How to Disable or Restrict Apps from Getting Deleted on iOS 12

No matter how big the storage on an iPhone or iPad is, you always reach a point when it runs out of space. Photos, videos, and social media galleries — all combine to exacerbate this problem. While you can attempt to free up space by removing unused apps, iOS often takes it upon itself to do that automatically. Offload Unused Apps sounds like a neat feature to have, but it's not that convenient in practice.

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Although rarely used, finding out that an app has to be re-downloaded when you need it the most won't bode well with anyone. To make matters worse, combine a sizable download with cellular data, and you have a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, iOS 12 lets you stop apps from getting deleted quite easily, so it's nothing to be concerned about.

But what about instances where you don’t want anyone else from deleting apps on your device? The iOS 12 has a neat set of restrictions to help you out, so let’s check those out as well while we move along.

Disabling Automatic App Offloading

Obviously, you must’ve noticed how certain apps require re-downloading when you want to open them. It happens due to a process known as ‘offloading,’ where unused apps are deleted automatically to free up space. Of course, this procedure won’t remove any associated documents, files, or settings, they thereby allowing you to easily pick up from where you left off.

If you don’t like iOS 12 from deleting apps without permission, you can turn off the automatic offloading. It takes mere seconds to do that, and here's how you can do that.

Step 1: Open the Settings app.

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Step 2: Scroll down, tap iTunes & App Store, and then turn off the slider next to Offload Unused Apps.

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That should prompt iOS 12 to stop deleting any unused apps automatically.

Manually Offloading Apps

Turning off automatic offloading doesn’t mean that you can’t take it upon yourself to offload unused apps when the need arises. If you start to run out of space, use the following steps to free up some space in a jiffy.

Step 1: On the iOS Settings app, tap General, and then tap iPhone/iPad Storage.

You should now see a list of apps installed on your device. Tap on one that you want to offload.

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Step 2: Tap Offload App on the following screen to remove the app. Any space listed within the App Size section should be freed up.

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Note: Don’t worry about any documents or data associated with the app. They won’t be removed since you are only offloading the app, and not permanently deleting it.

Step 3: Simply tap the app icon on the Home screen to re-downloaded the app whenever you want to use it again.

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Tip: Offloaded apps have a cloud-shaped symbol underneath their respective icons on the Home screen.

Restricting Apps from Getting Deleted

Stopping iOS from automatically deleting apps is one thing, but what about preventing others from removing them without your permission? If you share your iPhone or iPad with kids, then you may not want him or her to remove your apps and hide their activities. That's where you can use iOS 12's Screen Time restrictions to stop that from happening   easily.

Step 1: Open the Settings app, and then tap Screen Time.

On the Screen Time panel, tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.

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Step 2: Tap iTunes & App Store Purchases.

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Note: If you find the iTunes & App Store Purchases option grayed out, turn on the switch next to Content & Privacy Restrictions, and you should be good to go.

Step 3: Under the Store Purchases & Redownloads section, tap Deleting Apps.

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Step 4: On the subsequent screen, tap Don’t Allow.

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That’s it. No one should be able to delete apps from now on unless you explicitly choose to lift off the restriction. 

Note: If you don’t have a restrictions passcode in place, we recommend that you set one up by tapping the Use Screen Time Passcode option located within the Screen Time panel.

Restricting Family Member Devices

Additionally, you can also choose to remotely manage the devices of any family members that you’ve added as part of Apple’s Family Sharing feature right from within the Screen Time panel itself.

Note: If you’re yet to add family members, tap your profile name within the Settings app, and then use the Family Sharing option on the subsequent screen to do that.

Step 1: Tap the name of the family member under the Family section.

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Step 2: On the subsequent screen, tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.

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The next steps are similar to the ones required to restrict apps from being deleted on your device — tap iTunes & App Store Purchases > Deleting Apps > Don't Allow.

Once you've done that, the family member should no longer be able to delete apps without your permission.

Always Good to Have Control

Despite Apple's best intentions, it’s vital that you do the offloading part yourself. Only you know what apps you won’t really need regardless of usage. Sadly, Apple's algorithm can’t determine something like that precisely. 

And if you are about to hand over your iOS device to someone else, you now know what precautions you need to take before you do that. It sure feels good to be in control, right?

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Dilum Senevirathne has written about tech and finance for over five years. When he isn’t messing around with the latest iOS apps, you can catch him tweaking a collection of IoT gadgets. Dilum is a management accounting student and a prospective charterholder.