iOS 17.5 bug is making deleted photos mysteriously reappear

Jitendra Soni
iPhone 12 against a river in background

Software updates are meant to add new features and remove known bugs, but an iOS 17.5 bug reportedly makes old deleted photos reappear in the iPhone’s image gallery.

The new iOS 17.5 update was meant to introduce new features and enhancements to the Apple News app, in addition to fixing bugs and adding security updates. However, once users installed it on their iPhones, some reported that they saw deleted old images reappear in their image gallery.

A user who shared their experience on Reddit said: “When in conversation with my partner, I went to send a picture and saw that the latest pictures were nsfw material we’d made years ago when we were living apart.”

The user confirmed that these images were “permanently deleted.” Even worse, their iPad also had images reappear automatically that were deleted years ago, “I checked my iPad and it also has pictures (some art work I did years ago). I feel so uncomfortable.”

At the time of writing, this Reddit post had over 237 comments, with many users experiencing the exact same bug.

“Same here. I have four pics from 2010 that keep reappearing as the latest pics uploaded to iCloud. I have deleted them repeatedly,” another user explained.

The “recovered” images have all the relevant details, including metadata, location, and device details used to capture the image. Moreover, the images were not compressed and showed no loss of detail.

iOS 17

Most operating systems let deleted images remain in the memory for a certain period (30 days for iOS) before deleting them permanently to free up space. However, these posts indicate that some reappearing images were not recent and were deleted years before.

Users have suggested that these images appear in recent media as if captured recently. It’s unclear if these were added to iCloud and have also re-appeared. It’s been speculated that the issue could be related to re-indexing image libraries.

Apple has yet to release a statement explaining why old and deleted images are resurfacing automatically. However, it’s more than likely a quick software patch to fix this bug may be on the horizon.

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About The Author

Jitendra loves writing about tech, especially smartphones. He has almost 10 years of experience. He spearheaded the TechRadar India editorial operations and has written for TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Free Press Journal, Mobile Scout, IB Times Singapore, Indulge Express, and more. He can be reached at jitendra.soni@dexerto.com