Deleted images haunt iPhone users in Photos for iOS 17.5

Posted:
in iOS

Apple's update to iOS 17.5 may be causing problems for some users, with reports of photos deleted long ago resurfacing on devices.

A Portrait Photo on an iPhone 15
A Portrait Photo on an iPhone 15



When users delete images from a device, they expect them to be inaccessible after a period of time. However, a bug in the iOS 17.5 update may be resurfacing older images that users may want to keep out of view.

In posts to Reddit, users are complaining that shots they wanted deleted have suddenly become accessible again in Photos.

One user detailed that some non-worksafe images that were deleted in 2021 reappeared, complete with a mark saying they were saved to iCloud. Others report photos reappearing in their collection despite repeated deletion attempts.

It is unclear exactly what is causing the problem, but it's one that apparently appeared in betas. Some users of iOS 17.5 beta 4 apparently found the same thing.

So far, AppleInsider has yet to recreate the issue.

Users deleting images from the Photos app in iOS are warned that they will be deleted from iCloud Photos on all devices. The images are also kept in Recently Deleted for 30 days, giving a window of opportunity to recover the files before they are deleted.

The appearance of photographs deleted far earlier than that window could indicate that files are being kept around for a lot longer than Apple's warning text implies.

AppleInsider is monitoring the situation for updates.



Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    When they say data can be destroyed but never deleted they really meant that
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 8
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,363member
    Privacy and data retention at odds with Apple's stated Privacy Policy? I thought I recalled 6 months being the maximum time Apple says they keep deleted accounts and content. But I'm old, and my memory is not as good as it once was.

    In any event, four years later is well beyond expectations. 
    edited May 15 byronl
  • Reply 3 of 8
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,778member
    gatorguy said:
    Privacy and data retention at odds with Apple's stated Privacy Policy? I thought I recalled 6 months being the maximum time Apple says they keep deleted accounts and content. But I'm old, and my memory is not as good as it once was.

    In any event, four years later is well beyond expectations. 
    To my way of seeing the logic, there isn't any increased risk in this. It's not as if someone can rummage through the deleted data I assume. Why wouldn't the deleted data be secure if the undeleted data is safe? I assume only the account owners are seeing the deleted images returned. Now, is it a PITA? Yep.  That all said, it is better this than images not deleted disappearing :)
    byronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 8
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,363member
    MacPro said:
    gatorguy said:
    Privacy and data retention at odds with Apple's stated Privacy Policy? I thought I recalled 6 months being the maximum time Apple says they keep deleted accounts and content. But I'm old, and my memory is not as good as it once was.

    In any event, four years later is well beyond expectations. 
    To my way of seeing the logic, there isn't any increased risk in this. It's not as if someone can rummage through the deleted data I assume. Why wouldn't the deleted data be secure if the undeleted data is safe? I assume only the account owners are seeing the deleted images returned. Now, is it a PITA? Yep.  That all said, it is better this than images not deleted disappearing :)
    A valid assumption would be that Apple has some use for those photos after the owner no longer does and thus ordered their deletion. Perhaps for AI training purposes as they would no longer have been considered "user data" after their deletion?

    On a more personal level, had the owner of the NSFW images been with a new partner when these years old trashed photos were resurfaced this week, I could see it being an issue in the relationship.  At best it's a very bad look for Apple, one that seems counter to stated policies. 
    edited May 15 bonobob
  • Reply 5 of 8
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,778member
    gatorguy said:
    MacPro said:
    gatorguy said:
    Privacy and data retention at odds with Apple's stated Privacy Policy? I thought I recalled 6 months being the maximum time Apple says they keep deleted accounts and content. But I'm old, and my memory is not as good as it once was.

    In any event, four years later is well beyond expectations. 
    To my way of seeing the logic, there isn't any increased risk in this. It's not as if someone can rummage through the deleted data I assume. Why wouldn't the deleted data be secure if the undeleted data is safe? I assume only the account owners are seeing the deleted images returned. Now, is it a PITA? Yep.  That all said, it is better this than images not deleted disappearing :)
    A valid assumption would be that Apple has some use for those photos after the owner no longer does and thus ordered their deletion. Perhaps for AI training purposes as they would no longer have been considered "user data" after their deletion?

    On a more personal level, had the owner of the NSFW images been with a new partner when these years old trashed photos were resurfaced this week, I could see it being an issue in the relationship.  At best it's a very bad look for Apple, one that seems counter to stated policies. 
    The first paragraph is a leap; this isn't Google we are talking about ;) But I concur with the second.  OMG I better go and check!!!  Seriously though, I wonder if they appear in the trash, in which case a password is required, or perhaps these have to do with a local storage bug for those who, like me, retain all originals locally and on the cloud.
    edited May 15 byronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 8
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,457member
    I think the bug is that when you delete a file and you expect all devices to delete the image as well but a glitch is that somehow the devices aren't sync'd correctly and the deleted files aren't removed from ALL devices. If you still have devices that are holding the images but not yet deleted due to network inactivity, it may show up unexpectedly. I think you need to make sure ALL devices are active and all are synced for delete to work correctly. Also make sure all devices are not in your account if you no longer use them. 
       
    Syncing is an issue that surface a few times. It gets worse with increasing number of devices. 
    byronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 8
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,778member
    netrox said:
    I think the bug is that when you delete a file and you expect all devices to delete the image as well but a glitch is that somehow the devices aren't sync'd correctly and the deleted files aren't removed from ALL devices. If you still have devices that are holding the images but not yet deleted due to network inactivity, it may show up unexpectedly. I think you need to make sure ALL devices are active and all are synced for delete to work correctly. Also make sure all devices are not in your account if you no longer use them. 
       
    Syncing is an issue that surface a few times. It gets worse with increasing number of devices. 
    I can well believe that is a strong possibility. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 8
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,498member
    Ah, this explains why I’ve seen some long forgotten deleted photos rising from the dead. 
    watto_cobra
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