Would you like Apple to move built-in apps to the App Store? [Poll]

Would you like Apple to move built-in apps to the App Store? [Poll]

The iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad currently come pre-installed with range of apps including Messages, Calendar, Photos, Camera, Clock, Maps, Videos, Notes, Reminders, Game Center, Newsstand, iTunes Store, App Store, Settings, Mail, Safari, and music. None of those apps can be downloaded from the App Store, nor can they be deleted. They simply are. But what if that changed? What if Apple still pre-installed those same apps, but updated them via the App Store?

Perhaps Apple can already update built-in apps outside of firmware updates, perhaps not. To date they haven't taken advantage of any such functionality. They haven't pushed out a new version of just Safari to patch a vulnerability or exploit. They haven't pushed out a new version of mail to add a clever new feature. They haven't pushed out a new version of Game Center to remove those super-annoying "[Your soon-to-be-former-friend] has challenged you to [scummy app you'll now be avoiding]." When there's a long gap between iOS updates, there's a long gap between built-in iOS app updates.

Apple does do this with some of their apps, the non-built in, non-pre-installed ones. iBooks, iTunes U, Podcasts, Remote, Find my Friends, and Find my iPhone are all available from the App Store, and can be updated whenever time allows and need arises.

In a perfect world everything would just update, bit by bit, in the background all the time, and everything would always be up to date. Until we live in that world, do you prefer things the way they are now, with built-in apps tied to iOS updates, or would you prefer having them all in the App Store? Vote up top and give me your reasons in the comments below!

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Would you like Apple to move built-in apps to the App Store? [Poll]


It makes no sense for Apple to do that. Google is only doing this, because manufactures and carriers take forever to update the phones, while Apple has complete control. Google knows that manufactures take a while to build there software for the updated version, and then carriers take even longer, adding bloatware and other stuff. Apple doesn`t have to worry about that. If there were bugs to fix in a certain app, they could just release a software update, they don`t need to have the apps separate. It just doesn`t make sense.

Very true.. it's an ongoing issue. Moto X is probably going to get updates more often though. Will be interesting to see how this impacts those like Samsung if Google takes off with it's own brand through Motorola.

I'd probably have said "Meh. Makes no difference to me" rather than "Yes. Every app should be on the App Store" if their products, more often than not, didn't suck so badly or were simply pointless.
But most OS providers are often guilty of loading up their products with substandard apps, rather than risk no one using them at all (rather like cable companies who do packages of stations we don't want either) - and in Apple's case, I guess we can be eternally grateful to whoever talked Jobs of the ledge, when he originally planned to only allow Apple apps on iOS.

I'd love for to to be this way. I think it would be the beginning of moving towards allowing us to choose default apps like we do on our macs.

I agree, and even if they don't move in that direction at least I can get rid of some of the apps that I don't use. I would assume that itunes and the app store would have to be included in the OS, but safari, mail, clock, etc should be in the app store.

You never want to be able to delete some of the core functionality of the device. I can see some of them, but the apps that function the hardware (Phone, FaceTime, Camera, Music, etc.) no way. Maybe not have them as app icons, but have them accessible in other ways.

Sent from the iMore App

Whether or not the built-in apps are on the App Store, I have always strongly felt that Apple should provide the option to delete or hide these apps. As it stands, I never use Apple's "Weather" [yet], "Stocks", "Newsstand", nor "Passbook" [yet]. I very rarely use the "Compass" app.


Its akin to bloatware from carriers, that people are so proud of not having on their iPhones, its Apple bloatware.

It's not bloatware, very small in size, but it is crap some of us don't need or want.
Someone needs to come up with a word...
I think it just makes the "non-geek", or not tech savvy look like they have a clue!?

I would love this, but it makes no business sense for Apple to do this. The individual app update feature does make a lot of sense however and I really hope they do this. They should also allow users to set defaults apps for mail, browsers and maps; I really want this feature now that Google has stopped Google Sync and I am forced to use the Gmail app; don't get me wrong it's a great app but I'd still like some further integration like Mail.app

"I would love this, but it makes no business sense for Apple to do this. "

Care to explain how that hurts apples business?

Because at the moment the majority of the iPhone users, who are largely clueless about any features beyond the obvious and the built-in, are stuck with the built-in apps and have no reason to stop using them. So why would Apple want to give Google a hand in luring them to the Google ecosystem by giving them more of a choice in what to use?

As I said, I personally would love this, but from a business perspective they would only be losing even more consumers to the Google ecosystem.

I disagree. I would envision that they would ship the OS with the apps but they would be updated via the store and also be capable of being removed altogether for the people that choose to. Currently people can already chose to use Googles eco system on the phone if they want to.

Hell, most don't even no how to DELETE their apps, let alone take a picture.

It's just a phone. Their simple amazed by the lack of tactile feel with a touch screen.

Been thinking about this in regards to iTunes Radio. Hard to believe they would exclude all the older iPod Touch and iPhone 3GS users out there. Can't see any hardware restrictions on those devices.

Whether they're in the App Store or not, I'd like to see more frequent updates from Apple. Especially with iOS 7 and how quickly they pulled that together I would imagine they didn't get to do everything they wanted to in mail, calendar, etc. Why should we have to wait until iOS 8 to get updates?

Don't you think having all apps available from the App Store would slow down the updates? If the OS apps are integrated into the OS, then that would force Apple to fix other bug issues, along with any app issue that they originally needed to fix, in a update pushed out. So I would rather, for the quality sake of my updates, have the apps stay integrated into the OS.

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I checked off "Other" because I'm fine with the way it is now, but it also might be a little more convenient if they change it, as I don't even use most of the built in apps. I have no use for them.

Usually, when apple needs to update iOS because of an app that needs fixes, it doesn't take them very long to do so. It's only an update for a few fixes, it's not like it's a major update with a bunch of new features. So basically, it takes Apple about the same amount of time to come up with a small update for iOS (only for a few fixes), as it does to come up with an update for one of their third party apps. So for me, the only reason I would rather them put the currently permanent apps onto the app store, is that it would give you a choice whether or not I want those apps on my device.

If they are preinstalled, there is really no need to have them in the App Store. If you can delete them and want them back, just reinstall them from 'not on this device'. I'd love more frequent updates, but it ain't gonna happen. It would cut into their claims of a bazillion new features hyperbole when they do their annual ios update.

I think it would be nice to be able to update pre-installed apps on an individual basis. Currently Apple has to issue an OS-level OTA update to fix issues or add features to default apps which requires carrier review/approval/etc. It would be so much easier, for example, just to push out a Safari update to the app store instead of through all the carriers.

There are tons of things i'd like apple to do. They aren't. Hell i wish they'd make itunes not bloated or laggy on windows. Not gonna happen. And if they fix that they'll just break or remove some other very needed feature in order to do something useless like add a colored background.

I voted other just because I would like to see Apple limit the number of stock apps to even less than what they have and put the rest on the App Store. You have to have things like the camera, contacts, music apps, etc built in and there is little need to update them. However, on stuff like maps, notes, etc, just give us the choice. I pretty much use Google maps and Evernote in place of the stock apps but the stock apps are still there cluttering up my device. However they do things in the future, they need to find a way to update stock apps without having to wait for an entire OS update to keep things fresh in a more timely manner. Example: There is no sense sitting on a major camera update for six months or more waiting on the OS update. That has never made any sense.

I want the ability, to remove preinstalled apps that i don't use. I don't know, why we are forced to not remove them. Also, the idea of Rene Ritchie to update apps (Safari or Maps) without pushing an ios update, is excellent. I hope that Apple, will move fast now with the software. They reinvented ios in such a short time so i see no reason for them for being slowly in software updates. I except this year the quick reply sms being added to ios.

I would love this, especially if Apple allowed their stock Phone app to be downloaded. And if it would mean updates to stock apps faster than once a year, then yes.

The stock (system-level) PHONE app? What would you like to see different that another app could tempt you with if this was ever possible?? Honestly curious

A clean interface and simplicity. I plan on using an iPad mini 2 as my cell phone come October, and I've been using Google Voice and text+ as my phone solution on my iPad. text+ has a cool (albeit Android) interface, and it's cool. But it has ads with no way to remove them, which is the worst. The Google Voice interface is kind of clunky. It's simply preference (and a little snobbery lol), so yeah. The stock app would be more consistent.

If I could delete them they can come installed. Not being able to delete or even hide some in folders is infuriating.

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I'm with you on that! I think it is all fair game for Apple to have their pre-installed apps but there are some that really they should allow the buyer to remove from their phones and then if they then at a later date want to put them back in then allow them to be re-downloaded from the app store.

Things like Newsstand! That is something that I don't use, never have used and I very much doubt I ever will use. Now I know there are many that do make use of it and fair enough they can have it but I would love to be able to remove it or at least make it hidden so that I don't have to see an ugly fake wooden rack. Same with Passbook and Game Center.

At least if they don't to allow them to be removed they could at least make them hidden. I can count on less than two fingers the number of times I have run that Game Center and never run passbook or run newsstand and they just blight my little iOS landscape having them there. LOL

A simple solution wouldn't be to delete them, but to allow them to be hidden. You don't want a Noob to accidentally delete the Phone app and you want the Expert to be able to declutter the home screen. Another Idea would be to turn most of the apps into simple buttons and widgets in the Control Center, Notification Center and the Settings app.

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Things like Newsstand, Stocks, Passbook, yes. Because I want to be able to decide what I put on here. Mail, Phone, Messages, etc. leave on the phone. Just make all of them folderable if you put them stock and don't let me delete.

This is how the bundled apps in Window 8 work and I quite like not having to have all the apps I don't use sitting on my system taking up space. I don't see any reason to object to such a thing.

I want to be able to delete Apple's built-in apps! My niece and nephew have no use for Stocks on their iPods! I also want to be able to change my default email app and browser!