Download iOS 17.5.1 now to fix a worrying reappearing photos bug

iPhone 15 review images
The iPhone 15 (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

No phones are immune to bugs, but a particularly troubling one appeared with the rollout of iOS 17.5, leading to previously deleted photos resurfacing for some users.

This even affected images that had been 'permanently deleted', and some users claimed that photos from as long ago as 2010 were coming back. It wasn’t limited to photos, either, with reports of deleted voicemails also reappearing.

This is obviously a major concern, since some of these images could contain sensitive content or simply things that people don’t want to see again. Fortunately, Apple has now rolled out a fix for the problem with iOS 17.5.1.

The company claims in the update notes that this is a fix for “a rare issue where photos that experienced database corruption could reappear in the Photos library even if they were deleted.”

That mention of “database corruption” also gives some indication of how this could have happened in the first place.

Beat the bugs

This update doesn’t include anything else, aside from unnamed “important bug fixes”, so it’s not a major software update. But given that it includes bug fixes it should be well worth downloading, especially if you’ve experienced this reappearing photos bug.

And this bug aside there was no shortage of desirable new features in the recent iOS 17.5 update, including third-party tracker alerts, improvements to Apple News Plus, and – for those in the EU – the ability to download apps directly from websites. Check out our guide to four new features iOS 17.5 brings to your iPhone for more on each of them.

In any case, you can find the iOS 17.5.1 update in Settings > General > Software Update, and there’s also an iPadOS 17.5.1 version for iPads.

Hopefully with that update downloaded your deleted images will be gone for good, but this does highlight that with software, and especially the cloud, you can never really be sure that your deleted files are truly erased.

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James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.