How to Completely and Permanently Delete an App from Your iPhone

how to permanently remove app iphone delete
Share the knowledge

If you’re reading this because you’re wondering how to permanently and completely remove an app from your iPhone, it’s likely that you’ve had the following experience: you deleted the app from your iPhone (you know that you did!), and yet during your next app update there it is, back on your phone, as if reanimated from the dead! If you’re wondering why that darned app keeps coming back, here’s what may be going on.

You see, starting with iOS 14, there is a difference between removing an app from your home screen, and completely removing it from your phone, and Apple does not make that obvious.

Put another way, Apple changed things out from under you. The very same thing that has, for years, completely removed an app from your phone no longer does!

Starting with iOS 14, which was released to the public in September of 2020, your home screen isn’t actually where your apps live. They appear on your home screen, but they live in your ‘app library’. So removing an app the way that you’ve been used to doing ever since… well… ever (ok, maybe not ever, but it feels like it, the first iPhone was released to the public in June of 2007) no longer works!

What this means is that, since iOS 14, when you remove the app from your screen – even though you can’t see the app any more – even though you think that you removed it – even though you did exactly what you’ve always done to remove an app from your phone – it actually still exists on your phone.

The Internet Patrol is completely free, and reader-supported. Your tips via CashApp, Venmo, or Paypal are appreciated! Receipts will come from ISIPP.

CashApp us Square Cash app link

Venmo us Venmo link

Paypal us Paypal link

Don’t be misled by this!
Starting with iOS 14 this only removes the app from your screen, not your phone!

In the example above, we have long-pressed on the icon for the Parkmobile app, and as you can see, this offers three options: “Edit Home Screen”, “Share App”, and “Remove App”. It’s pretty clear that the disconnect (by which we mean the difference in wording) between “edit home screen” and “remove app” suggests that ‘remove app’ should work like it always has: removing the app from your phone.

But nooooooo!

The app is still on the phone!
Parkmobile is no longer on this phone's screen, but it is STILL on the phone! It is still living in the App Library

Now you may not even realize that the app is still on your phone unless and until you go to update your apps, and you see an update for that “deleted” app. Or maybe you did “Update All”, and suddenly there is that app, back on your screen, and you are wondering “WTF is that doing there??”

Now that you know why that darned app came back (or, rather, never really left), here’s how to deep 6 it for good. (In case you don’t know what “deep 6” means, it means to “get rid of something for good”.)

How to Completely and Permanently Delete an App from Your iPhone

As you’ve seen above, “removing” the app from your screen does not remove it from your phone. So don’t even bother with long-pressing the app on your home screen.

Instead, swipe left through the screens on your phone until you can’t swipe left any more. When you can’t swipe left any more – in other words when you are on the last, right-most screen, you will be on the App Library screen.

iPhone App Library
sample app library on iphone

Now find the app in the app library, and long press it. Select ‘Delete App’ from the pop-up menu.

Long press the app icon and press on ‘Delete App’
how to completely permanently delete remove app from iphone

Note the difference between “Remove App” (from the home screen) and “Delete App” (from the phone entirely). We think that difference is all-too subtle, and that the terms are essentially interchangeable (especially considering how prior to iOS 14 you did delete the app by removing it!) but hey, Apple didn’t ask us before making the change. Perhaps they should have.

The Internet Patrol is completely free, and reader-supported. Your tips via CashApp, Venmo, or Paypal are appreciated! Receipts will come from ISIPP.

CashApp us Square Cash app link

Venmo us Venmo link

Paypal us Paypal link

Get New Internet Patrol Articles by Email!


Share the knowledge

8 thoughts on “How to Completely and Permanently Delete an App from Your iPhone

  1. 16.5.1
    Screen time off, hold on icon in library (which suck’s it’s not opening the sub section to look at the 20 more it says are there), the icon starts shaking and the Browser folder opens and it wants to move it there.

  2. This article is outdated. To permanently delete an app now (IOS 14.8), long press its icon until the popup menu appears, then select “delete.” There is also an option to just remove it from tour home screen as well.

      1. I’m having the same trouble and it’s with Facebook, so not a pre-loaded app. This is so frustrating!

        1. I wanted to pop back on and say I ended up having to contact Apple support and the reason I still wasn’t able to delete apps was because I had screen time enabled on my phone. No idea what the correlation is but if you have screen time enabled, please turn that off and then try going through the steps mentioned on this page again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.