There appears to be a bug in iOS 17.5 that causes deleted photos to reappear, and the issue appears to be affecting even iPhones and iPads that have been wiped and sold to other people.

A Reddit user wiped an iPad following Apple’s instructions in September 2023 before selling it to a friend. This friend updated his ‌iPad‌ to iPadOS 17.5 this week, and started seeing the Reddit user’s old photos reappear in the Photos app. From Reddit:

I wiped the iPad using official Apple manuals before selling. I never signed in to my iPad with my Apple ID after wiping the iPad. I sold my iPad to a friend in September 2023, and he called me today after updating to iPad OS 17.5 and said my old photos showed up in his Photos app… gross invasion of privacy. I see other reports about this. How many people will get other people’s photos on devices they bought from other people?

The affected ‌iPad‌ was a 12.9-inch 4th generation iPad Pro that had been updated to the latest operating system update and, before being sold, had been wiped clean. According to Apple’s instructions. The Reddit user says they didn’t log back into their ‌iPad‌ at any time after erasing it, so it’s not entirely clear how their old photos ended up reappearing on the device.

Earlier this week, we shared several other reports of users who saw deleted photos reappear on their devices after an update, but these reports were from users who still owned their devices and were signed in to their iCloud Photo Libraries and Apple IDs.

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The latest report suggests that an iPad that was wiped and sold is somehow recovering old photos from an Apple ID that you are no longer signed in to. The Reddit user says the resurfaced photos date back to 2017, which lines up with similar reports. The photos were initially taken on an iPhone and therefore synced to the ‌iPad‌ via iCloud Photo Library before the ‌iPad‌ was erased and sold.

Other users have seen photos from years ago (even late 2010) suddenly reappear, with no explanation as to why. Not all users see this issue, and it doesn’t seem to affect all deleted photos.

Apple devices are supposed to keep photos for 30 days in the Recently Deleted section of the Photos app, and the photos should be automatically deleted if a second deletion action is performed from the Recently Deleted interface. Apple has yet to provide any information about why some users are seeing photos resurface, and it’s worrying to hear a report of old photos showing up on a device that was wiped and sold.

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