How to *actually* uninstall an app *completely*?

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by tsmur, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. tsmur macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2012
    I need to completely uninstall an app, because some of the settings or configuration of the app is bugged. For some reason, deleting the app does not actually delete the settings, and all of the broken data is conveniently preserved after deleting the app. So if I delete the app, and then reinstall it, the data was never removed in the first place. There must be a hidden cache of data that apps have, one which persists when uninstalling the app, and which is not stored on the app's application data.

    Specifically, the app data remains after
    - Deleting the app normally, and then reinstalling (after syncing with iTunes, rebooting, etc)
    - Erasing all contents and settings, and restoring from iCloud backup, where the app is *excluded* from the iCloud data

    Is there somewhere that apps can store data, that is not part of the iCloud backup service and is not actually uninstalled when you delete the app?

    I have read that keychain data functions this way, but my impression is that keychain stores things like passwords, rather than mundane application preferences. Is this the only possible place the app can store data permanently, in a way that is backed up to iCloud and does not delete when you uninstall the app?

    Any suggestions are appreciated. I just want to delete the application settings in a way that does not require me to lose all my data and settings from everything else on my device.
  2. JediMeister macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    Deleting an app from your iOS device does remove the local data from the device. This warning you get when deleting an app "Deleting 'x' Deleting 'x' will also delete all of its data" suggests as much.

    The only ways I know of that your data could be reloaded upon redownloading the app are if the developer either stores some of your data on their server, or the app supports backing up to iCloud. If the former you'll need to contact the dev and ask that they reset your data. If the latter, go to Settings->iCloud->Storage & Backup->Manage Storage, and under Documents & Data tap the name off the app, then tap Edit in the upper right to either select a specific item to delete or Delete All.
  3. tsmur thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2012
    Thanks for the response. It is true that the popup when deleting an app claims that it will delete all the data, but this is apparently not so.

    Because of the nature of the data (folder names on Google Reader, to be precise), it is unlikely for the data to be stored on a server hosted by the app company. Indeed, the problem only exists on this one device.

    I have also attempted the iCloud strategy. It was the second thing I tried, after uninstalling the app to see if that would fix it, of course. For whatever data it was, I assumed that if I restored after not backing it up, it couldn't sneak back on to my device. Yet, it does. So that is the mystery and why I am posting.

    In sum, the data must be stored somewhere that is not deleted when an app is deleted, and which is stored in iCloud independently of the app data for that app. My googling has suggested it is in the keychain, since that is the only place. But if so, then there is no way to fix it short of wiping all data and not restoring any of it through iCloud/iTunes.
  4. MaxBurn macrumors 65816


    Nov 25, 2010
    What is the app? Have dropbox sync or something?
  5. tsmur thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2012
    The app in question is Byline, an RSS reader. The app downloads feed information from Google Reader, including which feeds are in which folders, and which folders there are. However, if a folder is deleted on Google Reader, it remains in Byline. If a folder is renamed on Google Reader, Byline shows both the old and new folders, showing the feeds under both. If a feed is removed, it is removed from the folder, but if I add the feed back to Google Reader, it appears under the old folders.

    It is clearly caching the list of folders and which feeds are in each folder, and the author forgot to implement a function to detect if folders have been removed from Google Reader. The question is just whether I can reset this without erasing everything else in the process.

    There is no dropbox sync or anything like that. It's not Google Reader either. All of these other things can be ruled out because the problem only occurs on this one device.

    My guess is that my problem stems from the program lacking a way of detecting when folders should be *removed* from the app, coupled with this information being (improperly) stored in the keychain. This makes the bug impossible to fix without completely erasing everything, as the keychain is encrypted and cannot be tinkered with, and deleting the whole keychain makes the device require a restore.
  6. tsmur thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2012
    I found the solution. Apparently the problem was with Google Reader all along, but it only appeared in certain apps (perhaps due to different syncing methods being used at different times on different apps). To fix I had to add a subscription to the folders that kept appearing, then the folder would appear with a whole bunch of other subscriptions in it. I had to remove those from the folder, *then* delete the tag. Reader keeps a list of which feeds are in which folders, including deleted folders, so you can't just delete a folder and expect it to be deleted as far as other apps can see too.

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