It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for — new tags in the metadata of Apple’s iPhone apps likely mean we won’t have to live with all of the company’s pesky pre-loaded apps much longer.
AppAdvice reported today that Apple has quietly added two new keys in to the iTunes metadata — where all the information about an app is stored — labelled “isFirstParty” and “isFirstPartyHideable.”
The new keys suggests that users will get the option to hide Apple’s first-party apps, if not fully remove them.
While exceeding welcome news to most iPhone and iPad users, whose unused iOS apps such as Tips, Stocks and Compass clutter up valuable phone real estate, it’s not entirely surprising information.
Tim Cook hinted at the possibility in a Buzzfeed interview this past September, saying: “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 [for you to remove them].”
It seems likely that this new option will be announced along with iOS 10 at the company’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in June and become available to the general public with the release of the iPhone 7.
For Android readers who may be wondering why this news is cause for celebration: the iPhone’s stock apps are applications created by Apple that come pre-loaded on the device and cannot be removed. Some may be useful–for instance FaceTime or the Weather app–but many stock apps go commonly unused. It depends on the user, but some examples of unpopular stock apps include the Apple Watch app, Health app, iBooks app or Voice Memos app.
Related reading: A visual look at Apple’s 40-year history