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Ask Deemable Tech: Why Do Deleted Apps Keep Reappearing?

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 Lynda asks, “I keep deleting apps off of my iPod Touch, but they keep reinstalling whenever the apps are updated. Why is it doing this? It's driving me crazy. I want to be able to delete apps and for them to stay deleted. I am running iOS 6.1.3. My iPod syncs with iTunes on my laptop over Wi-Fi.”

Great question, Lynda, and thanks for giving us specific details. It really helped us figure out what was going on here. We did a little research, and we found out what is most likely causing your headache.

Here's what we think is happening. First, you installed an app on your iPod. Then, you decided you didn't want the app anymore, and you deleted it before you synced your iPod with your laptop again. Now, the next time you synced your iPod with your laptop, iTunes saw that you didn't have that new app on your iPod. So, in trying to be helpful, it reinstalled it on your iPod for you.

Now, what's causing that to happen? Well, it sounds like you have iTunes on your laptop set to automatically download any new apps that you buy on your iPod. This is designed to make syncing your iPod Touch faster, but it can cause a problem like this to happen as well.

Lynda, it sounds like you're going to have to decide which is more important to you: faster syncing with iTunes, or occasionally having an app come back from the grave. If it were us, we would prefer that our apps stay deleted when we deleted them. The only time where faster syncing would probably be important is if you were syncing your iPod Touch with a cable. Since you're syncing over Wi-Fi, it's doing it when you aren't using the iPod Touch and it’s plugged in.

To fix this, all you have to do is open iTunes on your laptop, open the preferences menu, and click the “Store” tab. Then just unclick the check mark next to “Apps” under the heading “Automatic Downloads”.

If you weren't aware of it, from this menu you can control automatic downloads of apps, music and books. So, if you want the music and books that you purchase on your iPod Touch to be automatically downloaded to your laptop, make sure to mark those checkboxes.

On your iPod Touch there's a similar menu under “Settings”, then “iTunes and App Stores”. Play with the settings until you find an automatic download that works best for you. Hopefully that will take care of your zombie apps.

For more great tech advice, visit Deemable.com

Ray Hollister can be reached at rhollister@wjct.org, 904-358-6341 or on Twitter at @rayhollister.
Tom Braun is a writer living in Jacksonville, Florida. In addition to writing about tech and co-hosting WJCT’s Deemable Tech, he writes content for websites and blogs, ghostwrites ebooks, writes short fiction and has written a woefully unpublished dystopian young adult novel that is no doubt his ticket to fame and fortune. Before realizing his true calling as a writer, Tom worked for over a decade as a software developer. He enjoys board games and traveling and once spent a year living in The Netherlands.