Offload Unused Apps On iPhone: What It Means & Why You Should!

You were exploring the Settings app on your iPhone and saw the option to enable a feature called Offload Unused Apps. This new iOS 11 feature is similar to deleting apps, except data from offloaded apps isn’t erased from your iPhone. In this article, I’ll explain what it means to offload an app on your iPhone and discuss whether or not it’s a good idea to offload unused apps.

What Does It Mean To Offload Unused Apps On iPhone?

When you offload unused apps on your iPhone, the app is deleted, but the saved data from the app remains on your iPhone. For example, if you offload the Netflix app, the app itself will get deleted, but data like your login information will still be there if you reinstall the app.

If you were to delete the Netflix app rather than offload it, the app itself and its saved data (such as your login information) would be completely erased on your iPhone.

How Do I Offload Unused Apps On An iPhone?

There are two ways to offload unused apps on an iPhone:

  1. You can enable Offload Unused Apps in the Settings app.
  2. You can pick individual apps to offload.

Both of these options can be accessed by opening the Settings app and tapping General -> iPhone Storage. Under Recommendations, you’ll see the option to enable Offload Unused Apps.

enable offload unused apps

You can also scroll down and see a list of your apps organized by how much data they use. You can offload an individual app by tapping on it in this list and tapping Offload App.

offload individual apps on iphone

Should I Enable Offload Unused Apps?

The Offload Unused Apps setting is basically a “master switch” that gives your iPhone control over which unused apps get offloaded. We don’t recommend enabling this feature because you don’t want to wind up in a situation where you need to use a specific app, but your iPhone automatically offloaded it. By manually offloading individual apps, you have complete control of your iPhone and your apps.

What Are The Benefits Of Offloading Unused Apps?

The biggest benefit of offloading unused apps is the ability to quickly free up storage space. Apps can take up a lot of storage space on your iPhone, so offloading the ones you don’t use often is an easy way to free up more space on your iPhone.

How Much Storage Space Can I Save By Enabling Offload Unused Apps?

It’ll say how much storage space you can save by offloading apps underneath the Offload Unused Apps menu option. As you can see in the screenshot below, I can save over 700 MB by enabling Offload Unused Apps on my iPhone!

data saved by offload unused apps

Reinstalling An Offloaded App

Even after offloading an app on your iPhone, the app’s icon will appear on your iPhone’s Home screen. You’ll be able to tell that the app is offloaded because there will be a small cloud icon below the app icon.

offloaded app on iPhone home screen

To reinstall an app you’ve offloaded, simply tap on the app on your Home screen. A status circle will appear on the icon after you’ve tapped on the app and it will begin to reinstall.

reinstall offloaded app on iphone

You can also reinstall an offloaded app by going to Settings -> General -> iPhone Storage and tapping on the offloaded app. Then, tap Reinstall App.

reinstall offloaded app in settings

Apps: Offloaded!

We hope this article helped you understand what it means to offload unused apps on your iPhone and why you may want to start offloading apps on your iPhone. If you have any other questions about your iPhone, feel free to leave them in the comments section below!

Thanks for reading,
David L.

About Author

David Lynch is an expert on cell phones, cell phone plans, and other tech. After using a flip phone into his early 20s, he learned the ropes about iPhones and Androids from a former Apple employee. Today, his articles and videos are read and viewed by millions, and he has been cited by major publications including Reader's Digest, Wired, CMSWire, Consumers Advocate, and more.

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1 year ago

Apple offloaded an app I use regularly when they were pulling it from the app store. I used the app Thursday and it was gone Saturday, and it was pulled from the app store. The app was for the Prynt instant photo printer, so now I have a piece of hardware I can’t use either.

Southern Belle
1 year ago

Hey all, Thank you for sharing this article or rather writing the article, it’s very nice and informative… but the one thing that not just your, but what all of these articles keep leaving out is the one and most important aspect and CRUCIAL DETAIL. Can anyone or does anyone know what I’m Looking for or at least what I’m about to ask? No? Hmmmm…well I guess it must just be me but when there are offloaded apps, there’s an icon left behind and that icon does have the other icon on top of it to download this icon but… Read more »

1 year ago

Hi there! Offloading my apps has been a lifesaver in providing some extra space on my iPhone XS Max (yes it is time for a new phone)… However, as this particular model is notorious for it’s habitual boot loop issues… my question is …If I am currently stuck in a boot loop and the normal quick fixes have not provided the wanted outcome…this means I will probably have to resort to recovery mode, etc. With that being said … what would happen to those “offloaded” Apps that I now cannot access for long enough to reload onto my phone before… Read more »

2 years ago

I don’t have an Offload Unused App in my storage settings. I have a brand new iPhone 13 Pro Max. I watched a tutorial and it’s not under the storage count bar where it should be located. Any hindsight? I’d appreciate it. Mahalo, Rodmann Y.

Colin Boyd
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod

Hi Rodmann! Is your iPhone running the latest iOS? You can check by going to Settings -> General -> Software Update. If you see that an update is available, I’d suggest installing it then checking your Storage Settings again. Hope this helps!

Marie p
2 years ago

So when looking at apps folders how can I tell by looking if it has been offloaded? When I tap it begins to reinstall. It said they would be grayed out but they’re not.

Pamela Hatcher
2 years ago

Why does my iPhone XR reload the app I have offloaded? Is it something I am doing or do they automatically come back on after so long?

2 years ago
Reply to  Pamela Hatcher

You must have tapped it

1 year ago
Reply to  Pamela Hatcher

Did you enable “Offload Unused Apps” instead of offloading manually (you select which apps to offload)? If you selected that option, once your iPhone has enough space, those apps will automatically reinstall. Take the advice from this article and offload the apps manually by selecting each app separately.

3 years ago

my phone doesn’t offer off load unused apps. What do I do to off load some apps for space

Liam Shotwell
3 years ago
Reply to  Jamie

Your phone may be too old to support this feature. You may need to upgrade to a newer device like the iPhone 12 or iPhone SE!

3 years ago

Thank you! So data is saved if I offload an app. Does this include favorites/bookmarks? If so, where do I find them once the app is offloaded?

M. J.
3 years ago

Thank you! So data is saved if I offload an app. Does this include favorites/bookmarks? If so, where do I find them once the app is offloaded?

The Most Common iPhone Mistakes People Make
4 years ago

[…] use taking up a lot of storage space, tap on it. You’re given the option to either offload or delete the app. Offloading the app saves all the necessary data from the app if you ever decide […]

5 years ago

This was a clear concise explanation. Thank you!

5 years ago

I’ve got the iPhone 6 and I went into settings and iPhone storage and I didn’t see the recoemdations but what can I do to free up space on my iPhone 6 I can’t even update my Apple iPhone 6.

5 years ago

After how many days of not using does this setting consider it unused?

5 years ago

I accidently deleted my downloaded music app and it’s not anywhere to be seen. Is it gone for good? I went through the above instructions and it’s not there.

6 years ago

Extremely Helpful – Stright to the point and easily Understood.
Thanks for taking the time to FYI fellow Apple Users of these benefits !

6 years ago

Do I lose my music if I offload it?

6 years ago

What if Im not able to use the Cloud? Im on my friends family plan with AT&T and she told me not to use the Cloud. She said that they dont use it but Im not sure if I believe that. I cant go ahead and use it because I dont know her husbands login. Can I still somehow get the iCloud just for myself so I can offload some of my apps? I am out of storage. I would love it if you would help me as soon as possible because its keeping me from recording a video that… Read more »

6 years ago

How can I reverse the ‘Enable’ setting?

3 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

How can I reverse the enable setting please?