How to Delete Apps on iPhone: Step by Step Instructions

So, it finally happened.

After weeks of downloading every moderately promising app, your iPhone is now beginning to act wonky. It takes you 20 swipes to navigate from one screen to the last, and you have just enough free space to fit in one last Instagram shot before your phone goes kaput.

This is where you’ll have to step in and manually remove apps from your phone.

Thankfully, like most things in iOS, removing apps is pretty painless. You won’t need to fiddle with anything technical to delete apps and free up space (for more apps, of course!). In fact, the same process applies to removing apps from all iOS devices, including the iPad and iPad Mini.

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There are two equally effective methods to remove apps from your phone. You can pick whichever method you are comfortable with.

[Note: We’ve included screenshots from iPad below since the larger screen makes for easier viewing. You can repeat these steps in your iPhone and get the exact same results.]

Method 1: Deleting Apps Directly from the Home Screen

Let’s say you want to delete Candy Crush from your iPhone/iPad. Great as the game might be, it’s seriously addictive and is eating away all your productive hours.

To do this, follow these steps:

Step 1

Locate the app on your home screen. Don’t open it; just find where it is located. Normally, to open an app, you have to tap the icon. Instead of doing that, press the icon and hold down for a few seconds.

Step 2

You will notice that all the icons on the screen will start ‘wiggling’ and there will be a tiny ‘X’ mark at the top right hand corner of every icon. Press this ‘X’ mark.

Step 3

A pop-up window will appear asking if you want to delete the app. Hit the icon which says ‘Delete’ and the app will be removed from your iPhone. Note that you won’t see the ‘X’ mark for official iOS apps which are built into the system (Camera, Mail, Facetime, etc.)

Step 4

Press the Home button and the icons will stop wiggling. The screen will go back to normal minus the app you just deleted. All is right with the world again.

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Method 2: Deleting Apps from Settings

In this alternate method, you can delete apps directly from your iPhone’s settings. The advantage here is that you can see how much space the app was hogging up.

Let’s say we want to delete Plants vs. Zombies. Again, a great game, but even more addictive than Candy Crush. Instead of fighting the urge to spend hours killing zombies with peashooters, we’ll remove the game altogether from our iPhone/iPad.

To do this, follow these steps:

Step 1

Tap the ‘Settings’ on your home screen. This will look like a cogwheel. It should open automatically to the ‘General’ tab. Tap on the ‘Usage’ button.

Step 2

The Usage tab shows a list of all the apps installed on your device and how space each consumes. You can also see the amount of free space you currently have on your device and in your iCloud account. You may have to tap ‘Show all Apps’ to see the app you want to delete.

Step 3

Tap on the app you want to delete. You should now see a screen showing the app’s full name, version, and disk usage. You will also see a button to ‘Delete App’. Tap this button.

Step 4

Once again, iOS will ask if you want to delete the app permanently. Choose ‘Delete App’ to remove Plants vs Zombies from your device.

Congratulations, your phone is now zombie free!

Removing Apps from iTunes Library

Although we’ve removed Candy Crush and PvZ from the phone, we haven’t deleted them permanently from our computer yet. Depending on whether you’ve synced the app to your iTunes library or not, they might make a reappearance as soon as you plug your iDevice into your computer.

This happens when you download an app from the iTunes store or sync your existing apps to your iTunes library. In this case, removing the app from the device is only a temporary solution; the app will try to reinstall itself if it still exists in the iTunes library and automatic app syncing is enabled.

Therefore, to permanently remove such apps from the phone – something you’ll have to do very rarely – you must delete the app from the iTunes library as well by following these steps:

Step 1

Click on the ‘Library’ in the top left corner of your iTunes home page and select ‘Apps’. If you can’t see ‘Apps’ as a selection, go to Edit -> Preferences and make sure that ‘Apps’ is selected under ‘Sources’.

Step 2

You’ll now see a list of all the apps currently in your iTunes library. Locate the app you want to delete (in our case, Plants vs Zombies).

If you don’t see anything, it means that your device data isn’t backed up to your computer, or you purchased the app from your device, not the computer iTunes library. In this case, skip this process altogether; there is nothing to delete from your computer.

Step 3

Now select the app with your mouse and press the ‘Delete’ button on your keyboard. A pop-up box will ask if you want to remove the app permanently from the library. Click on ‘Delete App’ in this prompt.

Step 4

After you click ‘Delete App’, another prompt will pop up asking if you want to keep the files associated with the app or move them to the recycle bin. Select the button which says ‘Move to Recycle Bin’ (‘Trash’ for Mac folks) to delete the app and all related files permanently from the library.

So there you have it: two step-by-step methods to delete apps from your iPhone or iPad. As we promised, it’s all incredibly easy. You can learn even more tips and tricks to master your iPhone in this course. Or if you’re traveling, you’ll find this course on using your iPhone as a personal digital assistant pretty useful as well.

Did we miss something in this tutorial? Have some tips and techniques you’d love to share? Tell us in the comments below!