iOS 17.5 Bug Resurrects Deleted Photos, Voicemails: Apple's Privacy Nightmare Unfolds


Apple's iOS 17.5 Update Resurrects Deleted Photos, Raising Privacy Concerns

Apple's latest iOS 17.5 update appears to have a concerning bug that is causing deleted photos, some dating back years, to reappear on users' devices. The issue, which was first reported by iOS beta testers last week, has now been confirmed by numerous iPhone owners following Monday's official update.

According to a Reddit thread spotted by MacRumors, users are reporting that old photos, including some of a sensitive nature, are resurfacing in their Recents album after updating to iOS 17.5. While iOS does offer the option to restore deleted photos within a 30-day window, these images are supposed to be permanently removed after that period.

One Reddit user claimed that NSFW photos they had deleted "years ago" had reappeared on their phone, while another reported seeing photos from as far back as 2016 show up as new images, despite not recalling ever deleting them. In a particularly concerning case, a user claimed that around 300 of their old pictures, some of which were "revealing," appeared on an iPad they had wiped and sold to a friend.

While the reappearance of deleted data may seem nefarious, it could be a more innocent issue related to how iOS handles data deletion. Computer data is not actually "deleted" until it is overwritten with new information, and operating systems simply cut off references to it. One user even reported seeing a photo return despite not syncing their phone or using iCloud, suggesting that the photos could be originating from on-device storage.

The issue may not be limited to photos, as one person posted on X (formerly Twitter) that they experienced the return of old voicemails after the update, a problem also reported by several beta testers in earlier iOS 17 versions.

Regardless of the underlying cause, the resurfacing of deleted data, particularly sensitive images, is a significant privacy concern for iPhone users. The incident raises questions about how iOS handles deleted data and whether Apple is inadvertently holding onto old information. As users await a response from Apple and a potential fix for the bug, the situation serves as a reminder of the importance of thoroughly erasing sensitive data and the potential risks associated with trusting devices with personal information.