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Monday, June 17, 2024

Right here’s why deleted iPhone photographs returned to some iOS gadgets

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We lastly have a greater understanding of why gadgets working iOS 17.5 began resurfacing long-deleted photos, courtesy of Apple and a few third-party researchers. Whereas Apple launched the iOS 17.5.1 iPhone replace to repair the difficulty earlier this week, attributing it to a “database corruption,” the corporate remained tight-lipped about what was particularly inflicting {old} recordsdata — together with deleted nudes, in some experiences — to begin showing on gadgets that by no means hosted them.

Elaborating on the difficulty to 9to5Mac, Apple says it was brought on by a corrupt database entry on the machine’s file system, impacting recordsdata on the gadgets themselves and never those who had been synced to iCloud. These recordsdata might have been carried over from older gadgets when restored from a backup or throughout device-to-device switch.

Apple says it doesn’t have entry to picture or video recordsdata on customers’ telephones, and that solely a small variety of folks have been impacted

One Reddit person had beforehand claimed in a now-deleted post that the iOS 17.5 bug had resurfaced photographs on an iPad that had been wiped and bought to a pal. Apple, nonetheless, claims this isn’t potential, telling 9to5Mac that each one recordsdata and content material are completely deleted as soon as a tool’s knowledge has been fully erased. Primarily, Apple is claiming this person both didn’t comply with the correct device reset procedure or is just mendacity for Reddit clout. The corporate mentioned that solely a small variety of folks have been impacted by the database problem, and that Apple doesn’t have entry to picture or video recordsdata on customers’ telephones.

Safety researchers at Synactiv additionally expanded on the difficulty by reverse-engineering the iOS 17.5.1 replace used to repair it. You’ll find an in depth clarification in their full report here, however briefly, iOS 17.5 added a migration routine accountable for scanning and re-importing photographs from the filesystem. The routine was deleted by Apple’s current replace as a result of it precipitated {old} recordsdata to be re-indexed on the native file system and pushed again into picture galleries. 

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“Based mostly on this code, we are able to say that the photographs that reappeared have been nonetheless mendacity round on the filesystems and that they have been simply discovered by the migration routine added in iOS 17.5,” mentioned Synacktiv. “Based mostly solely on this evaluation, it isn’t potential to conclude how the photographs remained on the filesystem within the first place.” The Synacktiv article then directs readers to this comment on Reddit for a believable clarification, which incorporates the potential for customers saving pictures to each the File app and Images app and solely deleting the latter.

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