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This new iOS 15 bug could be eating your photos — here's how

An iPhone showing the ios 15 update screen. The phone is resting on a notebook with pens, Airpods and plants surrounding it
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

iOS 15 has introduced its fair share of bugs already, from breaking AirPods and blocking a few Siri features to draining your iPhone's battery through Spotify. You can now add another one to that list — in the form of a bug which could delete your photos.

According to a number of complaints posted on Twitter (opens in new tab) (via MacRumors (opens in new tab)), the bug can cause some of your saved photos to be deleted through the iOS 15 Messages app. Basically, if a user saves a photo from an iMessage thread then deletes the thread, the saved photo(s) will disappear from the photo library next time the device performs an iCloud Backup.

We've tried it ourselves, and experienced the bug when saving a photo from an iMessage thread. Plus, saving the photo prior to having your iMessage thread deleted doesn't prevent it from disappearing later on, as the bug still links the photo to the Messages app, even a while later. 

It also appears that the bug can occur more than once, with one Twitter user who'd installed the iOS 15.1 beta claiming it deleted multiple images from their library.

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Compared to other iOS 15-related bugs and iPhone 13 problems, this could be one of the most annoying, since most users have the iCloud Backup feature enabled on an automatic basis. As a result, your photos could keep potentially disappearing, without you being aware of the issue, unless the backup is disabled. 

According to MacRumors, the issue hasn't yet been addressed in the latest iOS 15 beta. 

In case you've already installed iOS 15 and wanted to see the bug for yourself, here are the steps that you can follow:

1. Open an iMessage conversation/thread
2. Save any photo to your Camera Roll
3. Delete the thread from which you've saved the photo
4. Open Settings and perform an iCloud Backup manually, if it hasn't been done automatically. The photo should now disappear from your photo library

So until Apple fixes this issue, make sure to either keep your iMessages threads after saving photos, or go into Settings and ensure that the automatic iCloud Backup is disabled, to prevent the bug from messing with your photo library.

Denise is a Life Reporter at Newsweek, covering everything lifestyle-related, including health, relationships, personal finance, beauty and more. She was formerly a news writer at Tom’s Guide, regularly producing stories on all things tech, gaming software/hardware, fitness, streaming, and more. Her published content ranges from short-form news articles to long-form pieces, including reviews, buying guides, how-tos, and features. When she's not playing horror games, she can be found exploring East London with her adorable puppy. She’s also a part-time piano enthusiast and regularly experiments in the kitchen.