Pre-installed apps, a.k.a bloatware, is one of the banes of smartphone life. Given its tight control over the out of the box experience, Apple devices are relatively free of “value-added apps” from most OEMs or carriers. That said, Apple does ship with a few utility apps that not all users may find value in. That’s true even for Apple Watches but that will soon change when watchOS 6 is released, allowing users to remove some but not all built-in Apple Watch apps.
It has been three years since Apple finally allowed iPhone owners to remove some of the extra apps that came preinstalled with iOS. While some may want to have a calculator always around, few may appreciate the intricacies of monitoring stocks. Now it seems that Apple is close to giving watchOS the same treatment.
According to TechCrunch, the clue comes from the appearance of certain watchOS-only apps on the App Store. This hints that users will be able to install them on their own which, in turn, suggests they can be removed individually as well. Presumably, you can simply press and hold on the app’s icon and tap the “X” to remove it.
Not all built-in apps will get that new treatment. Included in that list is Walkie Talkie, Timer, and Radio. The ECG app can also be removed which is useful for Apple Watches that don’t have the feature enabled anyway. Other essential apps like Heart Rate and Messages remain a permanent part of the Apple Watch experience.
It might sound like a small improvement but Apple giving more control to users doesn’t happen that often. And when storage space is at a premium like on a smartwatch, every extra space counts.