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Uh oh: The latest iOS update is bringing back deleted photos from years ago

Photogate undeleting iPhone users' old NSFW shots wasn't on our 2024 bingo card.

Published onMay 16, 2024

apple iphone 14 pro camera app
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • Multiple iPhone users have complained about the latest iOS 17.5 update bringing back photos they deleted years ago.
  • Not all affected users rely on iCloud sync for their photos, suggesting it may be a local storage bug.
  • There’s seemingly no fix available right now beyond manually checking and re-deleting the photos after the update.

iOS 17.5 launched earlier this week, bringing a slew of exciting new features to the latest iPhones. These include a fresh puzzle game, offline Apple News access, and a bug that could end your relationship. Indeed, multiple iPhone users have complained about photos they deleted years ago reappearing in their libraries after installing the update. So, what’s going on?

The issue was first highlighted on Reddit when user Specialist-Fix8528 shared that NSFW photos they took and deleted years ago reappeared after updating their iPhone to iOS 17.5. The user also faced a similar issue on their iPad, stating that deleted artwork from years earlier resurfaced, too.

The Reddit thread gained traction, with hundreds of commenters sharing similar experiences — indicating that the bug is relatively widespread. Based on these various reports, we were able to derive some plausible conclusions:

  • The bug seemingly affects the local storage, as some impacted users don’t use iCloud at all.
  • Photos from previous iPhones you’ve owned may still appear on your current one if you’ve restored full-device backups when upgrading your hardware.
  • Photo deletion typically breaks the link between stored data and the accessible user interface. As long as you’re not out of storage, the data could remain there in an unreadable state. So, the bug may be reestablishing these broken links and reindexing deleted photos on the user-facing side.

Right now, there’s seemingly no way to avoid this bug. After updating your iPhone to iOS 17.5, you will have to manually check your Photos app to see if any deleted content has reemerged. Do note, though, that not all users are impacted by this issue, as I personally didn’t encounter it on any of my updated devices.

Are you affected by this serious iOS 17.5 bug? Let us know in the comments.

Got a tip? Talk to us! Email our staff at You can stay anonymous or get credit for the info, it's your choice.

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