iOS 11.2 was released last week. Anyone that was already using iOS 11 probably upgraded to the latest version. This latest version was mostly welcomed for its bug fixes which, frankly, iOS 11 has a lot of. It also, finally, added Apple Pay. Apple Pay isn’t an integrated feature in iOS 11 like the share sheet. It works through an app called Apple Pay. If you recall, since iOS 10, users can delete most stock apps. It’s the same with Apple Pay except, this is a mistake. Apple Pay handles a core function in iOS 11 and if you delete the Apple Pay app, you cannot get it back. This is another iOS 11 bug.
The Apple Pay app is not added as a home screen app. It is, instead, added as an iMessage app. The iMessage app store while separate from the App Store app is still the same store. iOS 11 has changed how iMessage apps appear inside the app and the new UI makes it kind of annoying to have all those apps appear at the bottom. You can hide or remove them but if you’re tempted to remove the Apple Pay app, know that you won’t be able to download it again from the App Store or the iMessage App Store.
Restore Apple Pay
If you do delete Apple Pay from your iPhone and later decide you want the app back you’re only recourse is to restore your iPhone to stock iOS 11.2. Once restored, you can restore it from a back up and you will have Apple Pay back. It’s definitely not as easy as downloading the app again.
You can delete stock apps in iOS however there are exceptions. For example, you cannot delete the Photos or the Camera app while you can delete the Calendar and Calculator apps. iOS knows that there are some apps that, if removed, will negatively impact essential features on your device. It therefore prohibits removing these apps. That is how the Apple Pay app should behave i.e. you should not have the option to delete it or, if this is a non-essential app, you should at least be able to download it from the App Store.
iOS 11 has had its bugs but they’ve mostly been accidental. This one shows simple oversight. It’s not the same as a problem with certain letters not rendering correctly or alarms not ringing when they’re supposed to. This bug allows users to remove an essential feature from the iPhone with no quick way to get it back.