When I don't like a photo I took with my iPhone 11, I delete it (with the 'Photos' app), and empty the trash ('Recently Deleted' album).

Once in awhile I mount the phone under Linux and backup my photos by copying the DCIM subdirectory. When I do this I notice that there are many duplicates (just an annoyance) and many photos that I assumed had been deleted. However, the deleted photos don't show up in Photos nor in iCloud.

What is going on here?

2 Answers 2


One reason for finding some of the deleted photos could be because of the nature of iPhone's flash memory on which the data is saved - deletion or overwriting data is a slow process on such memory. So data in a flash memory are constantly moved to optimize it, and when you delete any file on it, it may not be deleted immediately but moved and marked for deletion later. (More here - Permamnently deleting on SSD).

So, while ios and Photos app may not show you the file on your iPhone or iPad after you "delete" it on Photos, it may still be in the memory till it is actually deleted. That could be one reason why you are able to see them when you mount the iPhone drive on Linux. (I am speculating here because I don't know how you are mounting your iPhone on Linux and accessing its data).

The duplicates could be because of edits you made to the photos or photos you took in burst mode or HDR mode.


Those deleted Photos are actually not deleted at all (well they are from a users point of view). They get moved to the 'recently deleted' Album within your iPhones Photo app. Which shows up in the DCIM folder when you plug it into your machine to backup.

Before backing up, just go to the recently deleted album and 'permanently delete' all items before backing up - simple :)

  • 3
    The post mentions that they "empty the thrash" in 'recently deleted' album.
    – sfxedit
    Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 23:15

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