Strange iPhone bug brings deleted photos back from the dead, no matter how old they are

A new bug in the latest iOS 17.5 update is causing some photos to appear in the Photos app, even after they've been deleted multiple times.

1 minute & 40 seconds read time

Apple only released the iOS 17.5 software update to the public yesterday but already some users are reporting that a somewhat strange bug is causing their old, deleted photos to reappear in the Photos app. The reports suggest that even deleting the photos again isn't enough to make sure that they stay deleted, too.

The problem has started to pop up across social media with MacRumors reporting on a Reddit post in which people have been detailing their experiences. One user says that four photos that were taken in 2010 have now popped back up and appear as if they were recently taken. Another user explained that a photo taken at a concert has recently shown up as if it was taken today.

Strange iPhone bug brings deleted photos back from the dead, no matter how old they are 02

There is currently no indication of why this is happening, but the age of some of these photos suggests that these aren't images that are being held in the Recently Deleted album within the Photos app. Photos normally wait there for 30 days after they were deleted before they are actually deleted properly, but given the age of some of the photos discussed in the Reddit thread, this issue appears to be more related to iCloud than anything local to the iPhone in question.

With no sign of a fix or explanation from Apple as to what is happening, there isn't an awful lot that people can do. But this is likely to be a bug that Apple will be keen to fix - people won't want to see some specific images that have been deleted for specific reasons, and having them reappear on an iPhone could be problematic and even traumatic for those people.

The iOS 17.5 update is likely to be the last, beyond any maintenance releases that are shared in order to fix this bug, before iOS 18 is announced. The update is expected to be previewed at the WWDC event on June 10 before undergoing its own months-long beta testing period. Then, we expect that Apple will release iOS 18 to the public in September alongside the release of the new iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro.

The iOS 18 update is expected to be joined by new software for the iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, HomePod, and Apple Vision Pro. Many if not all of those devices are also expected to benefit from new AI-powered features as a result of those new software updates. OpenAI is being tipped as a potential Apple partner in its efforts to improve AI features across its products.

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Based in the UK, Oliver has been writing about technology, entertainment, and games for more than a decade. If there's something with a battery or a plug, he's interested. After spending too much money building gaming PCs, Oliver switched to Apple and the Mac - and now spends too much on those instead.

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