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If I delete the Facebook app, it asks me whether I want to delete only the app or also its data. Even if I confirm that I want to delete both but, if I re-download the app, it remembers all my previous accounts. This happens regardless of me providing any identifiable information to the App: at second download the app already recognize my device at startup

So some data obviously didn't get deleted. How can I remove all traces the Facebook app leaves so that it starts afresh after a reinstall?

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    This may yield different answers for different apps, so is this question more about "how to get rid of FB accounts", "how does an iPhone remember FB accounts even if I delete the app" or something else alltogether?
    – nohillside
    Commented Oct 11, 2020 at 12:42
  • I specifically want to know where the iPhone/iTunes stores the information about an app that I delete and how I can prevent it from doing so, obviously without making a new iTunes account specifically for that
    – Saturnix
    Commented Oct 11, 2020 at 12:44
  • The short answer is the developer of the app chose where they store the data. It could be on device, it could be with Apple or it could be on some other server anywhere. Why wouldn’t you name the app and/or ask the developer? We can’t know a) what apps you chose b) what the developer of each app chose
    – bmike
    Commented Oct 11, 2020 at 12:58
  • This is like telling that if I can’t delete a file from my computer I have to ask the person who sent it: it’s ludicrous. I want to delete all App data from my phone regardless of which App it is: this should be easy to accomplish since I own the phone and should have total control over which data gets deleted. The data is either on Apple servers or on my phone, it can’t be anywhere else. No way for an App dev to track me if I delete its App, unless Apple provides so (or, obviously, if I provide the app with identifying details like a previously used emai, which is not the case here).
    – Saturnix
    Commented Oct 11, 2020 at 14:56
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    The key point here is that it depends on the app so you need to ask the question specifically for an app.
    – nohillside
    Commented Oct 11, 2020 at 15:24

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The reason this happens is that deleting app and data deletes only the actual app and the data files it left in its sandbox. This leaves out the information the app has stored in the iOS Keychain. This information is not deleted when an app is deleted.

There could be many reasons why Apple chose to do it this way. For example a large company could have several different apps in a group relying on the same Keychain data - for example Facebook also makes apps like Creator Studio, Portal and Facebook Gaming. If deleting one app deleted the Keychain data as well, the other apps might stop working contrary to what a user might expect.

In an earlier beta release of iOS, Apple did actually experiment with deleting the Keychain data when deleting an app - trying to preserve Keychain data only when other apps in the same group were installed. This lead to confusion for some users as to when the Keychain data was actually deleted - as well as frustration for some users that were used to deleting apps to "save space temporarily" and relied on reinstalling them also making them automatically login again. The change was reverted and never went into the actual iOS release.

As a user there's unfortunately no general way to delete the Keychain data of a specific app. You can only wipe the whole device to delete everything by opening Settings, tap General, then Reset and then Erase All Content and Settings. Beware that this will delete everything on the devices - not just Facebook or the Keychain.

Remember to take care if you're syncing your Keychain across multiple devices using iCloud.

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  • Does it mean that the data is stored in iCloud keychain (if enabled) and the option to "Erase All Content and Settings" won't actually delete it even if iPhone is restored from backup? Or this kind of data is always stored in local part of keychain inside iOS and after erase/restore this data is forever gone? Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 10:35
  • I'm not really sure I understand your question @user3602441, but I'll try: The data stored in the iCloud Keychain is only deleted from that particular iPhone when you use "Erase all Content and Settings" - it is not deleted from iCloud servers or other devices that you own that are synced with that keychain. The second question you have is whether "this kind of data" is always stored in the local part of the keychain. It depends on what the developer of the particular app decided. They can decide to make a keychain entry synchronizable or not.
    – jksoegaard
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 0:38
  • What I am actually thinking is that whether these app-based "sessions" come back after iPhone restore or not and if yes, whether they come back from local backup or iCloud. Because technically if they are stored in some local iOS keychain despite iCloud keychain enabled and at the same time not in a backup then the solution would be to restore iPhone and all such apps would be fresh from all kind of session IDs and similar data. Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 9:49
  • It depends. The developer of an app can specify for each item in the Keychain whether they want to be part of a backup, an encrypted backup or not in any backups.
    – jksoegaard
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 12:08

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