Deleting Apple’s pre-installed apps in iOS 10 doesn’t actually ‘delete’ them

One of the most talked about features in Apple’s upcoming iOS 10 is the ability to delete many of the apps that come pre-loaded on your iPhone or iPad. But it turns out that deleting the apps doesn’t actually delete them.

That’s according to Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, who confirmed the facts at The Talk Show Live hosted by noted Apple blogger John Gruber.

Federighi, who was joined by colleague Phil Schiller, explained that deleting the apps does remove them from the home screen and trash associated user data but, because these pre-loaded services are baked into iOS, the application binary remains present. The apps are part of the binary for security signing reasons and that structuring also explains why built-in apps only receive feature updates when iOS itself is updated.

That’s a detail that is very much under the hood, and almost all users who do delete the apps won’t know any different. Those who have a change of heart and want to ‘reinstall’ Apple apps can find them in the App Store after they were quietly unbundled and released as standalone apps by Apple earlier this week.

Reminder: these are the apps that can be removed in iOS 10, although you’ll have to wait for the new software to get a public release before you can remove that folder of ‘Apple junk’ apps. Initially, iOS 10 is available for those with an Apple Developer account only.

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