From The Apple Wiki

A framework is a dynamic library and resources for that library, such as images and localization strings. Frameworks have the file extension .framework.

In iOS there are two kinds of frameworks: public frameworks and private frameworks. Public frameworks are allowed to be used in App Store apps. Private frameworks are intended to be used only by Apple's apps, and are more unstable against firmware changes, but many of the interesting features are in the private frameworks.

Since iOS 3.1, all default (private and public) libraries have been combined into a big cache file in /System/Library/Caches/ to improve performance. See dyld_shared_cache for more details. The original libraries are no longer useful for non-on-device-developers, so they are eliminated from the system. The framework folders still contain other resources, such as localization strings.

Private Frameworks[edit]

Public Frameworks[edit]

Resources for public frameworks can be found inside /System/Library/Frameworks.

Framework 1.x 2.x 3.x 4.x 5.x 6.x 7.x 8.x 9.x 10.x 11.x 12.x 13.x 14.x 15.x 16.x Prefix Language Description
_AppIntents_SwiftUI No Yes Supporting framework for SwiftUI
_AppIntents_UIKit No Yes
_AuthenticationServices_SwiftUI No Yes Supporting framework for SwiftUI
_AVKit_SwiftUI No Yes
_CoreData_CloudKit No Yes
_CoreLocationUI_SwiftUI No Yes Supporting framework for SwiftUI
_DeviceActivity_SwiftUI No Yes
_GroupActivities_UIKit No Yes
_HomeKit_SwiftUI No Yes Supporting framework for SwiftUI
_MapKit_SwiftUI No Yes
_MusicKit_SwiftUI No Yes
_PassKit_SwiftUI No Yes
_PhotosUI_SwiftUI No Yes
_QuickLook_SwiftUI No Yes
_SceneKit_SwiftUI No Yes
_SpriteKit_SwiftUI No Yes
_StoreKit_SwiftUI No Yes
Accelerate No Yes cblas, vDSP C Vector and Matrix math, digital signal processing, large number handling, and image processing
Accessibility No Yes
Accounts No Yes AC Obj-C Provides access to accounts in the Accounts database. Allows creation of accounts if none exist. Only Twitter is available in iOS 5.0 and later.
AddressBook Yes AB Obj-C Provides access to the Address Book database.
AddressBookUI Yes
AdServices No Yes
AdSupport No Yes AS Obj-C Provides access to identifiers for serving adverts and a flag that indicates if limited tracking is on.
AppClip No Yes
AppIntents No Yes
AppleBasebandManager No Yes No
AppTrackingTransparency No Yes
ARDisplayDevice No Yes No
ARKit No Yes Introduced in iOS 11.x.
AssetsLibrary No Yes AL Obj-C Used to access pictures and videos managed by the Photos application. Deprecated; use PhotoKit
AudioToolbox Yes AU, Audio Provides interfaces for recording, playback, stream parsing, and managing audio sessions. Part of CoreAudio.
AudioUnit No Yes AU, Audio Interfaces for the loading of audio units and their use.
AuthenticationServices No Yes AS
AutomatedDeviceEnrollment No Yes
AutomaticAssessmentConfiguration No Yes
AVFAudio No Yes
AVFoundation No Yes AV Obj-C Used for playing and recording audio and video.
AVKit No Yes AV
AVRouting No Yes
BackgroundAssets No Yes
BackgroundTasks No Yes
BusinessChat No Yes
CallKit No Yes CX
CarKey No Yes
CarPlay No Yes CP
CFNetwork Yes CF C Interfaces for high-performance networking.
Charts No Yes
CHIP No Yes No
ClassKit No Yes CLS
ClockKit No Yes
CloudKit No Yes CK
ColorSync No Yes
Combine No Yes
Contacts No Yes CN
ContactsUI No Yes CN
CoreAudio Yes Audio C++ Declares constants and data-types used by other interfaces in CoreAudio.
CoreAudioKit No Yes Audio
CoreAudioTypes No Yes
CoreBluetooth No Yes CB Obj-C Provides access to Bluetooth peripherals (hardware).
CoreData No Yes NS Obj-C Interfaces for application data model manipulation.
CoreFoundation Yes CF C Basic data management and services.
CoreGraphics Yes CG C APIs to interface with the Quartz engine, allows 2D rendering, etc.
CoreHaptics No Yes
CoreImage No Yes CI Obj-C Interfaces for manipulating images and video.
CoreLocation No Yes CL Obj-C Interfaces for determining location.
CoreLocationUI No Yes
CoreMedia No Yes CM C Low-level routines for manipulating audio and video.
CoreMIDI No Yes MIDI Obj-C Routines for handling MIDI data. Only available in iOS 4.2 and later. Part of CoreAudio.
CoreML No Yes Introduced in iOS 11.x.
CoreMotion No Yes CM Obj-C, C++ Interfaces for accessing accelerometer and gyrometric data.
CoreNFC No Yes Introduced in iOS 11.x.
CoreServices No Yes
CoreSpotlight No Yes
Yes No Yes CT Obj-C Allows access to Carrier information and information pertaining to a current call.
CoreText No Yes CT C++ Text layout and rendering engine.
CoreTransferable No Yes
CoreVideo Yes No Yes CV Low-level routines for manipulating audio and video - Apple advises not to use this framework directly, and although public doesn't document much of it.
CreateML No Yes
CreateMLComponents No Yes
CryptoKit No Yes
CryptoTokenKit No Yes
DataDetection No Yes
DeveloperToolsSupport No Yes
DeviceActivity No Yes
DeviceCheck No Yes Introduced in iOS 11.x.
DeviceDiscoveryExtension No Yes
DriverKit No Yes
EventKit No Yes EK Obj-C Interfaces for accessing Calendar event data. This is a replacement for the older Calendar.framework.
EventKitUI No Yes EK Obj-C Classes for system graphical interfaces.
ExposureNotification No Yes
ExtensionFoundation No Yes
ExtensionKit No Yes
ExternalAccessory No Yes EA Obj-C Interfaces for communication with attached external accessories via 30-pin dock or Bluetooth. Lightning is not yet mentioned by Apple in documentation.
FamilyControls No Yes
FileProvider No Yes Introduced in iOS 11.x.
FileProviderUI No Yes Introduced in iOS 11.x.
Foundation Yes NS Obj-C Objective-C wrappers to features found in CoreFoundation with extra features and functionality not covered by Objective-C.
GameController No Yes
GameKit No Yes GK Obj-C Manages P2P connectivity. With iOS 4.1 and later, GameKit can be used with Game Center (an extension to the framework) to create social games.
GameplayKit No Yes GK Obj-C Manages P2P connectivity. With iOS 4.1 and later, GameKit can be used with Game Center (an extension to the framework) to create social games.
GLKit No Yes GLK Obj-C Utility classes for building OpenGL ES applications.
GroupActivities No Yes
GSS No Yes gss Security related services - Apple advises to look at the headers as they provide no documentation.
HealthKit No Yes
HealthKitUI No Yes
HomeKit No Yes
iAd No Yes Classes for displaying advertisements.
iAD No Yes No AD Obj-c
IdentityLookup No Yes Introduced in iOS 11.x.
IdentityLookupUI No Yes
ImageCaptureCore No Yes
ImageIO No Yes CG C++ Input and output for images. Part of CoreGraphics.
Intents No Yes
IntentsUI No Yes
IOKit Yes C++ Low-level framework for communicating with the kernel and hardware. Apple advises not to use this framework directly and will reject it from the App Store.
IOSurface No Yes
JavaScriptCore Yes No Yes
LinkPresentation No Yes
LocalAuthentication No Yes
LocalAuthenticationEmbeddedUI No Yes
ManagedSettings No Yes
ManagedSettingsUI No Yes
MapKit No Yes MK Obj-C Classes for embedding Map graphical interfaces. Before iOS 5.1, Google Mobile Maps was used to provide map data; afterwards, Apple provided the map data.
Matter No Yes
MediaAccessibility No Yes
MediaPlayer No Yes MP Obj-C Provides facilities to play audio, and video. Also allows access to the iPod or Music library.
MediaSetup No Yes
MediaToolbox No Yes MT C++ Apple has no reference as of writing, but headers appear to suggest this framework deals with audio processing.
Messages No Yes
MessageUI Yes No Yes MF Obj-C Interfaces for SMS and Mail compose view controllers without leaving the application.
Metal No Yes
MetalFX No Yes
MetalKit No Yes
MetalPerformanceShaders No Yes
MetalPerformanceShadersGraph No Yes
MetricKit No Yes
MLCompute No Yes
MobileCoreServices No Yes UT C Defines UTIs supported by the system.
ModelIO No Yes
MultipeerConnectivity No Yes
MultitouchSupport Yes No Yes No
MusicKit No Yes
NaturalLanguage No Yes
NearbyInteraction No Yes
Network No Yes
NetworkExtension No Yes
NewsstandKit [Archived 2022-08-28 at the Wayback Machine] No Yes NK Obj-C Interfaces for downloading Newsstand application content.
NotificationCenter No Yes
OpenAL No Yes AL C++ Interface for the cross-platform audio library.
OpenGLES Yes EAGL, GL C Interface for the OpenGL ES library.
OSLog No Yes
PassKit No Yes PK Obj-C Interfaces for creation of Passes for and
PDFKit No Yes Introduced in iOS 11.x.
PencilKit No Yes
Photos No Yes
PhotosUI No Yes
ProximityReader No Yes
PushKit No Yes
PushToTalk No Yes
QuartzCore No Yes CA Obj-C Contains the CoreAnimation interfaces.
QuickLook No Yes QL Obj-C Interfaces for previewing files of unknown formats.
QuickLookThumbnailing No Yes
RealityFoundation No Yes
RealityKit No Yes
ReplayKit No Yes
RoomPlan No Yes
SafariServices No Yes SF
SafetyKit No Yes
SceneKit No Yes
ScreenTime No Yes
Security Yes CSSM, Sec Obj-C Interfaces for managing keys, trust policies, and certificates.
SensorKit No Yes
SharedWithYou No Yes
SharedWithYouCore No Yes
ShazamKit No Yes
Social No Yes SL Obj-C Originally for system social accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Repurposed to support third-party sharing extensions.
SoundAnalysis No Yes
Speech No Yes
SpriteKit No Yes
StoreKit No Yes SK Obj-C Interfaces for handling in-app purchase transactions.
SwiftUI No Yes
System Yes
SystemConfiguration Yes SC C++ Interfaces for determining network availability.
TabularData No Yes
ThreadNetwork No Yes
Twitter No Yes TW Obj-C Interfaces for sending tweets. Superseded by Social.framework.
UIKit Yes UI Obj-C Classes for iOS UI elements and for the user interface layer of applications.
UniformTypeIdentifiers No Yes
UserNotifications No Yes
UserNotificationsUI No Yes
VideoSubscriberAccount No Yes
VideoToolbox No Yes Interfaces used by the device. Apple states not to include this framework directly.
Vision No Yes Introduced in iOS 11.x.
VisionKit No Yes
WatchConnectivity No Yes
WatchKit No 8.2+ Yes Interfaces for connectivity between iOS apps and Apple Watch.
WeatherKit No Yes
WebKit Yes No Yes WK
WidgetKit No Yes

iPhone OS 1.x[edit]

Some frameworks in iPhone OS 1.x were located in the public Frameworks directory, but were still effectively "private". These frameworks are listed below. Many moved to the PrivateFrameworks directory in iPhone OS 2.0, or were removed entirely.

Framework Introduced Fate Prefix Language Description
AppSupport 1.0 Private framework
ArtworkCache 1.1 Private framework
BluetoothManager 1.0 Private framework
Calculate 1.1 Private framework
Calendar 1.0 Private framework
Camera 1.0 Private framework
Celestial 1.0 Private framework
CoreSurface 1.0 Private framework
DeviceLink 1.0 Private framework Presumably renamed to MobileDeviceLink
GMM 1.0 Private framework Google Mobile Maps
GraphicsServices 1.0 Private framework
IAP 1.0 Private framework iPod Accessory Protocol, used by 30-pin Connector accessories
IOMobileFramebuffer 1.0 Private framework
ITSync 1.0 Private framework
iTunesStore 1.1 Private framework
LayerKit 1.0 Renamed to QuartzCore LK LayerKit is the old name for CoreAnimation/QuartzCore
MBX2D 1.0 Private framework
MBXConnect 1.0 Private framework
MeCCA 1.0 Removed
Message 1.0 Private framework
MobileBluetooth 1.0 Private framework
MobileMusicPlayer 1.0 Private framework
MoviePlayerUI 1.0 Removed
MusicLibrary 1.0 Private framework
OfficeImport 1.0 Private framework
PhotoLibrary 1.0 Private framework
Preferences 1.0 Private framework
TelephonyUI 1.0 Private framework
URLify 1.0 Private framework
VisualVoicemail 1.1 Private framework
WebCore 1.0 Private framework The lower-level component of WebKit


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