Apple releases iOS 17.5.1 to fix Photo glitch that made deleted photos reappear

May 21, 2024

Apple has released a point update to fix the iOS 17.5 photo glitch. iOS 17.5.1 patches the bug that was causing deleted photos to be available again.

As you may recall, the iOS 17.5 update was made available to users on May 14th. When users installed the update on their iPhones, they noticed that photos that they had previously deleted from their library, were now available again.

Users began to worry whether this would cause their old photos to appear on devices that they had sold or given to others. Naturally, this caused quite an uproar among the Apple community, blogs, and security experts. Their question was, how do deleted photos return automatically? Were they being saved on a server? Isn't this a privacy risk? The short answer is no. Read on.

What caused deleted photos to reappear in iOS 17.5?

One reddit user wrote that they had reported an issue to Apple in March. The user stated that the Photos app froze while uploading several photos and videos that they had captured on the iPhone, and the images simply vanished. However, after discussing the issues with Apple, they narrowed the issue to the Files app, which they had used to connect to an NAS server. This particular bug was patched in iOS 17.5, and the user got their photos back. The person also theorizes that the bug was probably rare and that Apple could not track it. They explained that it is possible that the photos and videos that they had edited or deleted before their iPhone froze, prevented the changes from being synced to iCloud, and that the photos were merely hidden from the photo library locally. It is also worth noting that images that you delete from Photos stay in the bin for 30 days, before they are deleted permanently.

Another user shared more information about the bug. Apparently, they were in touch with a private contractor at Apple, who explained what may have caused the glitch. The contractor had reassured them that Apple was not saving their photos or videos to a remote server without the consent of the user. They also stated that the glitch is not a backdoor into iCloud or iPhones, and that the device and data stored on the cloud are mostly secure. Yeah, "mostly secure" isn't very reassuring, but the rest of the post clarifies things.

According to the insider, the iOS 16.5 Photos glitch happened when the media was deleted from the Photos app, but not the Files app. For those unaware, the Files app is the file manager in iOS that you can use to access content saved on your device. The user says that while photos that are deleted from the Photos app are removed from the gallery, an identical copy of the images are present in the Files app. But, a rare bug in iOS 17.5 resulted in causing the system to re-save all the photos, videos from the Files app, back into the Photos app. It can occur when the phone re-indexes the files after a system update to build a database.

That actually makes sense, and it does tally with the release note for iOS 17.5.1. The change log mentions that: "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."

iOS 17.5.1 update

The iOS 17.5.1 update is available for the Phone XS and later. iPadOS 17.5.1 patches the Photos bug on the following models: iPad Pro 13-inch, iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2nd generation and later, iPad Pro 10.5-inch, iPad Pro 11-inch 1st generation and later, iPad Air 3rd generation and later, iPad 6th generation and later, and iPad mini 5th generation and later

I think an official statement from Apple would have been welcomed by users, I mean it is the company's responsibility to dismiss scaremongering rumors and clarify the situation, especially when people are questioning the privacy policies.

Apple releases iOS 17.5.1 to fix Photo glitch that made deleted photos reappear
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Apple releases iOS 17.5.1 to fix Photo glitch that made deleted photos reappear
Apple patches a bug that was causing deleted photos to reappear on iPhones.
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  1. Anonymous said on May 25, 2024 at 12:35 am

    ‘deleted’ …as to be expected. so they keep all user stuff secretly archieved
    like fb or google, we all believe that they actually delete our ‘deleted’ data instead of using it for ai training etc..

  2. guest said on May 24, 2024 at 2:23 pm

    apple needs to remove ai and that will fix it

  3. John said on May 22, 2024 at 8:54 am

    People reported getting deleted photos back even after a full wipe of the system. Apple knows it was exposed. Now they’re saying that they had multiple copies of photos in different DBs. That’s insanely inefficient and sloppy but whatever…

    This is a company that made scanning emails seem normal, that they were planning on scanning images to try and ID cp. The same company that makes all iCloud data available to China (in china). Will burn through your battery to force you to buy a new phone.

    The ones that tell their users they are holding it wrong. haha!

    At least Android users have to pretenses. We know Google is evil. We know Microsoft is evil. We call them out constantly. Apple users… I have no words. You deserve this.

  4. John G. said on May 21, 2024 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks @Ashwin for the article! :]

  5. Benjamin said on May 21, 2024 at 9:25 am

    Keeping deleted user data is simply theft not a glitch.
    But this is what all cloud services at the end of the day do.
    The never delete anything that they got their hands on and this is not limited to cloud services but all collected user data.
    It is after all the business model that they rely on for the profits.
    Free as in gratis data from hundreds of millions if people to trade with any one who pays.
    Should there not be something like a globally valid copy right on ones name, adress, data right from the first day?

    1. Anonymous said on May 21, 2024 at 3:20 pm

      “Keeping deleted user data is simply theft not a glitch”

      C’mon, do you really think Apple keeps photos of all of us? If you read a bit more on the matter you would understand more on this…

      1. Benjamin said on May 21, 2024 at 4:41 pm

        Why do you think the data centers of the larger IT corporations & social networks grow non stop and have to use ever more resources of all kinds mainly electricity and land? Just search “data center” and add the name of the corporation…

      2. Anonymous said on May 22, 2024 at 8:18 am

        sounds like a conspiracy statement…

  6. Bobo said on May 21, 2024 at 8:18 am

    The fact that the file manager saves a copy when a user deletes it from the photo app is retarded. Just like apple sheep that probably don’t even know how to use a file manager in the first place. That’s what you get when “there’s an app for everything”: users who don’t learn to care. Users who expect something that automagically wipes their ass.
    My goodness, did I just call apple users retarded, like, all of the USA? Why yes, yes I did. I’m not taking it back. Sue me.

    1. Anonymous said on May 21, 2024 at 3:24 pm

      sometimes it is better not to write when there is no technical expertise…

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