Will Tim Cook fix Apple’s bloatware problem?

“Although the situation isn’t as bad as its Android counterparts, Apple is increasingly adding more default apps to versions of its iOS,” Jamal Carnette writes for The Motley Fool. ” Right now, there’s a myriad of apps: Compass, Weather, Calculator, Tips, and Newsstand, among others, that take up valuable space on both the home screen and in the internal storage.”

“Of course, many people use these apps and find them worthwhile, but the problem is Apple doesn’t allow users to delete these apps if you’re among those who don’t use them,” Carnette writes. “Perhaps the culmination of Apple’s bloatware problem was its inclusion of an Apple Watch App on the iPhone iOS 8.2 release. For those without the supporting watch, this is nothing more than on-device marketing bloatware at the expense of storage space. To date, you still can’t remove the Apple Watch App from the device.”

Carnette writes, “More recently, however, it seems Tim Cook has gotten the memo on this issue. In an interview with Buzzfeed, Cook addressed potentially allowing users to remove some default apps: ‘There are some apps that are linked to something else on the iPhone. … If they were to be removed, they might cause issues elsewhere on the phone. There are other apps that aren’t like that. So over time, I think with the ones that aren’t like that, we’ll figure out a way.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Until then, if you don’t already, make an “unused” (or “crap”) folder and dump the non-deletable stuff you don’t use in there.


  1. “Until then, if you don’t already, make an “unused” (or “crap”) folder and dump the non-deletable stuff you don’t use in there.”

    Well, MDN, these unwanted and unused apps are still occupying space users would prefer for other data and apps. Funny, though, how Apple does make “crap” apps as you have so concluded.

      1. I’m not whining, I’m gloating. It’s pleasing to point out that MDN is willing to admit that Apple prohibits users from removing unneeded and unwanted software from their devices.

  2. All Apple would have to do is increase the base size of storage to 32gb from 16. Although there are some of the built in apps that I don’t use (ie gamecenter), there’s many that I do.

    The crap folder is a good idea that I currently use.

    What I’d like to know though is why the built in apps for iOS is different from iPhone to iPad? I guess iPad users don’t follow the stock market, care about the weather, or need passbook for their boarding pass (big eye roll).

    Personally I’d rather have MORE Apple apps. They’re more secure and private than any Google or third party counterparts. Turning some or all of them off would be nice though.

    1. I too can’t figure out why Apple skimps on the storage size. 32 GB is cheap and should be the default. 256 GB should be the top end by now. I don’t understand why they don’t ‘get it’.

      As for the ‘crap’ folder, was I the one who first made that suggestion here at MDN? 😉

      Thinking further about how to dump the ‘crap’, I’d think it would be easy to put all of them into an ‘Apple Apps’ list at the iTunes app store. You install what you like. You dump what you like. The list is always there with it easy to reinstall them.

      The question of core APIs within some of Apple’s apps means they’d have to be moved into the system for access by all apps. Dump Safari and all its features are still available to other apps.

  3. I’d hardly call these very simple apps “bloatware” and I seriously doubt they take up that much “valuable space”.

    I could possibly understand the complaining if it were something like the iWork suite of apps that do take up a significant amount of space. But, honestly, how hard is it to create an “Extras” folder and put stuff you don’t use in it and place that onto a far right screen?

    And some of the apps are actually necessary, Compass is used to calibrate the internal compass, Calculator is used on the “Shortcut” center, as is “Clock”. “Clock” is also used to interface with the system’s timing API’s which are also used by Siri.

    1. Just wanted to add…

      Apple could very easily add a new “Built-in Apps” option in the settings app that allowed users to “hide” those apps that are needed by the system, but the user doesn’t ever use.

      1. That would solve the issue very well: leave all of the apps on the phone, but don’t show them. In general, those who complain about “unnecessary apps consuming space” are insufficiently savvy to realize how much space is actually being used if the icon disappears. Then, they would have to find something else to bitch about!

        1. This problem is rather trivial, but has potential to do measurable harm for public perception, not to mention provide plenty of fresh ammunition for Android apologists.

          What Apple needs to do (and what Cook has already hinted) is find a way to make some, if not all system apps removable. While doing that, they will have to make sure that, when the app’s icon is hidden, some of the code actually does get deleted. It will take less than 24 hours for someone to check if any actual space was reclaimed by ‘deleting’ a system app and the world would quickly know if all Apple did was allow us to remove icons, while keeping all the ‘bloat’ on the phone.

          This may take unnecessary developer time (after all, vast majority of us would prefer the developers work on issues of substance, such as bugs and features), but I think it is at this point necessary in order for Apple to defend its image of lean, clean and efficient OS.

  4. Wow, an article about Apple and bloatware compared to Android with this comment sparkling at the top. “Long considered a problem of Android only, Apple’s iPhones are now suffering from default-app creep.”

    You know if this guy had done some research he might have be able to intellectually process the idea that it’s been long considered not only to be a problem of but originated with a company known as Microsoft.

    Could be that Jamal Carnette has never heard of that company, which pretty well indicates not only how irrelevant the company has become but how irrelevant Jamal Carnette is as a jouranalist. He’s in good company.

    1. That’s funny! An undetectable app. How did you know it was there if it is undetectable? Not only are you an emoticon moron but are also a technical idiot.

  5. Much ado about nothing … what an absolute hoot comparing what Apple Inc. does to the bloatware loaded onto Android devices by the handset makers & then the networks!!

  6. Where do you draw the line, though? Should Mail and Safari be deletable? If someone inadvertenly or ignorantly deletes them, how do they get them back? What if you delete something and 6 months later, someone tells you to try it and you can’t find it? Do we want another section in App Store for “Built-in Apps that I deleted but want to re-download”? Because you wouldn’t want them in your Purchased list because they weren’t purchased and may be part of a long list of apps you downloaded and deleted.

    And if the non-tech-savvy users (i.e. nearly everyone) delete something, what do they do? Call Apple Support. Gripe to their friends. Struggle and feel like their phone sucks.

    Not everything is as black-and-white and simple as most people seem to think. Do you really think Apple made them undeletable just because they had pretty icons or something? They aren’t idiots. I read Tim’s comment to mean “we’re considering letting people delete non-essential apps that don’t have a high usage rate among users or are apps that are used by more sophisticated users that can figure out on their own how to get them back”. Apple doesn’t want people to have a bad experience with their products. Having apps they don’t use isn’t a bad experience. It’s an annoyance to geeky people that sit around and think about the details of their iPhone rather than just going out and using them like the rest of us.

    1. Good point. Often times I keep seemingly lame apps with potential loaded on my device in the hope that a future update will remind me to take another look and see if it’s useable. Once an app gets deleted, I almost always forget about it forever.

    2. There are lots of Apple apps already on the app store. No reason to clutter the phone with junk, when the user should be able to decide what to install. Of course, what am I thinking. This is Tim “Apple Ballmer” Cook’s Apple we are talking about. He will keep a 16 gig iPhone and load it up with crap, because he is too incompetent to make a decent product. The sooner Cook and Ive are fired, the better.

      1. I am in agreement in spirit. Tim Cook is pretty disappointing as a CEO. iOS is a lot less visually engaging than it once was, after Forrester was nudged towards the exit. OSX has followed suit. Cook has made Apple about his own lifestyle issues instead of about “insanely great” products.

    3. Stock apps should be re-installable through the App Store if a device does not have them. This would be simple for Apple to implement. I’ve seen many times where users have deleted stock apps from a Mac and how do you get them back without re-installing the entire OS? What a mess.

      1. Exactly! Make it easy to reinstall and there is no problem.

        For small accessory apps a real reinstall does the job. For something that has important functionality used by other apps, like Safari, deleting the app should just hide it, with a settings option for re-exposing it.

  7. Why doesn’t Apple have two SSD drives in iOS devices… one that holds the system, stock apps and is used for software updates, and one that holds all user data and user-installed apps? That way, they can advertise the exact available space on the “user drive” while using smaller, cheaper SSD chips across their devices. The “one massive drive” approach seems to be a weak point.

    1. Because that would be a colossal waste of physical space, as well as storage. The partition reserved for iOS would always have free space that can never be used by the user. It would have to have plenty of free space, in fact, in order to allow for future system upgrades.

      Having more than one partition is a major hassle. Ask any android user. Their phones usually have at least two partitions. You never know exactly how much free space you have, since it is scattered across multiple spaces.

  8. FW corrupted, Drive-by Infection, Bloatware, Xcode Ghost …WTF?


    My God what have I done, how did I get here?

    Talk to the Pope, but slowly.

    A coincidence, probably of course.

  9. Let’s see, Stocks, Watch (for some), Tips, Calculator (for some) Game Center (for some), Weather, and Compass If you put them in a folder, they don’t take up ANY “valuable” space on the home screen. And not all that much space in memory. I wouldn’t call any of these “bloatware,” because they all are useful to a subset of Apple users. It would be nice to be able to delete apps you don’t want to use, if doing so wouldn’t cause a problem. No iteration of software will satisfy everyone.

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