Bug: Deleted Emails Show up in Spotlight Search; Bug Fixed in iPhone OS 3.1

iPhone OS 3.0

Back in July, iPhone user, Ted Landau had discovered a mystery bug in iPhone's Mail app after upgrading to iPhone OS 3.0.

He reported that when he used the new Spotlight feature, which was introduced in iPhone OS 3.0, he discovered emails that he had deleted long time back. He observed that tapping on any of these emails displayed their content, as if the email was not deleted. 

Landau was not the only one who had observed this issue. One user by the name of Matt Janssen even published a YouTube video of the bug.

As you can see from the YouTube video below, tapping on the deleted email launches the Mail app but crashes immediately, which is slightly different from Landau's observation.

Landau believes that the emails were not getting deleted from the iPhone from the beginning and the new Spotlight feature which brought Universal search to the iPhone only exposed the bug.

It is a little unnerving to see emails that you had thought were deleted, are still accessible. At that time, Landau had mentioned that Apple was aware of the bug and plans to fix it iPhone OS 3.1.

Folks at WhenWillApple have confirmed that the issue seems to be fixed in iPhone OS 3.1 as they have tried to replicate the bug on an iPhone running the latest beta version of iPhone OS 3.1 with both POP3 and IMAP accounts and were not able to reproduce the bug. They have also published a video to show that the deleted emails are no longer displayed in Spotlight in iPhone OS 3.1:

That's good but our reader, lukas has raised a very good question:

"the question still stands, if the e-mails in 3.1 are really deleted or if just spotlight doesn't show them…"

As always, please let us know your thoughts on this bug in the comments section below.

[via Engadget]

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  • lukas

    the question still stands, if the e-mails in 3.1 are really deleted or if just spotlight doesn't show them…

  • Very good question, let's hope the mails are deleted rather than Spotlight
    not showing them. We'll let you know as soon as we get more details.

  • John

    I tried this yesterday after reading about it and it does show up in the Spotlight search, but after i tap on that old email it just displays a blank page. No actual email was displayed.

  • John

    Ok.. just tried again and some do show up.

  • @luckas
    The emails aren't really deleted anymore than they are on any computer. When things are deleted they are just marked as free space. I confirmed that the data is still on the phone in 3.1, but the index for search is cleared and doesn't link to the file anymore.

    See my post and new video for more info:

  • why calling it the 3.1, thats the only reason i opened this post, cuz i thought there was a new update or something from apple. shouldnt it be the 3.01 lol sorry for being so technical, but it might confuse some people out there.

  • It appears to be fixed in the yet to be released iPhone 3.1.