Depending on who you ask, Apple‘s announcement of the features for iOS 10 might have been filled with treats or a bore. But both might agree that there is at least one feature that does sing to the heart of anyone who has owned an iOS device: the ability to remove the unused, pre-installed stock apps on their device. However, iOS users might have been too quick to throw a party for it. Later clarifying the feature, Apple execs Craig Federighi and Phil Schiller noted that aren’t exactly removing the apps, you are just hiding them while deleting their content.
For iOS users, that might come as a bit of a surprise and is basically inconsistent with the way iOS works. The OS’s design philosophy is one of simplicity and ease of use, avoiding ambiguous actions. By tapping on the “x” badge on a wiggling app icon, users have come to expect that it will banish all traces of the app from their device, both the app’s data as well as the app itself.
That will not be the case for those pre-installed apps on iOS 10. Yes, the data associated with those apps will be gone for good when you “remove” the app. But the app’s files, like its executable and associated system files, remain on the device. The technical reason for this is that those apps are baked into the iOS firmware and comprises the “signature” of that firmware. Really erasing the app would also require changing the signature, which opens the door for security issues. Plus, most of the firmware is read-only anyway. This is not actually that much different from how Android and Android OEMs also “disable” pre-installed apps without actually uninstalling them.
This might disappoint users who were expecting to really clean up their devices and reclaim some unused storage space. That latter point is moot anyway, as Apple insists that those tool and utilities have been designed to take up as little space as possible.