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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 18, 2023
Thread edited for legal reason.

A few months ago, I stumbled upon a thread about an iPhone user who might have found someone else's pictures on their phone. Although they couldn't provide evidence, many of us were deeply concerned about the situation. Fast forward to today, while cleaning up some old documents and data, I came across a videos folder with unfamiliar content. As I delved deeper, I discovered that it might be someone else's material on my device. I conducted an investigation and might be able to identify the root cause of the issue, which turned out to be a potential major software bug that might exposed private information.

I realized that these were not random videos from the internet, but possibly someone else's personal content. By saving the videos to my photos and clicking "show in all photos," I found the pictures were placed in my library just before one of my personal pictures, which indicated that it might be someone else's videos. This is most likely a metadata or indexing issue. I'm baffled that Apple might design a cloud infrastructure and maybe put everyone's data in the same bin. If it's the case, this is absolutely unacceptable, and I am delighted to have evidence of this possible security breach. This information needs to be publicized and disclosed to the public.

Disclaimer: The following statement reflects solely the opinions and views of the author and should not be construed as fact or as a representation of the views of any other individual or entity.


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macrumors 68000
Mar 14, 2011
You're using the Settings app to look at media stored in the Messages app data container.

Videos and photos contained there have been included in conversations in the Messages app, or been imported to your iPhone from another device. As you noted, .3GP format suggests they are from a Messages conversation with someone who's using MMS rather than iMessages, or from MMS messages imported to your iPhone from another device.

As far as I can tell the only connection this has to the iCloud Photo library is that you saved those videos to your library from Settings / General / iPhone Storage / Messages / Videos, at which point they got synced to your iCloud Photo library. The fact that they appear at a specific spot in your library is not proof of whose content they are; the Photos library lists things in chronological order and the video files you found have a creation date just like your own photos and videos do.

I recommend changing the thread title to something that reflects this, so that others who are wondering about data stored by the Messages app might find it.

As to whether there's a security issue with Messages app's media handling, it's hard to say. I don't know the history of your device so I can't say for sure there isn't, but usually the owner of a device knows what's been done with it. Unless you've borrowed it to someone, or someone's "borrowed" it without you knowing.
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macrumors 68000
Mar 14, 2011
Thank you for the link. Can you clarify why you think what you're experiencing is an iCloud Photo Library issue, though? The article suggests this is an iCloud issue and per your screenshots you didn't find these videos from your Photos library?
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macrumors 65816
Apr 1, 2013
As @Puonti advised those photos are sitting in the Messages storage container.

Which means the message you received them from is likely still in your Messages App.

You mentioned you’ve never sent or received MMS video. Unless you 100% only receive iMessages and don’t know anyone that uses an Android phone you’ve probably sent and received text messages from people that include MMS videos.

I’d recommend going through your message history to see if you can find the actual message these videos are sitting it.
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