iOS 10 app deletion won’t actually delete Apple’s stock apps

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You can remove stock apps in iOS 10, but you can't swap them.
"Hiding" apps is a better description.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Among the myriad improvements Apple is making with iOS 10 is the ability to, for the first time, delete the stock apps which come pre-packaged on your iPhone and iPad.

That means that, should you not use your Calendar, Compass, Mail or Weather app (to name just 18 stock iOS apps), you’ll be able to banish them from your device — having to re-download them via the App Store if you change your mind.

But things aren’t quite as straightforward as they might sound!

During an appearance on John Gruber’s Daring Fireball podcast “The Talk Show,” Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi explained that the “deletion” feature won’t actually remove the apps from your iPhone or iPad, since the software binaries will stay part of iOS.

The apps will remain on the devices as part of the signed package that Apple uses to guarantee authenticity. “Re-downloading” the apps will therefore not actually involve downloading anything, but instead will re-link the apps back into iOS 10 to make them usable again. In other words, Apple’s not letting you delete bloatware (which, it should be noted, Apple’s much better at keeping at a minimum compared to some rival — *cough* Samsung *cough* — companies), but just letting you hide it.

Gruber’s interview with Federighi and marketing chief Phil Schiller also talks about the new third-party Siri SDK, Apple’s Artificial Intelligence work, the Mac App Store, app subscriptions, and more. While the show was initially streamed live, a replay version will hopefully be available for retrospective listening on Daring Fireball.