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Nightmarish iOS 15 bug deletes saved photos from your iPhone

Published Oct 4th, 2021 6:32PM EDT
iOS 15 photos bug
Image: Apple Inc.

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No software update is flawless, but iOS 15 is shaping up to be one of Apple’s most bug-filled releases ever. One of the worst bugs is causing iPhone users to lose their photos. As reported by MacRumors, a number of iPhone owners with devices running iOS 15 claim that when they delete a thread from their Messages app, a bug is causing any photos they saved from that text thread to be removed from the photo library as well the next time that they perform an iCloud Backup on the device.

iOS 15 bug deleting photos from Messages

Clearly, this isn’t working as intended. Countless iPhone owners are saving photos to the iCloud Photo Library, but the photo vanishes once they delete their original Messages conversation and perform an iCloud Backup. Here are the steps you’d need to take to replicate the bug on your device:

  1. Save a photo from a conversation in your Messages app to your camera roll.
  2. Head to your Photos app and make sure that you successfully saved the photo.
  3. Delete the original conversation in the Messages app by swiping left and tapping the red trash icon. The photo should still appear in your iCloud Photo Library for now.
  4. Perform an iCloud Backup and the photo should disappear from your library as well.

This is especially frustrating because iCloud Backup is on by default. If you head to Settings, press on your Apple ID near the top of the page, and then tap iCloud, you should see the iCloud Backup option. Mine was already on, and the last successful backup was apparently this morning at 8:32 a.m. There’s also an option to perform a manual iCloud backup with that same menu.

When can we expect a fix from Apple?

This is a serious concern, especially for people who regularly share cherished photos and videos with friends and family over Messages. You might want to consider turning off iCloud Backup until Apple releases a fix. We’d expect that fix to arrive in iOS 15.1. Unfortunately, iPhone users are still experiencing the bug on iOS 15.1 beta 2, including this user from Twitter:

Last week, Apple rolled out iOS 15.0.1 to address an issue with the Unlock with Apple Watch feature. This is just one of a multitude of bugs that have sprung up in the wake of the iOS 15 update. We’re still waiting on a fix for CarPlay crashing every time iPhone 13 owners try to play music. We can now add the disappearing photos bug to the laundry list of problems with iOS 15.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.