Tech Tips and Tutorials

iOS 17.5: iPhones Haunted by Deleted Photos

Ah, iPhones. They are meant to simplify our lives, right? However, recently, it seems like they are behaving like eerie ghosts in relation to our photos. Let me elaborate.

The most recent update for iPhones, iOS 17.5, appears to have triggered a problem within the Photos app. Users are noticing that deleted photos—some dating back years—are resurfacing unexpectedly, like uninvited visitors at a family gathering. Just picture scrolling through your photo gallery, all set to share that hilarious cat video with your friend, and suddenly! There’s a photo that you thought you had consigned deep into the digital abyss. Not a pleasant experience, iOS.

This entire situation has understandably caused a stir among everyone. Are Apple’s servers retaining our deleted photos like a disturbing digital collection? Is this a glitch in the system, or could it be something more ominous?

The truth is that we are not yet certain. However, certain theories are circulating like follows:

  • Indexing Difficulty: Perhaps the update caused our photo libraries to be reindexed by the Photos app. Consider it analogous to an enormous digital file system. Items can become misfiled during restructuring. Perhaps those deleted pictures aren’t really gone—they’re just lost.
  • Sync snarl-up: Another possibility is that there’s a communication issue between iCloud and your iPhone. When you remove a picture, the message never makes it to cloud storage, so an eerie duplicate persists online.
  • Soiled Library: Though less likely, you never know with this one. Perhaps there were some digital phantoms appearing because the photo library itself became contaminated.

Thus, how can you help?

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You might want to wait a little while if you haven’t updated to iOS 17.5. Check to see if Apple releases a software patch to remove these unpleasant ghosts in your photos. However, keep in mind that iOS 17.5 also fixed a few serious security flaws, so there is some risk involved. See our earlier post, iOS 17.5: Security Tweaks, News+ Goodness, and More for Your iPhone, for a more thorough analysis of the new security features in operating system 17.5.

Revised and haunted? Here are a few actions to do:

  • Look for updates here: Apple is presumably working feverishly to clean this up. Check under Settings > General > Software Update for any available updates. Perhaps the iOS 17.5.1 update will prove to be your savior.
  • File a Bug Report: Apple will be able to fix this bug faster the more information they have. Tell the folks at Apple Bug Reporter about the circumstances behind your ghostly photo.
  • Double-Check Recently Deleted: Although it appears that the problem is bringing back old deleted images, it never hurts to be extra cautious. Verify that there are no undesirable pictures in the “Recently Deleted” album.

Recall that they are only short-term fixes. Apple is most likely going to release a software update as the actual remedy.

Let’s now discuss privacy. There are definitely real concerns regarding Apple’s data handling practices raised by this entire photo scandal. Are they collecting our erased pictures in secret? Although we don’t yet have a definitive response, perhaps Apple will take these issues into account when they release a patch.

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Here are some more things to think about:

  • Local backups: The deleted photos can still be on your iPhone if you make a backup copy of it to your computer.
  • Third-Party Apps: Even if you remove your photos from the primary photo app, some photo editing apps might still duplicate your images. It’s simply something to be mindful of.

Okay, so this is a little unsettling, but let’s not lose our cool. Follow tech news, watch for Apple’s reaction, and maybe this picture haunting will soon be history.


Maverick is a tech enthusiast with a bachelor's degree in Industrial Chemistry, combines his passion for technology and gaming to create engaging content. When not working, he enjoys playing video games and listening to music for inspiration.

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