Remove default apps in iOS

With the latest release of iOS, 9.3, Apple add the ability to restrict access to a set of apps. This also included the ability to hide the ‘Stock’ apps that come with iOS.
This can be useful in deployment such as schools  where they don’t require the distraction of all the great Apps bundled with iOS, they just want a clean home screen with the approved education apps they are using.
In fact a number of our education clients are already making use of this feature.
Here I will show you how to perform this task with Apple Configurator 2, but the same can be achieved with any MDM tool that support the new payloads for iOS 9.3, such as Casper from JAMF.

Step 1

To make use of this feature, the device must be supervised. If it is not you can ask Apple Configurator 2 to supervise it but this will perform a wipe of the device. To supervise the device select the iOS device and from the toolbar select the “Prepare” button. This will walk you through this process
Once supervised we are ready to go

Step 2

The next step is to create a profile to enable this feature.
So from the File Menu in Apple Configurator 2 select “New Profile”. This will bring the profile editor like this.
The first payload is General. This is mandatory. You just need to complete the name field , something that describes what the payload does such as “Remove Stock Apps”
The rest are optional but at the bottom of this payload you have some options to secure the payload.
The next step is the “Restrictions” payload. If you select it you will see a configure button, tap it to reveal the options for this payload.
There are quite a few options but the part we are interested is under the Apps Tab
Here you get options to disable iTunes Store, News, Podcast etc but at the bottom of this window is where you can name specific apps to restrict.
If you change “Allow All Apps” to “Do Not Allow Some Apps” you can then tap the + button to add apps you don’t require.
Just search for the specific app and select choose.
Once you have added the apps you wish to restrict just close this window and you will prompted to save the profile.

Step 3

We will now apply the profile to the iOS Device.
Select your iOS device and tap the + button in the toolbar, then select profiles
You will be prompted to select the profile you just created. Select it and tap the Add button.
The profile will now be added to your device
Below you can see a before and after screen shot where I have removed all the apps apart from the Setting Apps
Obviously this tool is not designed to cripple the user experience of the device but it is useful to remove supberflous apps.

Step 4

If you want to remove the profile, just double tap the iOS device in Apple Configurator to reveal the the detail view of this device. Under Profiles on the left hand side, you will get a list of all profiles installed. Just select it hit tap delete.