Published in Mobiles

Apple fixes privacy howler

by on21 May 2024

Permits users to delete their pictures for good

The red faced fruity cargo cult Apple has fixed a “feature” on iOS 17.5 that resurrected long-delete and potentially embarrassing pictures.

On 14  May, when  Apple unleashed iOS 17.5 upon its unsuspecting users, those who updated their iPhones were greeted with a nasty surprise: photos they had banished to the digital nether were suddenly back, haunting their libraries.

Panic ensued as users fretted over the possibility of their discarded snaps showing up on second-hand devices they'd passed on. The Apple forums and security blogs were ablaze with speculation.

Apple resolved all these worries by saying “no,” but Apple fanboys were not taking its word for it.

One Reddit sleuth reported a chilling encounter to Apple back in March. Their Photos app had frozen mid-upload, and the images vanished into thin air. After a tête-à-tête with Apple, they pinpointed the culprit to the Files app, which had been linked to a NAS server.

This bug was supposedly squashed in iOS 17.5, and voilà, the user's photos re-emerged from the abyss. The theory goes that this bug was a rare beast, eluding Apple's trackers.

 It's suggested that photos edited or deleted before the iPhone's freeze didn't sync to iCloud, instead playing a game of hide-and-seek in the local library. And let's not forget, deleted images linger in the bin for 30 days before they're wiped from existence.

Another user shed more light on this digital haunting, having conversed with an Apple contractor who assured them that no, Apple wasn't hoarding photos on a remote server sans user consent. They claimed the glitch wasn't a secret passage into iCloud or iPhones, and that the data was 'mostly secure'. 'Mostly' doesn't quite cut it for reassurance, though, does it?

Then, a Jobs’ Mob insider confirmed the iOS 16.5 Photos glitch occurred when media was scrubbed from the Photos app but clung on in the Files app.

For the uninitiated, the Files app is iOS's file manager, a gateway to your device's saved content. While the Photos app might say goodbye to your pictures, their doppelgängers survive in the Files app.

But in a rare twist of fate, iOS 17.5 played necromancer, resurrecting all photos and videos from the Files app back to the Photos app during a system re-indexing post-update.

The release note for iOS 17.5.1 confirms this eerie affair: "This update provides important bug fixes and addresses a rare issue where photos that experienced database corruption could reappear in the Photos library even if they were deleted."

Last modified on 21 May 2024
Rate this item
(1 Vote)