Changes to iTunes metadata suggest that Apple will soon make it easier to hide first-party apps on the iOS homescreen, solving a long-standing complaint of iPhone and iPad owners.
Titles on the App Store now have two new keys, "isFirstParty" and "isFirstPartyHideableApp," according to App Advice. The code strings reportedly began appearing a few weeks ago, although their values have so far been set to "false."
That may mean that a future version of iOS will let people hide more — though probably not all — default apps. Users have complained that unwanted Apple apps still take up space on the homescreen, and must be moved into folders or separate pages to make room, since they normally can't be deleted.
One exception is iCloud Drive, toggled on or off through the Settings app's iCloud menu. Apple's Configurator tool can also be used to strip native apps, but is intended for businesses, schools, and other organizations.
In September Apple CEO Tim Cook explained that while some default apps can't be removed because of interdependencies, others don't share the same burden and are likely to be removable in the future. Conceivably Apple could implement a way of hiding apps in a later iOS 9 update, or let the feature wait until iOS 10.