A Bug is Restoring Deleted Photos on Wiped and Sold iPads and iPhones

Data security is one of the common reasons people prefer iOS and iPadOS over Android.

However, a recent incident involving an iOS 17.5 bug has caused people to doubt this trust.

Multiple users have reported that a bug in iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5 has caused deleted photos to reappear in their Photos library.

Many noticed this trend while coming across already-deleted photos in the Uploaded to iCloud album.

This bug gathered attention on 15 May when an iOS user took it to Reddit to share this creepy experience.

The OP shared an experience where they encountered NSFW material they deleted several years ago.

iPhone running iOS 17.5 update

And, quickly, others started sharing their weird experience with iPhones and iPads running the latest version of the OS.

Some were puzzled when they came across years-old artwork—and, often, NSFW photos—that were deleted permanently.

The latest updates, however, point towards a more problematic narrative.

In a now-deleted Reddit post, a user shared a somewhat creepier story. A friend of the user, who bought the user’s old iPad Pro, came across the user’s old pictures after upgrading to iPadOS 17.5.

This particular variation of the bug happened on an iPad Pro 12.9 inch running the latest version of the OS. The Reddit user is sure that they had erased the iPad Pro according to Apple’s instructions.

Per the iOS policy, photos deleted from the Photos app will be kept in Trash for 30 days. After 30 days, all these photos would be permanently deleted.

Therefore, photos deleted years or decades ago reappearing after an update is a massive privacy violation. Unsurprisingly, people are taken aback by this, especially when it happens on an Apple device.

More importantly, the bug does not seem to affect all users running iOS 17.5. Nor does it restore all deleted photos to the Photos app. The randomness of the issue causes users to believe it is a device-specific issue.

At the time of writing, Apple has yet to acknowledge the issue or respond. However, Apple will surely need a reasonable explanation for this mishap, considering how it has advocated user privacy across its product lineup.

It might be a good time to check the Photos app if you have an iPhone or iPad running iOS 17.5 or iPadOS 17.5.

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