Apple Finally Explains Zombie iPhone Bug That Resurrected Deleted Photos

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Apple released iOS 17.5.1 a few days ago to fix a problem where users were seeing old photos that were deleted show back up on their devices, causing plenty of privacy concerns among users online. Unfortunately, Apple’s only remarks for the update mentioned a fix for a “database corruption” without going deeper into the situation. It certainly seemed like glossing over what most users saw as a possibly larger security and privacy issue.

Well, Apple finally decided to address the issue a little further in comments to 9to5Mac. The files might have been marked for deletion by the user but instead stuck around because of a corruption on the device’s database. However, Apple makes clear that iCloud photos didn’t play a role in this bug, and that the photos marked for deletion by users never made their way to iCloud. That should give affected users a bit of peace of mind.

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The company says the photos users were seeing reappear on their devices happened as a result of the migration process users undertake when moving from one device to another or from performing the restore process from a backup. It means that the never-deleted photos just kept on persisting from one device to the next until this issue appeared for a select group of users.

This problem rightly caused concern as Apple sells itself and its devices as the best when it comes to privacy and security. It’s baffling as to why the company seemed to release such meager notes alongside the update, when it should have put out an official statement with the explanation it has now provided. At least users have a better explanation now as to why this happened.

Anyone who was affected by this issue will still need to go into the photos app and delete the images that reappeared on their device after updating to 17.5.1.