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Here’s why deleted iPhone photos returned to some iOS devices

A picture of an iPhone with the iOS Photos app on-screen.
Turns out the “deleted” files may have been on devices this entire time. | Photo: Wes Davis / The Verge

We finally have a better understanding of why devices running iOS 17.5 started resurfacing long-deleted photos, courtesy of Apple and some third-party researchers. While Apple released the iOS 17.5.1 iPhone update to fix the issue earlier this week, attributing it to a “database corruption,” the company remained tight-lipped about what was specifically causing old files — including deleted nudes, in some reports — to start appearing on devices that never hosted them.

Elaborating on the issue to 9to5Mac, Apple says it was caused by a corrupt database entry on the device’s file system, impacting files on the devices themselves and not those that had been synced to iCloud. Those files may have been carried over from older devices when…

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