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iOS 14: How to make sense of the new way to delete apps

With iOS 14's new App Library, deleting an app from your iPhone takes a few extra steps.

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Deleting apps is a necessary task, but it's also a little more confusing after Apple's latest update. 

James Martin/CNET

Ever since iOS 2 added app support to the iPhone in 2008, the process to delete an app had been the same. You had to long-press on the app icon until you enable jiggle mode (that's the official name, per Apple), then tap on the "X." You'd confirm you wanted to remove the app, and then it'd disappear. 

Easy peasy, right? Well, with the release of iOS 14 all of that has changed. Apple added an App Library to the iPhone, which functions more like an app drawer that holds the apps you want to keep, but don't want to see on your home screens. And with that addition comes new ways for managing your apps. 

Below I'll walk you through removing an app from your home screen while keeping it in your App Library, as well as how to permanently delete an app from your iPhone.

Move or delete apps on your home screen

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There's an extra step in iOS 14 when deleting an app. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

There are a couple of different ways you can delete an app. To start, you can long-press on an app icon until you see a pop-up menu. The actions you can then take will depend on the app. In the Mail app, for example, in addition to app-specific actions (like a composing a new email) you'll see two system options: Remove App and Edit Home Screen

Alternatively, you can keep long-pressing on the app icon for a few more seconds until all of the app icons start dancing. 

Whether you select Remove App from the pop-up menu, or you tap on the new "-" sign on the app icon while in jiggle mode, you'll be presented with a brand-new prompt: Asking if you want to delete the app or move it to the App Library. 

Deleting the app will remove the app and all of its data from your phone, freeing up precious storage space. Moving it to your App Library will only remove the app icon from your home screen. The app will remain installed and you can access it at any time by swiping from right to left on your home screen until you get to your App Library. 

If you're using jiggle mode to clear out unused apps, keep repeating the same steps until you're finished, then tap Done or tap on a blank area of your screen. 

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You can delete apps from the App Library, as well. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Delete apps that are in your App Library

There are multiple ways to do this. 

Your first option is to use the search bar at the top of your App Library. Either type the app's name or scroll through the full list. Long-press on the app icon until you see a pop-up menu, and then select Delete App. The key to seeing the menu is the long touch. Be careful not to accidentally drag the app to your home screen instead. 

The other option is to find the app in its categorical folder, long-press on it, then select Delete App from the popup. You can then continue deleting apps with a tap on the "X" after triggering jiggle mode. Tap Done or leave the folder when you're finished. 

Now that you've learned the new, and sort of confusing, method for deleting apps on your iPhone, make sure to check out all of our favorite features in iOS 14. We've also found a handful of hidden features you're sure to love as much as we do. If you have a new Apple Watch, change these settings right away.