Why did Apple kill App extraction in iOS 9?

24 Sep, 2015   |   Author: DigiDNA Team

If you try to transfer purchases from an iOS 9 device in iTunes, you may notice that apps won’t transfer to your hard drive. Similarly, when backing up an iOS 9 device in iTunes, the ‘Backup Apps’ dialog will simply not appear. App data will be backed up, of course, just not the application themselves.

This move may seem puzzling at first: why force users to re-download gigabytes of apps when restoring a backup? It’s wasteful, and potentially agonizingly slow. That said, there are 3 very good reasons which we believe pushed Apple to completely remove app extraction from iOS 9:

  1. App Slicing
    App Thinning is a new feature Apple introduced during WWDC 2015. It’s a broad term which designates a set of technologies aiming at reducing app download sizes. App Slicing is part of App Thinning, and basically trims the fat of Universal apps so that only assets which are relevant to the device you download the app to are included in the download.
    Because universal apps are destined to be stripped, extracting the .ipa package from an iOS 9 device doesn’t make much sense anymore: it may only be installable on a device with identical resolution.
  2. Frequent Updates Improve Security
    Blocking app extraction will effectively shorten the lifespan of stale versions of apps, improving overall security of the iOS ecosystem.
  3. Preserve Disk Use
    All these backed up apps quickly add up, and can result in literally tens of gigabytes of outdated apps eating up your precious hard drive space.

What if I want backups of the apps I paid for?

Applications can still be downloaded and manually managed via iTunes. One by one, painstakingly, but it’s still there and accessible.

If you are an iMazing user, iMazing 1.3 has new app management features which enable backing up and restoring application data. Completely exclusive to iMazing!

iMazing App Management