The release of the initial beta of iOS 9.3 seems to be the gift that just keeps on giving. The pre-release firmware arrived only a few days ago, and initially it seemed like any evolutionary upgrade to the platform. After some investigation it actually turned out that Apple had invested significant time and resources into actually introducing a number of new features rather than simply focusing on performance and stability. Now, it turns out that Apple has added more than what we first thought, in the form of a way to hide those pesky stock apps that come pre-installed on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Finding Night Shift in iOS 9.3 was a pretty big deal. Uncovering the fact that Siri had additional language support for specific regions, not so much of a big deal. Finding out that Apple had released a nice new shiny Configuration Profile for over-the-air beta installations for developers was also fairly big news for the development community. Though being able to hide those apps that you never actually asked to be installed on your phone in the first place, is something of a big deal, and is in fact something that feels entirely unlike Apple.
It probably won’t surprise you that the process isn’t as simple as flicking a toggle to hide or unhide the chosen apps through the Settings app. It actually involves accessing the app’s unique Bundle Identifier, and then using Apple Configurator 2.2 Beta with a command to “Do not allow some apps”; so you’d essentially be hiding the app based on its identifier. It then requires the device to be plugged in and have the profile applied for the changes to take effect and for the chosen apps to simply vanish from the Home screen.
It’s not exactly a “user friendly” solution and it does come with a few trade-offs, such as wiping the device when processed, and needing a little bit of technical knowledge. Until now, users have really relied one of two ways to effectively get the same result without needing to jailbreak their device. A handy little folders and reboot trick is one such method, while another solution involves a fairly drawn out process of creating icon masks and hiding folder backgrounds.
This particular feature in iOS 9.3 isn’t something that Apple is going to promote, but it’s certainly a notable addition.
You may also like to check out:
- iOS 9.3 Features: Everything New In One Place
- iOS 9.3 Jailbreak Demoed On Video
- iOS 9.2 / 9.1 Jailbreak Status Update