Apple will make a significant change in the next few months for iOS. The change is hinted at in new iTunes metadata.
Finally say goodbye to unused native apps
Apple has added two new keys labeled “isFirstParty” and “isFirstPartyHideableApp” in iTunes metadata. These two new values started showing up a few weeks ago on every app in the App Store. The iTunes metadata is where all the information about an app is stored. It shows things like the date it was released, the App Store category it’s in, its size, etc. The new keys suggest the ability to remove apps such as Stocks, Compass, and Voice Messages is coming very soon.
The keys feature a boolean value (true/false), which also suggests not all of the apps will be hideable. This fact also makes sense.
Back in September, Apple CEO Tim Cook told Buzzfeed “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. ”
Here is an actual screenshot showing the new keys. Every single app in the App Store now has these keys. So far they are all set to “false,” but their mere existence shows the mechanism Apple will use to choose which apps you will be able to remove from your iOS Springboard.
Another clue: In Apple Configurator 2.2, released earlier this year, the ability to remove native apps was given to business and education markets for mass configuration of iOS devices.
Apple is most likely to announce these changes at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June when “iOS 10” is announced. Initially available through iOS betas only, the change would become available to the general public when Apple releases the “iPhone 7” in the fall.
Personally, I hope we see this change in 2016. Just think, the days of the handy Tips and Compass apps may be numbered. Better still, we can finally say goodbye to those “Apple Trash” folders many of us have created over the years.
Are you excited about this possible change?
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