There probably isn’t an iPhone owner out there who hasn’t wished that he could delete some of iOS’s stock apps — the same apps that most users replace with more capable apps from third-party developers. Apple still doesn’t enable iPhone users to uninstall default iOS apps, since it thinks that those apps are essential to the user experience on the iPhone. But even if you can’t delete those unused default apps to free up storage space, there are a couple of ways that you can hide them so that they take up less space on your home screen.
1. Use folders strategically
Zach Epstein reports for BGR that most iPhone users have come to terms with the fact that they can’t delete Apple’s preinstalled iOS apps, so the most common way to cope is simply to hide the unwanted apps in a folder. Epstein’s folder is called “Garbage,” but you can title the folder anything you want and use it to place all of the apps you don’t need in a single place, so that they don’t take up the valuable screen space that you probably want to devote to the apps you’re actually going to be using everyday.
To create a folder, press an app icon until it grows larger and jiggles, which signals that you can move it. Then, drag the icon on top of the icon of another app that you also want in the folder. Let go, and the two apps will be placed in a new folder. You can change the name of the folder, and drag apps in or out of the folder anytime.
2. Hide apps using Restrictions
If you’re looking for a way to hide apps on your iPhone not because you’re tired of seeing the icons for stock apps but because you’re routinely handing your iPhone over to your kids and worrying what they’ll do with the apps you use everyday, you can use the Restrictions feature in the Settings app to hide the apps you don’t want displayed. As noted by iGeeksBlog, you can open the Settings app, tap “General,” then tap “Restrictions.” You’ll need to enter or create a Restrictions passcode, and then after that, you can toggle off the preinstalled apps you want to hide in the “Allow” list.
If you want to hide third-party apps, too, scroll down to the “Allowed Content” section and tap “Apps.” You can choose what types of apps to hide — based on the age rating that they’re assigned in the app store — or tap “Don’t Allow Apps” to hide all of your apps. When you go back to the home screen, all of the restricted apps’ icons will be hidden. While some of them may show up in Spotlight Search results, particularly for apps like News or Podcasts, you won’t be able to tap on them from those search results. When you hide apps and then unhide them, the positions of the icons will be reset.
3. Temporarily hide app icons
Thanks to a bug in iOS 9.2, you can temporarily hide the icons of the default apps you don’t want. As Epstein explains, you first have to create a new folder or open an existing one, and move the apps you want to hide into that folder (just like you would if you’re happy using a folder to hide the unwanted apps). Next, tap and hold any icon until they begin to jiggle, indicating that you can rearrange them.
Then, you can drag any app in the folder all the way to the right, beyond the final tab in the folder. While still holding the app icon, you can press the home button, and the icon will disappear until the next time you reboot your iPhone. The trick seems to be fixed with iOS 9.3, but if there’s some reason that you aren’t ready to update your iPhone or iPad, you can take advantage of the quirk, at least until the next time you restart your device.
4. Create an invisible folder
Jeff Byrnes reports for App Advice that if you’re willing to go through a short sequence of steps, you can create an “invisible” folder without jailbreaking your iPhone. You’ll need to choose a grey or white wallpaper, change a few display settings, and then create a folder without a name. Then, generate a blank app icon, add the icon to the folder, and move all of the app icons you want hidden to the second page. The result will be an invisible app icon, one that you’ll be able to use to hide all of the apps that you don’t want cluttering your home screen.