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iOS 10 will allow deleting first-party apps cluttering homescreens

Answering a long-standing complaint, iOS 10 will finally let people delete apps native to the operating system, potentially clearing up both storage and homescreen space.

People with the current developer beta installed can remove most Apple apps like any other software. This includes some that are frequently interconnected, like Maps, Contacts, Calendar, FaceTime, and Music.

Because people may want or need them later, Apple has added the native apps to the App Store. There's even a listing for Home, which isn't available for iOS 9. Indeed all native apps are invisible during App Store searches on pre-iOS 10 devices.

Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted at the possibility of deleting first-party apps in September last year. At the time, he cautioned that some apps might have to stay in place, since they could cause problems if they disappeared. Accordingly some apps — like Phone — aren't duplicated on the App Store.

The new approach echoes one Google has taken with Android for some time. In theory, it could allow Apple to adopt a similarly nimble approach to system updates — Android users can regularly update core apps without having to upgrade the entire OS.