iOS 17.5 is reportedly resurfacing once deleted photos for some users

Reports from iOS owners have recently surfaced claiming their device is bringing back old deleted content out of nowhere after updating to iOS 17.5. A Reddit user on the iOS subreddit said they saw pictures taken in 2021 reappear even though the images were “permanently deleted.” 

The same thing happened to a former iPad owner who sold the tablet to a friend who then called them after vacation photos from September 2024 returned.

And it’s not just first-party software that’s being affected. User ssmithdev on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) posted an image of their iPhone XR showing 26 voicemail notifications on WhatsApp even though he had already deleted them a long time ago. 

People are understandably freaked out. You'll see comments in Reddit posts of users experiencing the same thing – old deleted photos from as far back as 2010 coming back. What’s worse is that some of the content at the heart of this problem is highly sensitive. 

New bug, old problem

At the time of writing, this problem doesn’t seem to be widespread. Reports currently originate from social media platforms only. However, if it is affecting a lot of people, Apple will certainly need to address it with a fix.

No one knows exactly why this is happening, but iPhone owners are pointing the finger at iOS 17.5. Each of these reports states that the deleted images started to reemerge after installing the latest update. It’s also worth mentioning this bug has been known for some time. Over on the iOSBeta subreddit, you’ll find posts from testers saying the same thing – previously deleted content is returning without direct input. This issue goes as far back as nine months, so it’s not a new problem. 

Theorycrafting

Similarly, no one knows exactly how this is happening, although there are theories.

TheVerge states that the returning files could be originating from an iPhone’s on-device storage. They mention how “computer data is never actually deleted.” Also, “[Operating] systems simply cut off references to it,” so they may continue to exist in some dark corner on your phone. iPhones may keep these files tucked away and this bug is making them resurface. 

Other people think that there's an “obscure photo library corruption issue. MacRumors believes this is the result of Apple attempting to fix a photo syncing bug in iOS 17.3. But instead of properly patching it, the company just made another problem. A few think it’s less severe, blaming improper deletion. Perhaps these users didn’t fully wipe their devices clean, and iCloud brought everything back.

There is a lot of speculation going on, but unfortunately, no one has an official answer. We reached out to Apple, asking if they’re aware of this issue and if they would like to comment on it. At the time of this writing, they have yet to respond, but we’ll update this story if we hear back.

While we have you, be sure to check out TechRadar's list of the best photo storage and sharing sites of 2024.

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Microsoft might be trying to sneak Bing into one of Windows 11’s apps – and some users won’t be happy

Windows 11’s Snipping Tool is getting more useful updates in testing – though Microsoft is looking to sneak Bing into the mix here, too, by the looks of things.

The update for Snipping Tool is in the process of rolling out to testers in the Canary and Dev channels, and it comes alongside a minor update for the Paint app too, so let’s get that out of the way first (and we’ll come back to that major Bing change later).

The new version of Paint (v11.2404.42.0) comes with a small but notable tweak. Microsoft has decided its AI feature that knocks up pictures for the user upon request is no long called ‘Cocreator’ but is now ‘Image Creator.’

As for Snipping Tool, with version 11.2404.37.0, Microsoft is introducing the ability to drop emoji into screenshots, which you can move around or resize before planting them in the image.

Also new is functionality that detects QR codes in screenshots, allowing you to instantly follow where the code is linking to.

Finally, Microsoft has added the ability to change the opacity of a shape fill, and the ruler tool has returned.

Remember, this is all just in testing for now, and you can find the full details of the changes in Microsoft’s blog post.


Analysis: Bing search in the mix

Most of these Windows 11 Snipping Tool changes were spotted already, hidden in test builds, so it’s no surprise to see them formally arrive in the app. And speaking of hidden features, there’s another one that’s just been pointed out by leaker PhantomOfEarth on X (formerly Twitter).

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As mentioned at the outset, this appears to be Microsoft cramming Bing into yet another of its products by way of a ‘Visual search with Bing’ option. This is functionality that will fire up an image search, with the Bing engine, for the current screenshot. Although we don‘t know how it‘ll work yet, it could present results in-line in the app (in a panel, maybe), or more likely open the search in Edge. (Microsoft will never miss a chance to get Edge open, let‘s face it).

Although in fairness, this feature could be useful to some, others may regard it as cluttering up Snipping Tool‘s menu. At any rate, this isn’t actually in testing – it’s not rolling out yet, anyway, but the leaker suggests it likely will soon.

Regarding the change of name in Paint, Image Creator is a more direct and to the point name for the feature than Cocreator. As well as bringing it in line with Microsoft’s use of this name elsewhere, this could be read as an indication that the AI powers of Paint won’t be expanded any further than image generation. (As Cocreator kind of suggests an assistant with more sweeping powers, perhaps).

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Haven’t activated Windows 11? Then you might find yourself locked out of some Microsoft Edge browser settings

If you’re running an unactivated version of Windows 11 (or Windows 10), your access to Microsoft Edge’s settings might be restricted in the future. This is already the case when it comes to things like Personalization settings for Windows 11 in an unactivated installation, as well as constant reminders prompting you to activate the OS.

If you don’t mind those constraints and plentiful reminders, you can install and run Windows 11 and Windows 10 without activation for free.

However, it seems like Microsoft has added multiple flags in testing that allow for blocking certain browser capabilities in an Edge preview build – if you’re using Windows 11 (or Windows 10) and it’s unactivated. The three flags in question in Edge spotted by Windows Latest are:

  • msEdgeActivatedStateCheckAndUpdate
  • msEdgeNonActivatedOSTrigger
  • msEdgeLockSettingsInNonActivatedOS

Looking to see the effects of each of these flags being enabled, Windows Latest tried running the Edge Canary test build with one flag enabled at a time. Windows Latest turned on the ‘msEdgeLockSettingsInNonActivatedOS’ flag successfully, which resulted in some of Edge’s settings being locked. Then, when Edge’s settings page was opened, it displayed a banner that stated:

“We notice your Windows is not activated, some customization has been limited.”

Pushing further, Windows Latest explored other parts of Edge settings and also discovered that the ‘When Edge starts’ panel (which allows for configuration of what happens when the browser launches) was blocked due to Windows 11 not being activated.

An unwise move?

This is an interesting strategy that doesn’t entirely make sense to me, because as Windows Latest points out, the policy seemingly only targets Windows – Edge users on Mac devices and mobiles don’t see this kind of interference. That makes me think, well, Microsoft is mulling this move simply because it can, and if you want Windows enough to install it, then you want the OS enough to tolerate measures like this. 

Considering how clearly desperate Microsoft is for more people to use Edge, having instigated multiple instances of aggressively pushing users to make Edge their browser of choice, this strategy is even more puzzling since it could drive people away (having finally gotten what Microsoft wants, apparently!).

If you want to continue using Windows unactivated, you could just switch to Chrome, Firefox, or another of the best web browsers that doesn’t have these restrictions. It’s worth remembering that this development is still in the early testing stages, though, and hopefully won’t make it to the final version rollout – but I wouldn’t put it past Microsoft. 

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Microsoft improves File Explorer in Windows 11 testing, but appears to have second thoughts about some Copilot ideas

Windows 11 just received a new preview build and it makes a number of important changes to the central pillar of the operating system’s interface, File Explorer – and there’s an interesting announcement about Copilot here, too.

As you may be aware, File Explorer is what you’re using when opening folders on your desktop, and Windows 11 got web browser-style tabs in these folders courtesy of the first major update for the OS (at the end of 2022).

In the new build 22635 in the Beta channel, Microsoft has introduced the ability to easily duplicate a tab in File Explorer.

All you need to do is right-click on an existing tab, and there’s a new option to duplicate it – click that and a second copy of the tab will be opened. It’s a neat shortcut if you want to dive deeper into other folders inside a particular folder, while keeping that original folder open.

On top of this, the preview build ushers in multiple fixes for this part of the interface, including the solution for a memory leak when working with ZIP folders in a File Explorer window. A fix has also been implemented for an issue which means the spacing between icons in File Explorer becomes very wide.

There’s also a cure for a bug where a search wouldn’t work the first time you tried it, and it’d return no results. Microsoft also notes that it: “Fixed a few issues impacting File Explorer reliability.”

There’s not much else happening in build 22635 – check out the blog post for the full list of other tweaks – but Microsoft has taken a notable step back with Copilot.

The company notes that over the past few months in Windows 11 preview builds, it has tried out a few new ideas with the AI assistant, observing that: “Some of these experiences include the ability for Copilot in Windows to act like a normal application window and the taskbar icon animating to indicate that Copilot can help when you copy text or images. We have decided to pause the rollouts of these experiences to further refine them based on user feedback.”


Analysis: Some careful thought is required for Copilot visibility

It’s interesting to see that feedback has resulted in a halt on those Copilot experiments, though obviously Microsoft is careful not to say exactly why these changes have been rescinded (for now).

We were particularly skeptical about having Copilot effectively waving its hands at you from the taskbar, with that animation declaring it can help with something, so we aren’t too surprised Microsoft is having a careful think about how to proceed here.

If there is any behavior along those sorts of lines, it’ll have to be subtle, and users will need the ability to switch it off, if they don’t want animations on the icon (which is also happening with widgets on the taskbar, too). We’ll be keeping a close eye on Microsoft’s moves in this respect.

The work on File Explorer is good to see, and should make it more stable and reliable overall. Duplicate tabs are a useful shortcut to have brought in, as well, and were only recently spotted hidden in test builds, so Microsoft has moved pretty swiftly to officially introduce this change.

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Microsoft admits latest Windows 11 update is breaking some VPNs

Windows 11 and Windows 10 users are in some cases facing a problem whereby their VPN connection is failing to work thanks to the latest cumulative updates from Microsoft for these operating systems.

We’re talking about the main updates for last month, April, which are KB5036893 for Windows 11 (ushering in Moment 5 features), and KB5036892 for Windows 10 – and this also holds true for the preview updates released at the end of April.

Neowin noticed that Microsoft has officially acknowledged that these updates are breaking some VPNs, posting on its Windows 11 health dashboard to say: “Windows devices might face VPN connection failures after installing the April 2024 security update (KB5036893) or the April 2024 non-security preview update.”

Microsoft informs us that it’s working on fixing the problem and will “provide an update in an upcoming release,” but sadly, we don’t get any details beyond that.


Analysis: Rocky road for updates of late

This is a vague diagnosis from Microsoft, with no info provided as to what might be the root cause (or causes) of this VPN-related problem. It’s not affecting all Windows 11 (or Windows 10) users by any means, but certainly some VPN users are experiencing service failure. All we can do right now is wait for Microsoft to continue its investigation into finding out what’s gone wrong with the April update, and to provide those additional details – hopefully soon.

For those affected, this is a troubling situation, as the April cumulative update is very different from an optional update – you have to install it (Windows 11 Home users can only delay it for a bit if they want to take evasive action). Also, without the update, you don’t have the latest security measures, so your PC is just a bit more vulnerable to intrusion.

For home-based PC users running into this bug, Microsoft only offers up the following advice: “If you need support with your personal or family account, use the Get help app in Windows.”

It’s been a pretty rocky road for the April update for Windows 11 when you consider that the upgrade has brought with it some other nasty bugs, including a new spin on the Blue Screen of Death – which we dubbed the White Screen of Doom. Plus the preview update for April has an odd issue with profile photos, and there are other glitches floating around besides. So, all in all, Microsoft isn’t having a great time of things lately.

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A huge Meta AI update finally arrives on Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses… for some

After months of waiting the moment is here: Meta AI features have arrived on the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses for everyone – well, everyone in the US and Canada, for now.

The exclusivity to those regions is not the only caveat unfortunately. Another big one is that while the Meta AI tools are no longer locked behind an exclusive beta, Meta notes in its blog post announcement that they are still beta features – suggesting that you’ll likely run into several problems with regard to reliability and accuracy.

But while the update isn’t quite as complete as we’d have liked, it’s still a major leap forward for Meta’s smart glasses – finally having them deliver on the impressive AI promises Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg made when they were revealed back at Meta Connect 2023 in September last year.

What can Meta AI do?

A video call shot on the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses

(Image credit: Ray-Ban / Meta)

The main Meta AI feature you’ll want to take advantage of is ‘Look and Ask.’ To activate it simply start a phrase with “Hey Meta, look and …” then ask the glasses a question about something you can see. 

You could try “… tell me about this animal,” or “…tell me about this building,” or even “…tell me what I can make for dinner with these ingredients.”

The glasses will then use your command alongside an image captured by the camera to search for an answer in its database – which include data the Meta AI has been trained on, and information it has gathered from Google and Bing.

As with all AI responses, we’d recommend taking what the Meta AI says with a pinch of salt. AI assistants are prone to hallucinating – which in the AI context you can read simply as “getting stuff completely wrong” – and this Meta model is no different. It will get stuff right too, but don’t take its advice as gospel.

Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses covered in water droplets

(Image credit: Meta)

Beyond Look and Ask you can use the Meta AI assistant like the Google or Siri assistant on your phone. This means starting video calls (above), sending texts and images, or playing music all with just voice commands.

Just be prepared to get some attention as you walk around talking to your smart glasses – we got some odd looks when we were testing a different pair of specs the other day.

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Windows 11 24H2 blanket bans some desktop customization apps in test builds – and a lot of folks aren’t happy

Windows 11 users who have customized the interface of the operating system with a third-party app may run into trouble with the incoming 24H2 update later this year, if what’s happening in testing is anything to go by.

Tom’s Hardware spotted a Neowin report noting that in the recently deployed preview build 26100 of Windows 11, which is supposedly the RTM version of the 24H2 update, Microsoft has stealthily (and rather crudely) disabled some apps that modify the interface.

Specifically, StartAllBack and ExplorerPatcher are the two UI customization apps that are blocked from Windows 11 24H2, meaning you won’t be able to get the update until you remove that software.

So, why has this happened? As you might guess, the reason for effectively casting aside these third-party apps is bound up in the compatibility and possible stability and security issues that they cause, as Windows development MVP Rafael Rivera makes clear on X (formerly Twitter).

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Indeed, as Neowin points out, when you attempt to install ExplorerPatcher on build 26100, the OS tells you that it can’t be run because the app “causes security or performance issues on Windows.”


Windows 11 working on a laptop PC

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Analysis: A rush to RTM?

As one bright spark on X observes, tongue firmly planted in cheek, Microsoft Teams is also “an unreliable high crash rate bit of software” so why doesn’t Microsoft block that from installing? Well, Rivera does respond to that little bit of trolling, noting that whatever stability issues Teams may have, it doesn’t prevent OS boot or recovery options – suggesting there are some serious flaws with these customization apps and the 24H2 update.

If you recall, 24H2 has an all-new underlying platform called Germanium, so there are some big changes here – and we’re guessing that this shift under the hood is the reason for the apps being problematic. That’s pure guesswork, mind.

Whatever the reason behind the apparently thorny compatibility issues, there are problems with the way Microsoft has gone about this. Communication with the software developers would be expected – and normally happens in these kinds of cases, at least giving them some warning of what’s going on. Not this time, though.

Furthermore, the way the ban appears to have been implemented seems very crude – it’s a blanket ban on all EXE files containing the names of the offending apps (which means all versions are affected, and any related apps). The way this has been done smacks of either laziness or a rush to get this move through, which isn’t a good look for Microsoft.

It almost seems like Microsoft has jammed this in at a late stage because the 24H2 update RTM needed to be pushed out of the door sharpish. There was a problem found last-minute and a fix was hastily applied using a hatchet, not a scalpel (again, guesswork – but this is what it feels like).

That theory does make some sense, as the predicted date for the RTM (near-finalized) candidate of the 24H2 update was April, and this build needs to be ready for new Snapdragon X Elite AI PCs which are coming in June (in theory). These laptops require that Germanium build due to their ARM-based chips, so there’s a critical need to get this done.

In short, it’s all a bit messy and some feathers have definitely been ruffled here – although due to the mentioned shoddy implementation of the app ban, it’s actually very easy to circumvent it: simply rename the EXE of the client. We wouldn’t recommend doing that, mind – as if the hints about boot failure are on the money, your PC could end up with a serious spanner in the works.

Meanwhile, these customization apps still work with Windows 11 23H2, the current version, and we have to remember that these changes are still in testing. We don’t know if this ban is temporary, or whether it’ll actually be enforced when 24H2 arrives later this year (from September, most likely).

Microsoft and the relevant devs should be able to work together and find a better solution, indeed a full resolution, before then, and Rivera’s comments indicate this will be the case.

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Windows 11 is getting a controversial Windows 10 feature that some people accuse of being pointless bloat

Good news – Windows 11 users are getting the same additional embellishments for the lock screen that are currently rolling out in testing for Windows 10.

Essentially, these are compact lock screen cards that display various bits of info relating to the weather, finance, traffic, and sports scores. Microsoft is now deploying them in the Release Preview channel for Windows 11 test builds, as reliable Windows leaker PhantomOfEarth noticed on X (formerly Twitter).

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They are currently rolling out in testing, so not everyone will see the cards just yet. As for the functionality itself, it’s the same deal as in Windows 10 – you can either turn off the cards, or turn them on, but you’ll have the lot if they’re enabled.

You can’t pick and choose which cards are shown, and, for example, dump the finance one if you don’t care for it – this is an all-or-nothing scenario.

While PhantomOfEarth pointed out the cards in testing, Windows Latest also picked up on this, claiming that this feature is part of the March 2024 optional update, and it’ll be rolled out fully in next month’s cumulative update as a result. That’ll be for all users of Windows 11, not just testers (if it happens).


Analysis: A better layout, but that’s unlikely to mollify haters

Windows Latest further notes that the cards will be enabled by default when the April cumulative update arrives for Windows 11 (and presumably that’ll be the case for Windows 10 users, too). However, if you hate the idea of these info cards on the lock screen, you can turn off the feature.

What also won’t go down well with some is that clicking the cards opens up more details, but they’re fired up in the Edge browser (and MSN within it). This is another opportunity Microsoft is leveraging to promote Edge in other words (and inevitably it’ll be demanding to be your default browser, from time to time).

The good news for Windows 11 users is that the implementation of the info cards is better, with them being centrally aligned on the lock screen, with the time and date also aligned above. It’s a much neater look than on Windows 10, which seems clunky in comparison, but then Microsoft’s focus is obviously on its newer OS, with worrying about the finer points of layout on the older version of Windows clearly not a priority.

As raised previously when we discussed the Windows 10 incarnation of this lock screen feature, Microsoft will hopefully work on the ability to fine-tune the options in terms of specifying the cards you want, and those you don’t need displayed, rather than being forced to have them all on, or none.

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Windows 11 update is reportedly causing some PCs to crash or run very sluggishly

Windows 11’s cumulative update for this month is causing serious problems in some reported cases.

This is KB5035853 for Windows 11 23H2 and 22H2 which started rolling out earlier this week carrying some useful new features. That includes being able to use the Snipping Tool to edit photos from your Android smartphone directly on your PC, plus adding support for much faster (80Gbps) wired connectivity with USB4 v2.0.

However, some Windows 11 users have hit major snags when installing the March update, with Windows Latest highlighting these, and the site experiencing a Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) itself after running the update process.

The tech site’s BSoD arrived with an error saying ‘Thread Stuck in Device Driver’ which isn’t very helpful, and others have been hit by this problem, such as a reader running a bunch of Lenovo devices (in a business setting).

Furthermore, there’s evidence of this nasty crash on the Reddit thread introducing KB5035853. One user tells us: “This update caused a Windows to crash on startup. Got blue screen error. Had to rollback. Just a warning. That happen to anyone else?”

Someone chimes in to say they were affected too (and got put in a boot loop, with repeated reboots, before ending up at that BSoD).

There are other reports on this thread noting that the update did install, but then caused ‘random’ BSoDs afterwards.

On top of this, there are also folks who are complaining about Windows 11 running sluggishly, with their PC stuttering after the update, or even freezing up periodically.


Analysis: Fixing with one hand, breaking with the other?

These are really unpleasant side-effects here, and the cure so far seems to be simply rolling back the installation (removing KB5035853, or using System Restore to rewind time back to before the update was triggered).

On Reddit, there is a mention of a YouTube video that offers potential solutions, and we’ve had a look – there are a couple of clips, in fact – but we’d take the advice imparted with a hefty pinch of salt. Some folks in the YouTube comments have reported seeing success, and others have said the fixes outlined have failed. But for now, rather than trying what seems like shots in the dark as attempted cures, if you’re affected, we’d probably just go for reverting the update and waiting for Microsoft to investigate these glitches.

(It’s worth noting that in the YouTube comments there are also further complaints of PCs seriously chugging with slowdown post-update).

At the moment, Microsoft’s support document for the March cumulative update indicates there are no known issues.

The irony here is that this March update addresses a problem with the February update for Windows 11 whereby it failed to install (and got stuck at 96% complete with an error code and a helpful message saying that ‘something did not go as planned’). So, the patch curing that problem with the previous patch failing to install, also fails to install in a different, and in fact worse, way.

Hopefully Microsoft is on the case with this one as we type this. It’s difficult to say how widespread the BSoD problem is, but there are certainly enough reports of post-installation performance blues to suggest that something has gone awry with KB5035853.

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The latest macOS Sonoma update is reportedly breaking some USB hubs

Updating to macOS Sonoma 14.4 is breaking the functionality of some USB hubs, according to reports across the web – though it's unclear how widespread the problem is, or which particular peripherals are affected.

The heads-up first came via AppleInsider readers, but there's also some discussion on Reddit, Apple support forums, and MacRumors. So far, it appears to be just USB hubs built into monitors affected by the bug, including models from Dell, Samsung, and Gigabyte.

Judging by the number of replies to the article and threads linked above, several people are seeing this issue. That said, it doesn't appear to affect everyone with a macOS Sonoma 14.4 machine and a monitor USB hub.

Apple hasn't said anything about the issue and is unlikely to unless it becomes widespread. The 14.4 software update started rolling out last week, bringing with it new emojis and bug fixes – though it may have introduced some more bugs of its own.

Can you fix it?

macOS Sonoma bug

Changing this setting seems to help some people (Image credit: Future)

The users afflicted by the USB hub problem are trying various troubleshooting measures. There doesn't seem to be a single solution that works for everyone, across different types of monitors and USB connections.

For some, completely powering down everything and then powering it back up again seems to work. Other people have reported that heading to the Privacy & Security page in macOS System Settings and changing the Allow accessories to connect option to Ask every time, then rebooting, fixes it.

Reading between the lines, there may be something awry with the way macOS 'sees' the USB hub and the devices connected to it as peripherals, but there are a lot of links along that chain – some users have found that simply switching to a different USB cable helps.

We'll have to wait and see if Apple issues a fix for those affected. Of course, if workaround solutions are already being discovered, it's more likely that any necessary bug fixes for the problem will get quietly rolled into the macOS Sonoma 14.5 update.

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