iPhone owners say the latest iOS update is resurfacing deleted nudes

Apple appears to have a bug that’s dredging up data that iPhone owners thought was gone. Some iPhone owners are reporting that, after updating their phones to iOS 17.5, their deleted photos — some quite old — are popping up again, according to a Reddit thread that MacRumors spotted. iOS beta testers had the same complaints about the bug last week.

People reporting the apparent bug say that they’re seeing old photos appear in their Recents album after Monday’s update. iOS does give users the option to restore deleted photos, but after 30 days, they’re supposed to be permanently removed. The person who started the thread claimed that NSFW photos they had deleted “years ago” were back on their phone. Another Reddit user said that they saw photos from 2016 show up as new images but that they didn’t think they’d ever deleted them.

This could be more innocent than it sounds. Computer data is never actually “deleted” until it’s overwritten with new 1s and 0s — operating systems simply cut off references to it. One user also said they saw a photo return even though they don’t sync their phone or use iCloud, implying the photos could be originating from on-device storage. Apple didn’t immediately reply to IMR’s request for comment.

There’s a chance it’s not specific to photos, either, as one person posted on X that they saw old voicemails come back after the update. Several beta testers said the same thing about earlier iOS 17 betas. Whether the issue implies Apple is secretly holding onto old deleted data or it’s just a quirk of how iOS 17.5 handles that data, it’s not an ideal situation. Nobody wants to see their deleted nudes come back.

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