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My Notes app accidentally got deleted from my iPhone 4s...

So apparently it's possible to erroneously hide system icons. How can I do this? I'm sick of the Weather and Stock icons taking up space. My iPhone 4 with iOS 5.1 isn't jail broken.

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I believe this is a bug with the software, and therefore might not be easy to reproduce. If it was common and easy to reproduce, I would guess that Apple would have patched it up by now. However, it may be related to a similar problem that was prevalent in earlier OSs...

There was originally a bigger problem in earlier versions of the OS when there was a lower limit to the amount of apps you could install. Once you installed too many, they would disappear. Since then, Apple added folders and more home screens making it much harder to reach the limit now.

On one of the earlier OSs (I believe it was iOS 2.something), you could repeat this by moving apps to the hidden 10th screen. Basically, you would fill up the 9th screen (the last one available at the time), and then begin pushing apps to the 10th screen. Once you were done editing, they would no longer be available.

I believe this is a bug with the software, and therefore might not be easy to reproduce.

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It was quite easy to reproduce! The apps fell off the last page and stayed lost. Unfortunately, they came back when I reset the phone. Oh well, was worth a try. Thanks! –  Hand-E-Food Mar 27 '12 at 2:00
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According to my understanding, this bug has since been removed from iOS 4+, but I'll tell you how to do it anyway. Other than this bug, I don't know of any others, except for one that has no replication steps (iOS just randomly hides apps, and they usually return after a reboot). You're welcome to try this, though.

  1. Fill all 11 pages on your home screen with apps (that's 180 total apps).
  2. Install one more app.
  3. Your new app will be hidden.
  4. There may or may not be a 12th page that you can use while in edit mode (I just tried on iOS 5.0.1, and it didn't have one). If there is, you can put any apps that you want hidden here (as long as there are already 180 apps).
  5. You could also do this with folders on iOS 4 (you would create a folder with multiple apps, and then start taking everything out of the folder and the last one would split from the folder and hide).

It's difficult to get the apps to go where you want and which ones you want hidden, but the more you play around with it, the more you'll be in control.

Like I said, this has been fixed, but you might be able to find another similar way. If you'd like to JailBreak, though, SBSettings is a great tweak that allows you to easily hide applications on your Home Screen.

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+1 for SBSettings (and everything else :-) –  daviesgeek Mar 28 '12 at 18:56
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You can't hide them except by putting them away in a folder - I keep one called "useless" just for stuff like the stock calculator, weather, stock apps - wish I could delete them without jail breaking.

A folder is easily created by tapping and holding an icon until they start to shake, then dragging one icon on top of another. The lower icon will take on a border and if the icon is released both are placed inside the newly created folder.

There is at least one icon that cannot be hidden in this way, the Newsstand icon. It can be repositioned but will not create (see above) or allow itself to be put inside a folder. It is the only icon I know of so far with this special behaviour.

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I do that too, currently. I'm sure you can't do it as designed, but I got the impression there was a flaw that would allow it. –  Hand-E-Food Mar 26 '12 at 22:27
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+1 Same as me, but I call my folder "Undeletable Crap". –  CajunLuke Mar 26 '12 at 22:37
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