Can’t Delete Apps on iPhone or iPad? 10 Ways to Fix the Issue

At times, you run into a weird issue that is not just hard to explain but also hard to believe. The inability to delete apps on iOS 15 is one such problem that has troubled many iPhone users at some point or the other. Believe me, I have been on the receiving end of this issue a couple of times as well. So, I can relate to the frustration that you may be going through. Luckily, there are some viable tips to fix the “Can’t delete apps on iPhone and iPad” issue. With that in mind, let’s talk about the ways and means to resolve the problem!

10 Tips to Fix ‘Can’t Delete Apps on iPhone or iPad’ Issue

Having a good understanding of what apps you can/can’t delete on your iOS device can put you in good stead. So, it would be better to first take a brief look at the history of bloatware on iOS.

What Apps You Can/Can’t Delete on iPhone and iPad?

Every tech company wants to have as much control over its software as possible. And Apple is no exception to this age-old tradition. That’s why we are presented with a ton of bloatware (built-in apps) whether we want it or not. So, if you have stumbled upon some built-in apps that you hardly/never use on your iPhone and wondered why the hell they exist on your device, you are not alone to ask this long-existing question. After all, you should have the absolute right to decide which apps should or shouldn’t exist on your iPhone.

With iOS 12 and later, Apple has offered a bit more freedom to delete built-in apps. If you aren’t a fan of bloatware, you would be pleased with this move.

List of First-Party Apps You Can Delete on iPhone and iPad

  1. Maps
  2. Measure
  3. Music
  4. Books
  5. Calculator
  6. Calendar
  7. Compass
  8. Contacts (Note: It’s worth pointing out that even if you delete the Contacts app, your contact information will remain available in other apps like Messages, Phone, Messages, FaceTime, and Mail.)
  9. FaceTime
  10. Files
  11. Home
  12. iTunes Store
  13. Mail
  14. News
  15. Notes
  16. Translate
  17. TV
  18. Voice Memos
  19. Watch
  20. Weather
  21. Podcasts
  22. Reminders
  23. Shortcuts
  24. Stocks
  25. Fitness
  26. Tips

List of Built-in Apps You Can’t Delete on Your iPhone or iPad

  1. Camera
  2. Clock
  3. Settings
  4. App Store
  5. Find My
  6. Health
  7. Messages
  8. Phone
  9. Photos

If you are still running older iOS versions like iOS 10 or 11, you are left with no other option but to live with the unwanted apps. To prevent these apps from coming your way time and time again, you can create an app folder and dump all the useless first-party apps there.

Disable App Deletion Restriction

The very first thing that you should do to fix the “Unable to delete apps on iPhone or iPad” issue, is to ensure that there is no restriction on deleting apps. You may have earlier restricted apps deletion on your device using Screen Time and forgotten to disable it later. So, make sure it’s not blocking your path.

  • Navigate to the Settings app on your iOS or iPadOS device -> Screen Time -> Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  • Now, tap Deleting Apps and select Allow.
Can't Delete Apps on iPhone or iPad?  10 Ways to Fix the Issue

Next, head over to the home screen and then try deleting any app to check if the problem is gone. Most probably, it should resolve the issue.

Delete Apps from Home Screen and App Library

The process of deleting apps on the home screen and App Library is slightly different. If you are new to the Apple ecosystem, you might get a bit confused.

Delete Apps on Home Screen

  • Touch and hold the app icon that you wish to delete -> Remove App -> Delete App. Finally, tap Delete in the popup menu to confirm.
Delete Apps from home screen on iPhone and iPad

Delete Apps on App Library

  • Head over to the app that you want to delete -> touch and hold the app icon -> Delete App -> Delete.
Can't Delete Apps on iPhone or iPad?  10 Ways to Fix the Issue

Delete Apps Faster on iPhone and iPad

There is a pretty neat way to delete multiple apps faster on iOS and iPadOS devices. Save this nifty hack for the times where you wish to delete several apps without wasting much time.

Edit home screen on iPhone and iPad
  • Touch and hold an app icon and then choose Edit Home Screen in the contextual menu. Now, all the apps on your device will start jiggling and show a “-” remove button.
  • Simply hit the “-” button -> Delete App and you are done!

Force Restart Your iPhone or iPad

When dealing with weird or unexpected issues, I make sure to try out the hard reset trick. Fortunately, it has rescued me many a time. So, I would remind you of the effectiveness of this hack and also suggest you give it a try.

Force restart iPhone
Image courtesy: Apple
  • On iPhone 8 or later and iPad without the home button: Press and quickly release the volume up button. Then, press and quickly release the volume down button. After that, press and hold the side/top button until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
  • On iPhone 7/7 Plus: Hold down the volume down button and side button at once until the Apple logo shows up on the screen.
  • On iPhone 6s or earlier or iPad with home button: Hold down the home button and side/top button until you see the Apple logo on the screen.

Adjust 3D Touch/ Haptic Touch Sensitivity

Slightly buried in the Accessibility settings exists an option to adjust 3D Touch/Haptic Touch sensitivity. If you are unable to bring up the contextual menu that pops up when you long-press an app icon, adjusting the sensitivity of the 3D or Haptic Touch might work in fixing the issue.

Can't Delete Apps on iPhone or iPad?  10 Ways to Fix the Issue
  • Navigate to the Settings app on your iPhone -> Accessibility -> Touch -> 3D/ Haptic Touch (depending on the iPhone model you have). Now, choose Fast or Slow option.
  • After that, touch and hold the image on the screen to test the touch duration.

Trying to Delete an App That’s Still Downloading? Cancel Download Instead

If you are trying to delete an app that is currently downloading, cancel the download instead. You will see “Loading”/ “Waiting” below the app if the downloading is still in progress. And when you long-press the app icon of the app, the option to delete will be missing. If you don’t want to download the app, select “Cancel Download” in the contextual menu to get rid of it.

Downloading apps on iOS and iPadOS

Delete Apps from Settings App

Many folks may not be aware of the fact that iOS also offers a pretty simple way to delete apps right from the Settings app. You can scroll through all the apps installed on your device, find out how much storage each one of them has consumed, and choose to delete the ones that are no longer needed.

Probably the best part about this method is that it allows you to delete apps along with their associated documents and data, which can be very helpful for the times where you want to declutter your device.

Delete Apps from Settings app on iPhone and iPad
  • Open the Settings app -> General -> iPhone/iPad Storage -> Now, find the app that you to delete and tap on it. After that, hit Delete App and confirm the action.

Update Software

If app deletion is still not working, try updating the software. Even though you may not have to come this far in normal circumstances, inexplicable issues aren’t new to iOS.

Update Software on iPhone and iPad
  • Dive into the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad -> General -> Software Update. Now, allow iOS to check for the available update. If there is any update available, go for it right away.

Sign Out of Apple ID and Sign Back In

No solution as yet? Bother not, we will now sign out of Apple ID and sign back in. Since it’s a safe method, you shouldn’t worry about losing any media or data.

  • Open the Settings app on your device -> Apple ID banner at the top center. Now, scroll down and tap Sign Out. Now, iOS will give you the option to keep a copy of important data like calendar, contacts, etc.
  • For additional safety, turn on the toggles for each option before signing out of your Apple ID. Then, sign back in using your Apple ID and password.
Sign out of Apple ID on iOS

Reset All Settings

Factory reset is like a nuclear solution that comes in handy for fixing complex iOS issues. So, if you still can’t delete apps on your iOS device, you shouldn’t fail to try it out. Keep in mind that it wipes out the entire existing settings, returning everything from Wi-Fi to VPN into a clean state. However, it doesn’t harm your media and data.

  • On iOS 15 or later: Go to the Settings app on your iPhone/iPad -> General -> Transfer or Reset iPhone/iPad -> Reset -> Reset All All Settings.
Can't Delete Apps on iPhone or iPad?  10 Ways to Fix the Issue
  • On iOS 14 or earlier: Head into the Settings app on your device -> General -> Reset -> Reset All Settings.

Fixed the “Can’t Delete Apps on iPhone” Issue

That’s all there is to it! With so many trusted solutions, I don’t think the issue still exists on your device. As mentioned above, you are more likely to resolve the problem by taking care of the app deletion setting. If that doesn’t help, the hard reset and the ability to delete apps from the Settings app are other reliable tips that you can try to get the better of the issue. Anyway, which one of these hacks has helped you fix the app deletion issue on your iOS device? Make sure to let us know your feedback.

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