HiddenApps lets you disable iAds and hide stock Apple apps, no jailbreak required

By , Mar 11, 2013

HiddenApps 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)HiddenApps 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)

Occasionally, an app escapes the watchful eye of Apple’s review team and gets released on the App Store despite ignoring Apple’s stringent rules for third-party iOS development. HiddenApps by David Goelzhaeuser, a 15-year-old German iOS developer, is one such example.

The whole point of this free application is to let you hide Apple’s stock apps from your Home screen, like Passbook, Newsstand or Stocks – no jailbreak required.

It can also disable Apple’s iAds altogether and give you access to a Field Test mode which gives you precise readings of your cellular signal strength. You better download as it’s going down in 5, 4, 3, 2…

Upon launch, the app greets you with the options to disable iAds and hide stock Apple apps (see the screenies top of post), in addition to the iOS Diagnostics and Field Test mode, which requires a cellular iOS device.

At first blush, I thought the program wasn’t working.

Upon choosing the Hide Apps option and deciding which stock apps to hide, I was yanked out of the app and taken back to my Home screen. There, an app called Spoof attempted to download itself, but was failing no matter how many times I hit the Retry button.

RTF time.

HiddenApps 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 004)HiddenApps 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 005)

Turns out that’s the expected behavior when disabling iAds and hiding stock apps.

Spoof isn’t expected to download successfully so just dismiss the download prompt (by tapping the Done button) and remove the Spoof app icon from your Home screen. As it appears right in place of an Apple stock app icon you’re hiding, removing the Spoof app icon effectively hides the underlying Apple stock app.

HiddenApps 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 003)

Don’t worry, your stock app won’t get wiped out along with its data – HiddenApps simply hides its icon. My only gripe with HiddenApps is having to repeat the process after a respring or reboot because iOS will automatically re-enable the iAd process and unhide all your stock apps.

As for disabling iAds, you have two choices: either choose the iAdOptOut button to be taken to Apple’s iAd opt-out web site (which only disables interest-based targeting, not iAds in general) or hit the Disable All iAds button, which does what the name says and requires you to go through the failed-app-download process outlined in the previous paragraph.

HiddenApps is available for all non-jailbroken iOS devices.

iTunes release notes cleverly bill it as “a simple and easy app that shows you tips and tricks about your iDevice,” but the developer, of course, mentions at his web site the iAd and app hiding features.

Hiding stock apps normally requires a jailbroken device, so this program should come in handy for all non-jailbroken people other there.

Better hurry up, though, and download HiddenApps while you can because I’d bet my shirt that it won’t be available on the App Store for much time.

UPDATE: It looks like Apple pulled the plug on HiddenApps.

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  • http://twitter.com/toukale Tou Karl

    This app will get pulled soon.

    • Guest

      Everyone knows that and the article says it too, dumbass.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Salar.Aghaei Salar Aghaei

    Just Downloading it. Nice to have this kinds of apps around.

  • Kaptivator

    Thanks for this.

  • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FINALLY….. I’M RID OF THAT STUPID ‘NEWSSTAND’ APP!!!!

    • http://twitter.com/rud0lf77 rud0lf77

      LOL You could have downloaded a Tweak before by jailbreaking. Or using StifleStand. Or the Website that does the same as this App!

      • Mohammad Ridwan

        no jailbreak required

      • http://twitter.com/rud0lf77 rud0lf77

        I have mentioned two methods that don’t require a Jailbreak.

      • regkilla

        dumb ass

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000603361739 Osama Muhammed

    I wonder how many reviewers will be fired over this

  • http://twitter.com/monster_hazardo Roger Riekki

    Sprongtomize people? Hello.

    • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

      For non-jailbroken iDevices sir? Hello.

    • disqusted

      Springtomize does nothing about iAds, which is half the appeal here… Though I use Springtomize 2, myself, and it’s one of the most robust tweaks/mods/apps (whatever) out there for JB phones. It does such a wide variety of things, across so many areas. It easily can replace 50 “one trick pony” tweaks. So I’m clearly FOR Springtomize, but I think it has little relevence in this context…

  • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

    Grabbed it incase the unexpected happens and I have to restore when Crapple is no longer signing a jailbreakeable firmware.

  • queen_ir3ne

    The ads don’t disable on all apps. =/

    • http://twitter.com/VisavesA  /154/35 

      It disable “iAds” as it said.

    • Mohammed Sahib

      I guess not all apps use iADs.

      • disqusted

        You’re correct— they don’t. Some other ad serving/user tracking platforms, for example, are AdMob and Flurry.

  • Ben

    How did they let something this blatantly obvious get through?

    • Mohammed Sahib

      Speaks volumes of Apple quality control of late.

      • disqusted

        Or lack thereof, right? Ironic, considering their totalitarian death-grip on “control”. If you’re gonna disallow apps that do outrageous things like “compensate for your absurdly restrictive, babysitting UX”, (toggles, anyone?) then don’t get caught jerking off like this… allowing apps that do who-knows what. If you’re gonna be a hardass about things, at least be consistent! You d-heads!

      • Mohammed Sahib

        Actually I meant quite the apposite of what I said. Sarcasm, anyone?

      • disqusted

        No, I actually understood that you were being sarcastic. It’s pretty obvious. I only repeated it in the non-sarcastic way because I was trying to open a reply acknowledging your comment was correct… hence the “right?” No worries. You just misinterpreted my interpretation as a misinterpretation. Got it? Good. :)

      • Ben

        Stop spamming my Disqus

      • disqusted

        Must’ve been some bug or weirdness, cause it did it to mine as well… I had like 13 replies from him on this post or something absurd. I just now happened to decide to look at the assumed massive reading project and I see that clearly there’s not 13 replies to the comment I made just above… so I dunno WTF that was about… oh well. *shrug*

  • ap3604

    Spelling error in the article above:

    Should be “RTFM time” instead of just “RTF time” above the 2nd set of pictures.

  • Dave Elg

    Guess I just missed it. The app still appears in the app store but when I go to install it, I get “An unknown error has occurred”. Oh well..

    • http://twitter.com/digitalfeind Dani Hayes

      It’s there. Just search by name “hiddenapps”. The link didn’t work for me either.

      • Dave Elg

        Finding the app wasn’t a problem. I just can’t seem to download it due to this unknown error thing.

  • Borat

    VERY NICE!

  • Joey41

    Had to reboot twice to get back the icons

    • Ian

      you sure you pressed “Unhide all Apps?” Weird. You deleted “poof” that replaced it? I guess restore…?

  • Ian

    Cool! :D
    Installed it, got rid of Newsstand, which installed “poof” and it kept saying it failed to download. No biggy. I just made it wiggly, deleted “poof” and all gone! Including Newsstand! I’m downloading this to iTunes just in case they even get rid of it in past purchases…

  • thecalstanley

    The person who made it made my tech blog app! He is a great developer and how he did this was amazing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    I GOT IT..

    • nima

      so please send me and other who want.

  • http://twitter.com/tdhurst Tyler Hurst

    That is one seriously shady looking app. Hope it ONLY does what it says.

  • macmurry

    I had to switch to the UK app store. It is not on the US app store.

  • http://twitter.com/notoriousTEG tim

    waaaaah this isn’t available in the Australian AppStore :(

  • Max L.E.

    I think it has allready been taken down!

  • http://www.computercrown.com ComputerMan

    non us users only! :(

  • Guest

    Can anyone send me the IPA? just email me at dedegarrido@hotmail.com please….

  • just_trying_to_help

    It’s gone now :(

  • http://twitter.com/angel0pez Angel Lopez

    Too late! :[

  • Jo

    Why would people want to download this? WHO KNOWS what else its doing under the covers! Maybe its transfering all of your photos, videos, bank docs and other crap up to its mothership. Dont cry when you’re identity is stolen. Want to play risky? Go buy and Android — where no one really knows who develops them and what those apps are doing.

    • klahanas

      And so may anything else… Why download anything at all? That would be more consistent with your position.

    • EpicFacepalm

      Ad companies already do this. Check out Fluffy. It’s almost in every app on App Store.

  • Josh Jackson

    Just deleted this app and now my ipad acting strange. Battery percentage shows 100% when was only at 96% before, apps have moved to different pages and when I try to move them back the ipad restarts and the screen is dimmed down.. I’ve rebooted the ipad 3 times and still same issues. Hope I don’t have a virus

  • disqusted

    I have a question for knowledgable users who are familiar with non-jailbroken devices— I’m quite positive just by assumption, but access to the filesystem is restricted to (and home/root is at) /var/mobile, at best, right?

    I know how to disable iAds quickly and easily without using any apps at all (definitely secure, seeing as you’re doing the steps manually)— but it ultimately depends on what you have access to on a stock iOS install.

    I forgot my other point, I’ll post if I remember.

    • disqusted

      Remembered. What exactly does the “diagnostics app” do? Anyone know the path to the app? Permissions are not a concern of mine; I’m just wondering where it resides.

      Finally, I just realized that I could use iFunbox’s “emulate non-jailbroken filesystem/device” ability to help answer my questions regarding default access permissions.

  • disqusted

    I’d be interested in analyzing/tracing/debugging this app to see if it is indeed doing anything sneaky or potentially malicious.

    Even considering the App Store’s mistake, remember— non-jailbroken devices are still subject to sandboxing, dynamic/privatized memory address space allocation, kernel restriction or control of inter-app data access and exchange (like data pipes, reading outside of the app’s own assigned memory space allocation, signing/certs, etc).

    In layman’s terms: even with malicious intent, an app running under stock iOS is quite limited in what harm it can do vs a jailbroken device. So while it can do “shady stuff”, the perceived threat is likely greater than the actual threat.

    The exception to this is a jailbreak exploit… But that involves multiple layers of exploitation, compromising several different security measures, then finding an innovative way to use security exploit A to get to exploit D or E. It’s a chain of creativity, technical know-how and a bit of luck, too. This is why it took a team of brilliant individuals (evasi0n team) months and months to find such a thing— and is why they are so revered by so many. Few people have that level of skill, tenacity and abstract thinking to pull that off.

    Point? This fellow may be bright, but he’s not team evasi0n— be assured.

  • http://twitter.com/AnonDesi AnonDesi

    I hope that app code is open sourced! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001809600195 Nada Tosnas

    Besides not being in the appstore, it doesn’t eve work anymore, it just shows you tips to ‘save battery life’ and ‘how to make a screenshot’. Lame.

  • Uwe

    The app is called “Poof” not “Spoof”. It’s in the screenshot but consistently wrong in the article.

  • Shane

    It’s amazing to me the efforts that people will go to to remove an ad that is allowing a company to provide technology for free. If there were no such thing as iAds then most apps would not be free and most companies wouldn’t invest the time and money into creating them, especially not startups. Why would you NOT want the companies making these apps to monetize and keep allowing you to get these for free?!?!?!