As hinted by some new iTunes metadata discovered by the folks over at AppAdvice, the ability to remove Apple’s stock iOS apps such as Stocks, Compass, and Voice Messages is coming very soon. Two new keys labeled “isFirstParty” and “isFirstPartyHideableApp” have recently been added by Apple in iTunes metadata (shown below), where all the information about an app is stored.
The source however points out that since both keys also feature a boolean value “true/false”, it is likely that that not all of the apps will be hideable after all. Tim Cook has previously said in an interview that 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”.
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.
Apple is most likely to announce these changes at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June when “iOS 10” is announced.
Earlier this year, when Apple released the latest version of Apple Configurator (version 2.2), it introduced the ability to remove stock apps for business and education markets for mass configuration of iOS devices.