18 Jun 2016

Uninstalling Bundled Apps

iOS 10 lets one uninstall apps that came with the system: Mail, Calendar, Find My Friends, iBooks, and all the other stuff that I don’t want and that sits in my Apple Crap folder. Unfortunately, iOS will only hide the apps from the UI, not free up storage.

This is something Android [1] has had for years.

People with 16GB phones aren’t going to like the waste of space. And these are the majority of buyers.

Both operating systems should fix this by freeing up space. Bundled apps should be no different from user-installed apps, except that they are installed on the first run. And when you uninstall them, the space is freed.

This is not hard to implement. These apps can be installed from the respective app store on first run [2], as if the user tapped the Download button.

Having bundled apps be uninstallable also makes me look at the bundled apps in a more positive way, as suggestions from the company that may help me, which is great, rather than as shoving apps I may not want to use down my throat. A small change makes a big difference in perception.

Having uninstallable apps on iOS raises the obvious question of the Mac. If I can uninstall Mail, Notes, Apple Maps and other apps on iOS, why not on the Mac?

In any case, it’s good to see Apple taking one step towards doing the right thing for iOS users.

[1] Disclosure: I work for Google, but not on Android, and these are my personal views.

[2] Apple and Google currently bundle the app in the OS, and also put it in the app store, from where it’s updated. Why, then, bundle a potentially old version of the app with the OS?

Alternatively, the apps can be included as data, outside the OS image, as a zip file or something. On first run, the OS installs the apps in the zip file, and then throws away the zip file. After the apps have been installed, they are no different from apps that came from the store.

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