iOS update brings back photos users thought were permanently deleted

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After a recent iOS update, a number of iPhone users have found themselves facing unexpected blasts from the past. Following the upgrade to iOS 17.5, several users reported that photos they believed had been permanently deleted—some from as far back as 2016—mysteriously reappeared on their devices. This resurgence of old memories, some of which are quite sensitive, was first noted in a Reddit thread and has since garnered wider attention.

The issue doesn’t seem confined to just photos. Some users also mentioned that previously deleted or listened-to voicemails had similarly made a comeback post-update. This phenomenon extends beyond typical device syncing or use of cloud services like iCloud, suggesting the reappearances may be rooted directly in the devices’ internal storage systems.

This quirk of data management underscores a lesser-known fact about digital deletions: files aren’t truly removed until their storage space is overwritten. iOS, like most operating systems, generally obscures data paths rather than erasing data, which means that under certain circumstances, ‘deleted’ files might resurface.

The incident has sparked discussions about the robustness of Apple’s data management and the potential implications for user privacy. Despite the discomfort it may cause, the reappearance of these files highlights the complex nature of data persistence and deletion in modern digital devices.


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