Most of us have our phones loaded down with apps. From the default stuff that comes with our phones like mail, calculator and stocks, to the more customised stuff that we load on ourselves, like games, social media, and productivity apps. But every now and again an app mysteriously disappears. Usually this happens after an OS update, or maybe even after you switch your iPhone off and on again. For the most part, getting these apps to come back is simple, though there might be a few complications along the way. But not to worry, we're here to take you step by step through the process of reinstating your apps!
What Kind of App Has Disappeared?
The first thing you need to find out is which kind of app has one missing. Your phone has three different kinds of app. The first, and easiest, is called a third party app. This is something that you've downloaded yourself from the app store, like Candy Crush or Facebook. The second is a first party removable app, which is an app that came with your phone (an Apple app) but that can be removed. On a standard iPhone these apps are: Maps, Weather, Mail, Music, Calendar, News, Compass, Notes, Contacts, iTunes Store, Voice Memos, iCloud Drive, Podcasts, FaceTime, Reminders, Videos, iBooks, Tips, Home, Stocks, and Find My Friends. Both these kinds of apps are relatively simple to reinstate.
However, there is a third kind: the first party non-removable app. Technically these are the Apple apps that can't be removed from your phone (though there are a few exceptions), and when they go missing they prove more of a problem. These apps on the standard iPhone are: Wallet, Find iPhone, App Store, Health, Photos, Settings, Activity, Clock, Camera, Messages, and Safari.
The Easy Stuff First…
If a third party app or a first party removable app has disappeared then getting it back should be simple. Firstly, check inside all your home screen folders to make sure that you didn't accidentally move the app in question (always possible). Can't find it? Then just head to the App Store and reinstall it, simple.
In some cases the App Store won't allow you to reinstall, which means that even though you can't see the icon that app is still lurking somewhere on your phone. The simplest way to deal with this is to plug your phone into your computer, open up iTunes, find the app on your device using iTunes, then uninstall it. You should then be able to reinstall using the App Store. Yes, you could spend a while trying to find the app wherever it may be hiding on your phone, but trust us, our way is faster and less stressful!
The Tough Stuff… Part One
If you're missing a first party non removable app, then things get a little more complicated. The most probable cause for this is that somehow Restrictions have been switched on. These are designed to child proof a phone, and on business phones to give your company more control over what the device is used for. Checking this out is pretty simple, thankfully.
Go into your Settings menu, hit General, then Restrictions. You'll need to enter a passcode at this point, which you should know if the phone is yours, if not, ask whoever set up the phone for you. Once you're inside the menu you can see which apps have been switched off (the toggle next to them will be white rather than green). All you need to do is switch them back on again.
There's a bit of a catch here though. Only a few of the first party non removable apps can be controlled in this way. If you're missing Safari, FaceTime, Camera, or the App Store then this is probably the cause (if you're missing the App Store it's probably because the option for “installing apps” has been disabled). If you're missing any of the others though, then this fix just isn't going to work for you. So what now?
The Tough Stuff… Part Two
You're missing a first party non-removable app? Firstly, don't panic. The first thing you can try is a simple fix that may or may not work: resetting your home screen lay out. Head into your Settings menu, hit General, then head to the bottom of the menu and hit Reset. When the new menu appears select the option that says “Reset Home Screen Layout.” Back out to your home screen and hopefully all default apps have been restored. The only downside is that you'll need to reorganise things as you like them and any folders you created will be lost (though the contents will still be on your phone).
That didn't work? Now there's more of a problem. Your only choice at this point is going to be a factory reset on your phone. Firstly, make sure you have a back up of your iPhone (if you have iCloud switched on this is automatic, otherwise connect to iTunes using your computer and back up there). When you've got a back up ready, connect using a USB cable to your computer, open up iTunes, and when you see your device click the button next to it that says “Restore iPhone.” This will take a little while, so just be patient. Once the device has been wiped you should be prompted to set the phone up again as new. If you're not, unplug the phone then plug it back in again. As part of the set up process you should be able to restore the back up that you made earlier.
Losing an app on your iPhone doesn't have to be a disaster, and it's unlikely that you'll have any real problems, though a solution may take a little time. And as a precaution, you might want to make sure you always have a current back up of your device, since this will make solving any future problems a lot easier and faster!