Why Do Deleted Photos Reappear on iPhone?

Your deleted photos may reappear on your iPhone because of iCloud Photos syncing, not actually being deleted everywhere, or due to a software bug. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can try to stop this from occurring.

I tend to keep a lot of photos on my iPhone, this includes everything from helpful screenshots with important information, to shots of some of the wildlife in my neighborhood. But there will often come a time when I decide to clear out my Photos app and delete some images.

However, there have been times when these photos I have previously deleted will come back, much to my surprise and frustration. If you have experienced something similar, you’re in the right place.

Keep reading to learn more about a few of the reasons why deleted photos may reappear on your iPhone, and how to stop this from happening.

Key Takeaways

  • Photos reappearing on your device are often because of iCloud syncing with a device that still has the photos, or because you may not have actually deleted the photos from everywhere.
  • It could also be due to a software bug of some kind. iPhones are complex devices with a lot of moving parts, and glitches/bugs like this are not that uncommon.
  • A few of the things you can try in order to prevent deleted photos from reappearing on your device are to be careful with iCloud Photos, make sure you delete the photos from everywhere, and consider restarting and/or updating your device.

1. iCloud Syncing

One of the most common reasons why photos you’ve deleted are showing back up on your iPhone is because of iCloud Photos. When you have iCloud Photos on, you sync and share your images with all other devices you use, and can view them on any of the devices.

(To see if iCloud Photos is on, go to Settings > Photos, and then locate iCloud Photos)

If you delete a photo from your phone, that doesn’t mean it is automatically gone from all of your devices. And the next time you sync photos from one device to another, it could find its way back onto your iPhone.

2. You May Not Have Deleted Them from Everywhere

Another potential reason why it feels like deleted photos are coming back is that you may not have deleted them from everywhere. For example, if you only deleted a photo from an album, it will generally still exist in your photo library unless you explicitly delete it from there too.

Also, some third-party apps may also contain certain photos that you have deleted from everywhere else. All in all, some photos may appear in multiple places on your device, and only deleting them from one will not completely get them off your phone.

3. A Software Bug or Glitch

An iPhone is a complicated device, with a lot going on behind the scenes. As a result, some problems can arise. As a result, something as simple as a software bug or glitch can lead to this issue. Bugs and glitches can do a host of random and unforeseen things on your device.

They can cause your screen to act strangely, stop certain apps from working, render certain features useless, and yes, make photos you thought you deleted remain on the device.

Ways to Stop Photos from Reappearing on iPhone

If you have noticed photos you thought you had deleted mysteriously coming back onto your device, there are a few things you can try to stop this from happening going forward.

1. Be careful with iCloud Photos

While you might think that turning off iCloud Photos will stop this issue, that isn’t quite true. See, when you delete a photo and have iCloud turned on, it will actually delete that photo from the other devices that your photos are synced to.

Problems arise when you have iCloud Photos on for a while, then turn it off. Then, when you delete a photo, it will only remove the photo from your phone.

But then once you turn iCloud Photos back on, the photos will sync and the picture you deleted from your iPhone may come back because it wasn’t deleted from the other device.

So if you want something removed from all devices, make sure to delete it when iCloud Photos is on and if not, make sure to manually delete it from the other device before you sync photos again.

2. Ensure they are deleted everywhere

As mentioned earlier, there are many locations where photos can be kept on your iPhone. If you want to completely remove a photo, you need to ensure it has been deleted from everywhere.

Make sure to go through your albums, your photo library itself, Files app, and any other third-party app that may have some of the photos you’d like to remove forever.

Also, if you regularly sync your iPhone with different devices, make sure the photos are also removed from them, as well.

3. Restart your phone

If you think a software bug or glitch is responsible for this issue, one of the best things to try is to restart your phone. Restarting a device can clear bad data and temporary files, deal with memory issues, and generally gives it a fresh start, which is why it may help in this scenario.

This is done on your iPhone by pressing and holding the volume down and power button on your device until the power-off slider comes onto the screen. Then, simply slide it to the right in order to turn your device off. 

Once it has been off for 30 seconds or so, press and hold the power button on the right side of your iPhone to turn it back on.

4. Update your device

While restarting your device could be to blame for the issue, the culprit may actually be the version of iOS you are on. New updates often introduce fixes for numerous bugs, so using an outdated version of iOS could lead to glitches like this.

To update your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Software Update. The device will check for updates and if there is one present, you can tap Download and Install to begin the updating process. The time it takes to complete depends on the size, as well as your internet quality.

Final Thoughts

Keeping photos on an iPhone can be a great way to have instant access to them, and ensure they are kept safe. However, once you delete them, you expect them to remain off of your device, and it can be frustrating when the opposite occurs.

I hope this guide has been able to help you learn not only why deleted photos may reappear on your iPhone, but also how you can stop it.

Is there anything else you feel like I should have covered in this guide but left out? If so, let me know in a comment down below.

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