If you’re like me, there are probably hundreds of functions and settings on your phone that you don’t even know about. When installing an update, it’s easier to leave the default preferences in place.
The only time I’ll ever go into my phone settings is after I read an article that explains what a setting means and why it might be a good, or a bad, idea to change things around.
I noticed this new “feature” of my iPhone but at first, I thought it was just a glitch. I knew it wasn’t when I saw someone on Twitter complaining about the same issue and I looked into it some more.
Offload Unused Apps
With iOS 11, Apple introduced a new “Offload Unused Apps” feature. This is supposed to mark the apps you don’t use and delete them from your phone, saving you space if needed. I never had to worry about my travel apps going unused, but now that I have several apps I only open occasionally, I decided to check. Here’s what I found.
See all the little clouds next to the apps? That indicates those apps have been deleted from my phone. So if I were to tap one of them, the phone would need to download the app again.
Offload the app, which frees up storage used by the app, but keeps its documents and data
Not a big deal if you’re sitting at home but if you’re somewhere where you don’t have a strong internet connection, that could be a huge problem. While Apple claims that when an app is deleted, the data stays behind and you don’t lose any information but when I tried to log into my accounts, some of my login info was gone. I had to look up my account numbers and passwords, which was a significant pain.
I find the problem to be that I have no control over which apps the phone will delete. Some of them, like the travel apps, I will only use occasionally but I always want them on my phone. I’d prefer being asked which ones to delete if the phone felt I was running out of memory.
I’m not cramped for space on my phone so I chose to turn this feature off. I don’t want to try and open up a map program or a translator to find that Apple has deleted it because I was never using it.
If you want a step-by-step tutorial on how to disable this function, check out this article.
If you have an Android phone, the Google Play store now offers “app archiving,” which works similarly to app offloading on the iPhone except you choose which apps you want to archive instead of the phone choosing which apps you don’t use often enough to keep.
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