Several readers report that they are unable to delete/remove apps from their iPads, iPhones, and other iDevices. You press and hold the app, it jiggles and it wiggles, and even the lovely X appears. But when you try and tap the X nothing happens. The screen freezes. And you even have to restart the iDevice to use it again.
Maybe you didn’t even get that far. You press down on an app. It starts the wiggle–great so far. But the X does not appear. And you say, dang this used to work, what gives?
- 1 The Usual Suspects when unable to delete/remove apps
- 2 Leverage Your Settings to Delete Apps!
- 3 You are trying to delete an iOS built-in app
- 4 A Problem With Games?
- 5 Check Restrictions. Are you restricting deleting apps on your device?
The Usual Suspects when unable to delete/remove apps
To remove an app, tap and hold any app icon until the app icons start to jiggle. Then tap the (X) in the corner of the app that you want to get rid of. If you are unable to remove apps from your iPhone or iPad, it is highly likely that one of these situations applies to you.
Mind Your Touch when unable to delete/remove apps
iFolks with 3D Touch iDevices know the importance of finger pressure. So make sure apply light pressure AND hold that light pressure for access to app deletion. Too much pressure opens the 3D Touch quick menus or actions.
Leverage Your Settings to Delete Apps!
Another way to delete apps is through your iDevice’s Storage Settings. Go to Settings > General > Storage > Manage Storage. Make sure you are managing storage for your iDevice and not iCloud! In the Storage menu, tap the app you want to delete and then press the Delete App button. A message pops up asking you to confirm the app deletion and reminds you that this action also deletes the app documents and data. If you’re fine with that, press Delete App again.
Starting with iOS 11, there’s also an option to offload an app. Offloading deletes the app but preserves all its documents and data. That means that if you change your mind when you reinstall the app, all your data and documents sync back–like you never deleted the app in the first place!
You are trying to delete an iOS built-in app
Some Apple built-in apps are not deletable. And if you use an iOS earlier than 10, no stocks app are deletable–none.
Built-in apps that ARE Deletable
- Find My Friends
- iCloud Drive
- iTunes Store
- TV or Videos
- Voice Memos
- Watch app
All others, like Safari, Messages, Photos, Settings, and Health must remain on your iDevice (for now.)
A Problem With Games?
When you download a game and part way through, a message pops up saying memory full, that games in only partially downloaded onto your iDevice. At that point, you see that game on your screen with a grayed out symbol. And you are not able to delete it. When you face this problem, the first step is to create some space on your device by deleting some data, apps, music, movies, or messages. Once you have open space, go to app store and search for that partially downloaded game. Then download that game again until that grayed-outturnsn turn to a normal game icon. Once it’s fully downloaded and installed, you can then delete it, if you choose to. One by one, search for any games you would like to delete in app store to delete them. Thanks to our reader Kamlesh for this great tip!
Check Restrictions. Are you restricting deleting apps on your device?
Check that restrictions are OFF. Settings>General>Restrictions>Off. If Restrictions are ON, you need to enter your restrictions passcode to turn this feature off.
Alternatively, modify the Restrictions allowed by toggling Deleting Apps to the ON and allow position. Tap Settings > General > Restrictions > and toggle ON Deleting Apps
If you want to delete apps with the delete apps restriction still in place or you cannot remember your restrictions passcode, connect your iDevice to mac or windows computer and open itunes. After opening itunes under your iDevice, go to apps and delete or add apps from here. With this method, you delete your apps without resetting anything.
Your iDevice is unresponsive
Simply restart your device by pressing and holding the on/off button and then slide the red slider to power off. To turn back on, press and hold the on/off button until you see the Apple logo.
Backup and Sync to solve unable to delete/remove apps
If that didn’t help, try doing a full back up and sync via icloud or itunes. Some folks say performing this sorted their similar problems.
Try a forced restart
- On an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus: Press and hold both the Sleep/Wake and Volume Down buttons for at least ten seconds, until you see the Apple logo
- On an iPhone 6s and earlier, iPad, or iPod touch: Press and hold both the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons for at least ten seconds, until you see the Apple logo