New iOS & iPadOS update fixes reappearing photos bug

Posted:
in iOS edited May 20

Apple has released a minor update for iOS and iPadOS, that fixes an issue in the Photos app that resurrected deleted images.

A Portrait Photo shot in iOS 17
A Portrait Photo shot in iOS 17



One week after releasing iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5 to the public, Apple has issued a minor update for both operating systems.

The update to iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1 replaces the respective 17.5 releases for each. The new builds are build number 21F90.

Among the fixes in the release is one that surfaced just after the 17.5 updates were distributed. Users discovered that older photographs they had deleted were suddenly accessible again in Photos.

Apple describes it as a rare issue that involved a database corruption for some users in their Photos library. It's not clear how prevalent the issue was.

How to update to iOS 17.5.1



Updating an iPhone is straightforward and doesn't require much user intervention. Generally, if the user has automatic updates enabled, the update will install overnight without prompt.

If, for some reason, the update doesn't install automatically or if the user wants to install it manually, that is done via the Settings app.

  1. Open Settings

  2. Tap "General"

  3. Tap "Software Update"

  4. The software update will appear here when available



Apple tends to release iOS updates on a rolling basis, so the update may not immediately appear for everyone.



Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    markbyrnmarkbyrn Posts: 662member
    If photos are reappearing years after you deleted them, this 17.5 bug only exposed the fact that Apple was somehow retaining the deleted photos. This 17.5.1 update only re-hides that egregious violation of privacy.  Tim Cook bad!
    antiprotestbonobobappleinsideruserMisterKitmuthuk_vanalingamVictorMortimerbeowulfschmidtgrandact73
  • Reply 2 of 12
    TravisVTravisV Posts: 13member
    This brings up another disturbing scenario with Apple. If the photo's that you deleted years ago reappear what else is Apple storing on their servers that you have deleted from Data Recovery in iCloud. ARE THEY REALLY DELETED or are they just hidden like files hidden on a mac with a ".".. THe question now is can Apple be believed when they say they can not read your FileVault Key that might be stored on their servers and that in Systems Setting in Sonoma and is Advance System Protection, protection at all!
    bonobobappleinsiderusermuthuk_vanalingamVictorMortimergrandact73
  • Reply 3 of 12
    mikethemartianmikethemartian Posts: 1,408member
    What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone…even if you try to delete it.
    bonobobappleinsideruserVictorMortimerctt_zhgrandact73
  • Reply 4 of 12
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,930member
    TravisV said:
    This brings up another disturbing scenario with Apple. If the photo's that you deleted years ago reappear what else is Apple storing on their servers that you have deleted from Data Recovery in iCloud. ARE THEY REALLY DELETED or are they just hidden like files hidden on a mac with a ".".. THe question now is can Apple be believed when they say they can not read your FileVault Key that might be stored on their servers and that in Systems Setting in Sonoma and is Advance System Protection, protection at all!
    markbyrn said:
    If photos are reappearing years after you deleted them, this 17.5 bug only exposed the fact that Apple was somehow retaining the deleted photos. This 17.5.1 update only re-hides that egregious violation of privacy.  Tim Cook bad!
    Read the article. The bug appears to involve a corrupted local database, which is then insufficiently deleting the images. It isn’t about secret Apple policies to retain cloud images.
    bonobobDAalsethapplebynatureAlex1Ndavwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,340member
    TravisV said:
    This brings up another disturbing scenario with Apple. If the photo's that you deleted years ago reappear what else is Apple storing on their servers that you have deleted from Data Recovery in iCloud. ARE THEY REALLY DELETED or are they just hidden like files hidden on a mac with a ".".. THe question now is can Apple be believed when they say they can not read your FileVault Key that might be stored on their servers and that in Systems Setting in Sonoma and is Advance System Protection, protection at all!
    markbyrn said:
    If photos are reappearing years after you deleted them, this 17.5 bug only exposed the fact that Apple was somehow retaining the deleted photos. This 17.5.1 update only re-hides that egregious violation of privacy.  Tim Cook bad!
    Read the article. The bug appears to involve a corrupted local database, which is then insufficiently deleting the images. It isn’t about secret Apple policies to retain cloud images.
    Did they say it was a local database, i.e., on the owner's device? If so, I missed that in Apple's explanation. I had read it as a database maintained by Apple on Apple servers. 

    EDIT: No they didn't say anything about a local database, and in fact did not mention where the "corrupted database" existed AFAICT.  It's a very vague and unclear explanation, isn't it? I could be misunderstanding. 
    "This update provides important bug fixes and addresses a rare issue where photos that experienced database corruption could reappear in the Photos library even if they were deleted."

    edited May 20 appleinsideruserAlex1Nmuthuk_vanalingamVictorMortimerctt_zhgrandact73
  • Reply 6 of 12
    M68000M68000 Posts: 770member
    I’m thinking the database or databases store status and pointers to where the actual files are, which would have to be on server farms somewhere.  How could all this be local and have people freeing up actual space when they delete pictures on their iPhones?
    Alex1NVictorMortimerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    M68000 said:
    I’m thinking the database or databases store status and pointers to where the actual files are, which would have to be on server farms somewhere.  How could all this be local and have people freeing up actual space when they delete pictures on their iPhones?
    Could be because the freed up storage space had not been reallocated. i.e. an directory database corruption. That would only effect some users (those where the space had not been reused). Far fetched yes, possible perhaps.
    applebynatureAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 12
    peterhartpeterhart Posts: 161member
    In other news, after the update I clicked my Apple Pencil onto my iPad Pro and a menu of what’s new appeared. I closed it before I read it fully. Anyone else see this or know what the latest updates to existing Apple Pencils are? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    Alex1NAlex1N Posts: 139member
    gatorguy said:
    TravisV said:
    This brings up another disturbing scenario with Apple. If the photo's that you deleted years ago reappear what else is Apple storing on their servers that you have deleted from Data Recovery in iCloud. ARE THEY REALLY DELETED or are they just hidden like files hidden on a mac with a ".".. THe question now is can Apple be believed when they say they can not read your FileVault Key that might be stored on their servers and that in Systems Setting in Sonoma and is Advance System Protection, protection at all!
    markbyrn said:
    If photos are reappearing years after you deleted them, this 17.5 bug only exposed the fact that Apple was somehow retaining the deleted photos. This 17.5.1 update only re-hides that egregious violation of privacy.  Tim Cook bad!
    Read the article. The bug appears to involve a corrupted local database, which is then insufficiently deleting the images. It isn’t about secret Apple policies to retain cloud images.
    Did they say it was a local database, i.e., on the owner's device? If so, I missed that in Apple's explanation. I had read it as a database maintained by Apple on Apple servers. 

    EDIT: No they didn't say anything about a local database, and in fact did not mention where the "corrupted database" existed AFAICT.  It's a very vague and unclear explanation, isn't it? I could be misunderstanding. 
    "This update provides important bug fixes and addresses a rare issue where photos that experienced database corruption could reappear in the Photos library even if they were deleted."

    M68000 said:
    I’m thinking the database or databases store status and pointers to where the actual files are, which would have to be on server farms somewhere.  How could all this be local and have people freeing up actual space when they delete pictures on their iPhones?
    Local but hidden retention might partially explain why there are 3.09GB  stored by Photos on my 64 GB iPad (I realise that it’s way too small) even though i have only ten photos in the app and I have had iCloud photos turned off for several years now. This has always puzzled me.

    Music app downloads are also turned off.

    This mysterious block of ‘invisible’ Photos data contributes to making iPadOS updates a bit of a chore, as I generally have to remove apps then reinstall them. Maybe there’s bleed-through to that 3.09GB number from images in the Messages app (which I tend to leave alone, but should prune more often).
    VictorMortimerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    Thinking some more about this, I think there's a likely simple explanation. Photos stores images in an opaque hierarchy of folders. I recall in the days of iPhoto that during upgrades it would scan the iPhoto Library and sometimes discover lost images and add them back into the index (database).

    I suspect the same has happened here — the entry of the image in the database was removed, but the image in local storage was accidentally left on local disk.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,340member
    Thinking some more about this, I think there's a likely simple explanation. Photos stores images in an opaque hierarchy of folders. I recall in the days of iPhoto that during upgrades it would scan the iPhoto Library and sometimes discover lost images and add them back into the index (database).

    I suspect the same has happened here — the entry of the image in the database was removed, but the image in local storage was accidentally left on local disk.
    I would think if it were "local storage" corruption, Apple would emphasize that and dispel any questions or concerns whether they might be maintaining deleted files on Apple servers.  Instead it was a vague "database corruption" which implies it was not local.

    With Apple as great as they are about explaining things, especially involving potentially bad looks, if the photos were stored locally they would have said so, correct?
    edited May 21 muthuk_vanalingamM68000beowulfschmidtctt_zhAlex1N
  • Reply 12 of 12
    gatorguy said:
    Thinking some more about this, I think there's a likely simple explanation. Photos stores images in an opaque hierarchy of folders. I recall in the days of iPhoto that during upgrades it would scan the iPhoto Library and sometimes discover lost images and add them back into the index (database).

    I suspect the same has happened here — the entry of the image in the database was removed, but the image in local storage was accidentally left on local disk.
    I would think if it were "local storage" corruption, Apple would emphasize that and dispel any questions or concerns whether they might be maintaining deleted files on Apple servers.  Instead it was a vague "database corruption" which implies it was not local.

    With Apple as great as they are about explaining things, especially involving potentially bad looks, if the photos were stored locally they would have said so, correct?
    I feel they just kept the release notes simple (as Apple do). I have experience of corrupted iPhoto databases, which influences my view. But I see the voting; so I realise I'm in the minority on this idea.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
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