iOS 17.5.1 Includes Fix for Bug That Resurfaced Deleted Photos

MacRumors, quoting Apple’s own release notes:

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.

That’s a nasty bug, so it’s no surprise that 17.5.1 is here just one week after 17.5.0.

Last week MacRumors also reported on a claim that iOS 17.5 was resurfacing photos on devices that had been wiped and resold (or given away), but that was an extraordinary claim that didn’t jibe with our understanding of how “wiping” an iOS device works. All storage on iOS devices is encrypted, and when you wipe the device (Settings → General → Transfer or Reset iPhone/iPad → Erase All Content and Settings), the encryption key is destroyed. The system doesn’t, and doesn’t need to, overwrite the storage with 0’s or random bits. It just destroys the encryption key from the Secure Enclave, rendering the data already written to storage unrecoverable. That report was based on a single post on Reddit, which has since been deleted. (MacRumors has an update appended to that report, but I think they should move that update to the top of the post, not the bottom. All evidence suggests that it was a false alarm.)

Monday, 20 May 2024