Q: I have an iPhone 5 that I bought new a few months ago. I followed the instructions in your Q&A section for Deleting App Data from iCloud and it did not work. I then deleted all iCloud data and even closed my iCloud account and the app data is still on my phone. The location of the unwanted apps is in the App Store, under Purchased, under “Not on this iPhone”—it shows apps that were downloaded free and to the right of each app is a picture of an iCloud with a download arrow on the iCloud. I cannot delete these completely from my phone any way that I know of. Any suggestions on how to get rid of them completely?
A: Firstly, just to be clear, the apps in question aren’t “on” your iPhone per se, which is why you can’t actually delete them from your iPhone. What you’re looking at is your purchase history from your iTunes Store account, which simply shows you—and provides you with access to—everything that you’ve previously purchased or downloaded with that account.
Note that your iTunes account is separate from your iCloud account, so closing your iCloud account will not get rid of these prior purchases, as they form part of your iTunes Store account history. These entries also do not include any application data—they are simply the actual apps being made available to you so that you can re-download them should you ever want to reinstall them back onto your device.
These entries have little impact other than perhaps cluttering up your purchase history; they take up no space whatsoever on your iPhone, nor do they store any of your personal data—they’re simply a link to the app on the App Store. That said, if you want to remove these from your purchase history for whatever reason, you can hide them by going to the iTunes Store from within the iTunes app your Mac or PC. This doesn’t actually remove them from your purchase history, but will prevent them from appearing in your recent purchases on your iPhone or in your iTunes Purchased section.
To do this open the iTunes Store from within iTunes, and choose “Purchased” from the Quick Links section on the right hand side of the iTunes Store home page. This takes you to your purchase history; from here you can view and re-download any of your previously purchased music, movies, TV shows, apps, or books.
From the “Apps” section, simply hover over any app that you would like to hide, and a small “X” will appear at the top left corner of the app icon. Clicking on this will remove the app from your visible purchase history on all of your devices.
Again, this only hides the app—it doesn’t permanently remove it. You can see any apps (and other iTunes Store content) that you’ve hidden by going into your iTunes Store account settings and selecting the “Manage” option beside “Hidden Purchases” section. This brings up a screen similar to the Purchased listing above, but instead showing only those purchased items that you’ve hidden.