How to cleverly get rid of unused iOS apps

You can delete the app from your iPad or iPhone, but there is a better way: offload it.

When you buy the new iPad or iPhone, you probably spend the first few months playing with the apps. You are testing how your favorite apps perform on the new device or trying new apps.

Wallpaper apps, games, apps that support Apple Pencil, or apps that would increase your learning curve… It’s just a start, right?

It’s been a year or more since you were intensively exploring your new iPad, and some of these apps were not opened since then.

Open your iPad and check out how many apps are hidden in app folders. Do you need them all? Do you even remember why you needed them in the first place?

These apps take unnecessary space and possibly slow down your device.

You can quickly check out much much space is left on your iPad or iPhone by opening Settings app, then “General,” and then “iPhone Storage” (or “iPad storage”).

Check disc space use on your iPad or iPhone - go to Settings » General » iPhone Storage
Check disc space use on your iPad or iPhone, using Settings app

You can do two things to clean your iPad or iPhone:

  • Delete the app – it will remove the app completely from your iPad. All the settings will be deleted. You will need to go to the App Store to download the app and set it up again.
  • Offload the app – it will free up storage but keep the app’s settings and data. The app’s icon will remain on the Home screen, with the small cloud icon preceding its name. When you tap the app, it will be automatically reinstalled.

How to delete an iOS app?

You most probably know how to do it, so here is just a quick recap.

How to delete an app in the iPad or iPhone
Tap and gently hold the app’s icon until it starts to jiggle

To delete the app, go the Home screen and:

  1. Tap and hold the app’s icon gently until it starts to jiggle.
  2. Tap the small “Close” icon in the top left corner of the app.
  3. Press Home button to close app management mode.

How to offload an iOS app?

Here is how to offload a specific app on your iPad or iPhone.

Use the Settings app to offload apps that you want to bring back easily
  1. Open Settings app, then tap “General,” then “iPhone Storage.”
  2. Scroll down – you will see a list of apps, together with space they take. Tap the app you want to offload, and then tap “Offload App.”

Offloading the app is a great way to free up space, and you should use it (rather than deleting the app completely) if you think you will use the app some time soon.

The best thing is that after you offload the app, it remains on the Home screen. Take a closer look – there is a small cloud icon next to the app’s name.

Reinstalling the offloaded iOS app is easy
After the app is offloaded, its icon remains on the Home screen

Now, when you want the app back, simply tap its icon and the download will start immediately. There is no need to go to the App Store, find the app and download it as new.

The app will open with the exactly the same settings as before. There is no need to customize it or sign in again.

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