hide stock apps concept

[discussion / concept] Hiding stock apps on iOS

At the end of last week, I asked myself the following question:

Why is there no way to delete stock Apple apps on iOS?

That seems like a good idea, right? It would free up some disk space and de-clutter the home screen.

The answer is pretty simple: without its stock apps, iOS wouldn’t work well. Sure, you could live without Compass, iBooks, Tips, Passbook/Wallet and you-name-it. But when it gets to things like Calendar, Mail, Safari or Clock, uninstalling those would break lots of features across iOS. No iCloud calendar whatsoever (even third-party Calendar apps rely on the stock app for iCloud calendars). No emails via the share sheet. No web browsing, even in many third-party apps. No alarms or timers with Siri.

The list goes on. Even just uninstalling the Stocks or Weather apps would make Notification Center, Calendar and Siri unstable, as there are stock (no pun intended) Weather and Stocks widgets in NC and weather info in Calendar and Siri.

Why doesn’t Apple allow you to hide stock apps?

That’s the right question to ask. The answer is more tricky than above.
Apple generally makes an effort to keep settings and user interface at a minimum, lowering the learning curve for new users. However, it doesn’t seem to be too far fetched for Apple to make a new tab in Settings that would allow the app icons of stock apps to be hidden via the flick of a switch (akin to jailbreak tweaks like Springtomize).

Apple’s answer? Just put them in a folder.

In fact, Apple has partly dealt with the icon overflow (iOS 8 added Health (?), Tips, iBooks and iOS 9 added Podcasts) by introducing folders all the way back in iOS 4 (yes, sadly, my 1st gen iPod Touch doesn’t support folders! ;[ ).

The answer of the jailbreak community? A multitude of tweaks!

Back in the day (like, 5 years ago), “SBSettings” was an immensely popular tweak that installed a popover menu similar to Control Center. It had its own settings app, which also allowed you to hide app icons. There are multiple apps and tweaks on Cydia that either hide Newsstand, Newsstand, Newsstand, Stocks or any other 1st party app from the homescreen (did I mention Newsstand?). “Springtomize”, a collection of houndrets of smaller tweaks into one big package, also allows you to hide any app from the homescreen.

But they all suck.

I’m serious. I don’t want to have to scroll through a list of all my installed apps and toggle them on or off there.

Let me present a simple solution!

hide stock apps conceptThat’s obviously just ten minutes worth of Photoshop, but I think it’s enough to express my vision for the future of “wiggle mode”:

  • 3rd party Apps (from AppStore) retain their ‘x’ / delete button.
  • 1st party Apps (that can’t be deleted) gain a ‘-‘ button. Tapping it will bring op a confirmation dialog just like the delete button. Confirming it will hide the icon from the home screen and make it appear in some other place (like an additional home screen page that is only visible in wiggle mode or, less preferably, a settings panel).
  • Some core apps like Settings, Phone and possibly AppStore can’t be hidden (since that would break: un-hiding, emergency calling, installing apps).

What do you think? Do you like the idea of hiding apps that came preinstalled on your phone or do you not care at all? Tell me in the comments below (or on Twitter / Facebook)!