Apple is well-known for carefully controlling its product ecosystem, so it’s not very surprising that the company makes most of its own apps undeletable. But consider the software that Apple permanently bonds to your devices, like Mail, Reminders, and iBooks. They say a lot about the company’s priorities, what it thinks its users want, and especially right now, what it wants its users to buy.
Take the newest software you can’t delete: the Apple Watch app. This sleek black square started popping up on iPhones a couple of weeks ago as part of the iOS 8.2 release. Apple Watch preorders don’t start until April 10, and the device won’t be in stores until April 24. Since every iPhone owner is also a potential Apple Watch owner, it’s obviously in the company’s interest to hype the product now. You can’t really use the app yet, so it’s effectively an ad. Or, as CNET puts it, it’s “the cold stare of capitalism urging [you] ever-closer to a multi-hundred dollar accessory purchase.”
Many of Apple’s other default apps, meanwhile, face stiff competition from third-party alternatives. Lists of which apps you should be using instead of the ones that came with your device pop up with regularity. But these workarounds “can’t change the shortcomings of your iPhone,” as Tech CheatSheet puts it. The default apps are still there, taking up space. If you really want to delete the Stocks or Tips apps, you’ll need to jailbreak your iPhone, a process most people don’t want to bother dealing with. (Apple didn’t respond to questions about why it makes only some apps deletable.)
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