How to prevent apps from being deleted on iPhone and iPad

By , Mar 29, 2016

iOS 9 Home screen apps jiggle mode iPhone screenshot 002

Suppose you’re a parent to a little monster who just wouldn’t stop relentlessly exploring the world around them. Or, maybe you own a cat that likes to play games on your iPad. No cat? Well, how about a naughty little nephew who would tap-tap-tap on your unattended iPhone like there’s no tomorrow?

TL;DR: let others use your device and risk accidental app deletions lest you do something about it.

In this tutorial, you’re going to learn how to set up an iOS device so that no one will be able to delete apps from it without knowing your restrictions passcode.

My iPad-totting Mom used to have exactly the same problem where she would delete apps by accident.

Apple, in all its wisdom, has  thought about those among us who play 24/7 tech support for our families and has mercifully implemented some rather useful options within iOS’s robust restriction settings to make our daily mobile computing easier.

How to prevent apps from being deleted on iPhone and iPad

1) Go to Settings → General → Restrictions on your device.

2) If asked, provide your Restrictions passcode.

enter passcode enable restrictions

People who have not used Restrictions before must tap Enable Restrictions at the top in order to define a restrictions passcode that’s necessary to change these settings.

Tip: For your own security, your restrictions passcode should be different from the passcode for unlocking your iOS device. If you forget your restrictions passcode, you won’t be able to adjust Restrictions unless your restore the software on your device.

3) In the section with the Allow headline, toggle the switch labeled Deleting Apps to the OFF position.

iOS 9 Restrictions Deleting Apps disabled iPhone screenshot 001

4) Don’t forget to tap the back arrow until you’re out of Restrictions and back at the main Settings menu. Otherwise, these changes won’t take effect if you just quit Settings.

Flipping the toggle removes the “x” from the bottom left corner of deletable Home screen icons. That way, even if someone enters jiggle mode they won’t be able to actually delete any apps from your device.

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To prevent the installation of new apps, set the Installing Apps switch in Restrictions to the OFF position. You can even disable In-App Purchases that way.

RELATED: Tips for decreasing ‘Other’ storage on iOS

Need help? Ask iDB!

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  • ShawnTXDFW

    Is there also a way to prevent little rants (damn nephews and nieces) from also being able to move the icons?! That’d be great. I had not knowing where an app, folder, icon or whatever was and then my OCD kicks in. Sure by not giving it to them would be one way, I just meant is there a setting?!

    • Bradley Hines

      From what I know and from what I’ve checked I don’t believe there is a setting for that but I do believe a few jailbreak only tweaks can lock apps from being moved the only con is being jailbreaken. I personally love to jailbreak my phones but I said con because it varies person to person.

    • Oakenshield

      Springtomize, if you’re jailbroken. Lock layout is one of the options.
      BTW – where is Jeff Benjamin?

      • Bradley Hines

        Jeff left a while ago and I believe, from what I’ve heard, that he writes for a different site now.

  • All these years I wondered. Thank you iDB!

  • Max Payne

    So a child that is learning and exploring the world around them is termed a monster. What an offensive comment from an offensive blogger.