply follow the instructions outlined above to do that. Then open the App Store, click on your profile picture (top right), and go to Purchased. “Here, you’ll find a list of apps installed,” he explains. “You can swipe left and tap Hide on any app where you don’t wish to have a record of the app being installed on your device.”

Hiding an app will remove it from your Apple account, but it will still appear in your purchase history, explains Charles Edge, an Apple aficionado and the author of more than 20 books, most of which cover Apple products. “The only way to remove an app from [your purchase history] is to contact Apple Support,” he adds. Find out the other things Apple employees don’t tell you.

Deleting from Settings

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There are a couple of other ways to permanently delete apps on an iPhone. To delete through Settings, Jackson instructs Apple users to go to General and then scroll down to iPhone Storage. “From here, you’ll see a list of apps installed on your iPhone,” he explains. “If you click on one of the apps, you’ll see the option ‘Delete App.’ It does exactly the same thing as deleting an app from the home screen; it’s just a different way of achieving the same thing.”

While you’re in settings, check out your iPhone privacy settings to ensure your information is properly protected.

Deleting from iTunes

“You can also delete apps through iTunes,” Jackson says. Open iTunes on your computer and click on the Library. Go to Apps and then right-click on the app you want to delete. You’ll be prompted to confirm that you want the app moved to the trash; from there, you’ll need to navigate to the trash and empty it.

Learn more about your device and find out how to add widgets to your iPhone.

(Video) How to Permanently Delete App off iPhone 2021

How to delete apps from iCloud

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Don’t forget that your iPhone may not be the only place an app exists—or at least a trace of it. As Edge explains, “iCloud Settings on a device can show purchase history [and] be used to control subscriptions and access certain family-sharing options.” For these reasons, an Apple user may want to delete apps from their iCloud as well (especially if you notice these red flags that you shouldn’t trust an app).

To turn off an app’s backups and delete the backup data from iCloud, head to Settings.Tap your name at the top, then go to iCloud. Scroll down to Manage Storage. Next, click on Backups and the device that you’re currently using. You’ll see a list of your apps. If you want to delete one, just toggle the button to the left. If you’re deleting an old messaging app but want a new (and safer) one, take a look at what secure messaging app you can download on your iPhone.

Can you delete preinstalled apps on an iPhone?

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“The answer to this question is yes and no,” Jackson says. Some apps that are preinstalled can be removed, and others can’t. If you have an older iPhone, press and hold an app icon until it starts to wobble. Did an X or minus sign appear in the corner? If so, the app can be removed. If not, the app can’t be removed.

Speaking of apps you may (or may not) find useful, here’s everything you need to know about digital wallets and how they work.

How to delete preinstalled apps on iPhone

“The process for deleting preinstalled apps is the same as deleting any other app on an iPhone,” Jackson says. For older iPhones, press and hold the app until it jiggles and you see the X or minus sign. When given the option to remove, you can delete it.

(Video) How To Uninstall Apps On iPhone! (iOS 15 / iOS 14)

Have a newer iPhone? Press and hold the app until a menu pops up. Tap Remove App to delete it.

Keep in mind that not all preinstalled apps will provide the same options for removal. “Some apps that are preinstalled will provide either a Delete App (like the Books app) or a Remove from Home Screen option,” Edge explains. “Remove from Home Screen simply hides the app, whereas Delete App deletes the application bundle completely. The reason we can’t just delete all apps is that some have libraries shared with other apps to enable various functions of those apps.”

You’ll be able to tell which preinstalled apps can and can’t be removed when you hold down the apps and see which options are available.

How to offload unused apps

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Let’s say you went on a wild app-downloading spree when you first got your phone, and now you have pages and pages of apps, most of which you never use. You could go through, one by one, deleting individual apps and hoping you don’t accidentally get rid of one you need. Or you could allow your phone to offload unused apps for you.

To utilize this option on an iOS device, start by going to Settings. Tap General and then iPhone Storage. You’ll see a section titled Offload Unused Apps. From there, tap Enable. “Your iPhone will then automatically remove apps that you’re simply not using to free up valuable space,” Jackson says.

Note: If you don’t have a lot of unused apps, this may not be an option provided to you when in iPhone storage. How else can you free up storage? By deleting your iPhone’s call history.

(Video) How To Remove App From App Library

Why permanently delete an app?

According to Edge, there are a few reasons you might want to permanently delete an app.

  • You want to reset the app back to its factory default settings because it’s problematic.
  • You think the app is causing problems elsewhere in the device as a result of malfunctions that started occurring after you installed it.
  • You want to delete some of the data within an app. (For instance, apps that keep track of your credit card information.)
  • You no longer use the app and want to free up resources like memory and load time. After all, the more apps you have working in the background, the slower your device will be.

Other reasons might include finding another app that feels like a better fit for what you were hoping to accomplish. Whatever your reason, there are several ways to permanently delete an unwanted app from an iOS device.

Next, learn how to delete everything on your iPhone and keep your personal information safe.


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How to Permanently Delete iPhone Apps? ›

Remove an app from the Home Screen: Touch and hold the app on the Home Screen, tap Remove App, then tap Remove from Home Screen to keep it in App Library, or tap Delete App to delete it from iPhone. Delete an app from App Library and Home Screen: Touch and hold the app in App Library, tap Delete App, then tap Delete.

Why can't I permanently delete apps on my iPhone? ›

Content & Privacy Restrictions may be to blame when your iPhone or iPad cannot delete apps. Allow deleting apps in Screen Time Settings > Content & Privacy Restrictions > iTunes & App Store Purchases > Deleting Apps. Toggling restrictions off entirely also fixes this issue.

How do I permanently delete app history from App Store? ›

You can't permanently delete your iPhone purchase history, but you can hide the apps you've installed from the App Store. In the App Store, tap your profile photo, select Purchased, and choose My Purchases to see apps you've bought or installed for free. To delete an app from your purchases, swipe left and choose Hide.

Can I delete apps from my Apple account permanently? ›

After selecting the ones that you'd like to delete, either press and hold the app icon or swipe left over it to bring up the “Delete” option. After tapping on “Delete,” the app will be removed from your Apple account permanently.

Do deleted apps stay on iCloud? ›

Will deleting apps on my iPhone remove them from iCloud? Deleting your apps on your iPhone won't remove any backed up data in your iCloud. If you want to remove the data and app information from your iCloud backup, you'll need to access iCloud settings.

How do I remove an app from my library? ›

From your Home Screen, swipe left until you see the App Library. Your apps are automatically sorted into categories.
Delete an app from the App Library
  1. Go to the App Library and tap the search field to open the list.
  2. Touch and hold the app icon, then tap Delete App .
  3. Tap Delete again to confirm.
Sep 12, 2022

Can you remove app download history? ›

Just go to the My Apps section Google Play Store and log in. Then select your device and click the trashcan icon next to an app, and verify you want to uninstall it. That's it, you can delete any app you want from your Google Play Store download history. Plus, you can delete your Google Play Store search history too.

How do I permanently delete hidden apps from iCloud? ›

Go to "Settings" and click on "General". Next, search for "iPhone storage" and wait for a few minutes till it displays all your hidden apps. From there, choose the apps you want to delete and tap on them.

Will deleting an app on iPhone delete everything? ›

You can delete apps from your iPhone's Home Screen, which will erase any saved data. You can also offload an app to save its data and settings if you end up re-installing it.

Why won't my phone let me delete apps? ›

If you have Screen Time enabled, go to Settings/Screen Time/Content & Privacy Restrictions/iTunes & App Store Purchases and change Deleting Apps to Allow. If you have Screen Time enabled, go to Settings/Screen Time/Content & Privacy Restrictions/iTunes & App Store Purchases and change Deleting Apps to Allow.

How do I delete apps from iCloud storage? ›

Open the Settings app. Tap your name. Tap iCloud. Tap iCloud Backup under the DEVICE BACKUPS heading.
After the backup data loads, tap Show All Apps.
  1. Swipe down until you find the app you wish to remove. ...
  2. Tap to toggle the switch next to the app to the off position.
Jan 9, 2023

How do I delete deleted apps from iCloud? ›

Select Manage in the lower-right corner of the iCloud interface. Go to the left column, then select the app you want to delete. Select Delete all Files to remove all files associated with the app from your iCloud. If you see a warning message, select Delete to complete the process.

How do I delete one app from iCloud backup? ›

Choose which apps to back up on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  1. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud.
  2. Tap Manage Account Storage or tap Manage Storage, then tap Backups.
  3. Tap the name of the device that you're using.
  4. Turn off any apps that you don't want to back up.
  5. Choose Turn Off & Delete.
Dec 19, 2022

How do I delete app data from iCloud? ›

To get rid of data and backups from iCloud, click the Apple logo at the top of the screen and go to System Settings. When the box comes up, click iCloud, and then on the right, Manage. In the next box that comes up, click the app you want to delete the data for and click Delete all Files.

How do I remove an app from my app library? ›

Drag the app icon towards the button. (In older versions of Android, touching and holding may trigger a menu to pop up instead of the Uninstall button; select Uninstall App from the menu.) Drag the app icon towards the Uninstall button at the top of the screen.

How do I clear app data deleted? ›

How to Clear App Data?
  1. Step 1: Open the Settings application on your device.
  2. Step 2: Head over to Apps Menu.
  3. Step 3: Choose Installed Applications.
  4. Step 4: Find the Application you want to Clear the App Data of.
  5. Step 5: Select it, Move to the Storage Tab.
  6. Step 6: Hit Clear Storage/Clear App Data.


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