Man sues Apple after wife finds 'deleted' iMessages and divorces him

Image showing iPhone with iMessage app open
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Apple has had a weird month with deleted content returning or sticking around in various iDevices. Like when a bug resurfaced supposedly deleted photos, a now divorced man discovered that deleting messages on his iPhone might not be enough.

Shared by iMore, the now ex-husband was arranging to meet ladies of the night using iMessage on his iPhone. He would then delete the incriminating messages. 

Unfortunately for him, his wife opened iMessage on the family iMac and discovered every single text he'd ever sent, going back years. Reasonably, she filed for divorce quickly afterward.

In response, the divorced man is now suing Apple for €5 million in damages, including legal fees, money lost in the divorce and emotional harm. He told the English newspaper The Times, "If you are told a message is deleted, you are entitled to believe it's deleted.” 

Supposedly, the man is now taking medicine to reduce panic attacks because of the divorce, which, again, ended because of his infidelity. 

The London-based lawfirm Rosenblatt that the man hired is looking to turn the case into a class-action lawsuit.

Why is he suing Apple?

Acknowledging that the man's infidelity is its own set of issues, the mistakes here may come down to how his accounts were set up. 

The man may not have had his iCloud linked to one of his devices. Apple support documents say, "If you use Messages in iCloud, deleting a message or conversation on your Mac deletes it from all your devices where Messages in iCloud is on."

Perhaps he didn't link the account to hide his cheating, which may have been his downfall. 

If iCloud is not linked, deleting messages only removes them from the local device you are using. So, just because they were no longer on his iPhone, the iMac retained everything. 

Alongside that, as we discovered with the photos bug, Apple holds on to deleted content for up to 30 days, and it can be recovered within that time frame. However, that doesn't always explain how years-old messages or photos reappear or are clearly not deleted.

In the Times story, the man's lawyer said, "In many cases, the iPhone informs the user that messages have been deleted but, as we have seen, that isn’t true and is misleading because they are still found on other linked devices — something Apple doesn’t tell its users."

Technically, because Apple lays it out in the support documents, the company does inform users of this information. You just need to look for it.

Apple has not responded publicly to the lawsuit.

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Scott Younker
West Coast Reporter

Scott Younker is the West Coast Reporter at Tom’s Guide. He covers all the lastest tech news. He’s been involved in tech since 2011 at various outlets and is on an ongoing hunt to build the easiest to use home media system. When not writing about the latest devices, you are more than welcome to discuss board games or disc golf with him.