Your deleted photos may reappear on your smartphone and that’s a big problem

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A few days ago, a sense of confusion and unease quickly emerged when iPhone users began noticing long-deleted photos inexplicably reappearing on their devices after updating to iOS 17.5. For a company that prides itself on respecting privacy and data security, This seemed like a particularly egregious misstep on Apple’s part

But as the dust settled and details emerged, the problem revealed a more fundamental challenge that goes well beyond iOS: inherent limitations of flash storage technology. In fact, every smartphone on the market may face the same problem.

iPhone users saw old photos resurface

Initially, speculation was rife about the root cause of the problem. Some believed that Apple implemented a controversial policy of keeping deleted data on iCloud servers, potentially violating user privacy and trust. Others wondered if the issue was specific to iOS or iCloud and They were concerned about the security of their personal data.

However, as Apple investigated and clarified, a more nuanced picture emerged. The company confirmed this The resurrected photos had nothing to do with iCloud storage, but the issue was reportedly caused by a database corruption bug that affected storage on the device. In other words, the iOS 17.5 update accidentally restored pointers to previously deleted photos that were still on the devices’ flash storage chips.

Your Android smartphone can also resurrect your old photos

This revelation shed light on a long-running flash storage technology quirk that affects not just iPhones, but pretty much every modern device that uses SSDs or internal flash memory. Including Android smartphones, tablets and even laptops.

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The crux of the issue lies in how flash storage handles data deletion. Unlike traditional hard drives, where data is physically overwritten when deleted, flash storage removes pointers or addresses that allow the operating system to find and access specific files. THEThe actual data remains on the storage chip until new information is written over it.It’s a process that could take years, especially as storage capacities continue to increase.

This behavior is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it allows for faster and more efficient data management, as the operating system does not need to physically overwrite entire storage blocks when deleting files. But this also means Deleted data may remain indefinitely and be potentially accessible through vulnerabilities in software or even physical extraction methods.

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While Apple’s iOS 17.5 bug is a prominent example of this phenomenon, it is by no means an isolated incident or a problem specific to Apple’s ecosystem. Similar issues have been reported across different platforms and manufacturers, including Android devices, further highlighting the universal nature of this problem.

If you really want to make sure you delete your old photos, security experts recommend doing the following: secure erase or factory resetIt is a process that overwrites all data on the storage medium, thus making the remaining data unrecoverable.