The new Offload Unused Apps option in iOS 11 frees up space by deleting apps you rarely use, while keeping their settings intact. Here's how it works.
The upcoming iOS 11 software update from Apple includes a new feature to help users manage storage space on their iPhones by automatically deleting rarely-used apps.
Originally spotted by Cydia Geeks, when enabled, the Offload Unused Apps feature will remove apps that you never use, while keeping their documents and data on your device. The deleted app will appear as a greyed icon on your home screen, and can be reinstalled with one tap, along with your data.
In iOS 10 and previous versions, users had to delete the app and reinstall it without the relevant data and documents to free up some storage space.
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The feature will not work if the app is no longer available in the App Store, according to the Offload Unused Apps description.
If you are currently using the iOS 11 beta, you can find the Offload Unused Apps feature by opening the Settings app, and tapping on General. From there, tap iPhone Storage. On that page, you will see the option for Offload Unused Apps. You can tap Enable to turn the feature on.
You can also get to the option by going to Settings, and tapping on iTunes & App Stores. From there, you will have the ability to slide a bar from grey to green to enable Offload Unused Apps, or to turn the feature off.
The OS update also gives users the option to manually decide which apps to offload. When you tap a particular app inside the iPhone storage page, you can click Offload App, which will also make that app appear greyed-out on your home screen, and allow you to reinstall it at any time.
The option may be useful to business users by saving the time it would take to manually go through and delete apps to increase storage, which can be a pain, especially if you need to download something for work quickly and do not have the space.
iOS 11 will be available as a free update to certain iPhones and iPads this fall. The OS includes a number of other storage-saving features, including an "auto delete old conversations" feature that will remove data in the Messages app that's more than a year old. Conversations can also be organized by the amount of storage space they use, and then be manually deleted.
The new OS also includes a number of other new features that will be helpful in the workplace, including an improved Siri with translation capabilities, cross-platform iMessage syncing, and an easier-to-access iPhone control center, among others.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
1. A new iOS 11 feature called Offload Unused Apps removes iPhone apps that a user rarely accesses to free up space, while keeping their documents and data on the device in case the user wants to reinstall it.
2. The new OS also gives users the option to do this manually.
3. Offload Unused Apps is one of a number of iOS 11 features that may save business users time and effort.
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