Apple iMessage
Apple's upcoming iOS 18 update with a "hide apps" feature adds fuel to the privacy vs infidelity debate. Pexels

A man is suing Apple for $6 million after his wife found messages he'd sent to sex workers, even though he thought he'd deleted them.

The man, who wants to remain anonymous, claims Apple wasn't clear about how messages are deleted, and this led to the breakdown of his marriage. Speaking to The Times, the man admitted that he used the iMessage app to contact sex workers during the later years of his marriage.

He also had messages from several years ago that he believed he'd permanently deleted. However, he found out that deleting them wasn't enough. Apple's iCloud storage and device syncing features kept copies, ultimately exposing him.

His wife, of over 20 years, eventually found them while using the same app on their shared family computer. The news report says his wife filed for divorce just a month later. In his interview, he argued that if a message says it's deleted, you naturally believe it's gone.

"It's all quite painful and quite raw still. It was a very brutal way of finding out [for my wife]. My thoughts are if I had been able to talk to her rationally and she had not had such a brutal realization of it, I might still be married," he said.

Lawsuit Claims Apple's Messaging Deletion Misleading

Placing the blame on Apple, he noted that the Cupertino-based tech giant told him the messages were deleted when they clearly weren't. If it had simply said, Messages deleted from this device only or even Messages remain on other devices, that would have made a world of difference.

The businessman is suing Apple for over £5 million ($6.3 million), claiming this covers the financial losses incurred due to his divorce and legal fees. According to Simon Walton, his representative, who spoke to The Telegraph, "Apple had not been clear with users as to what happens to messages they send and receive and, importantly, delete."

Walton pointed out that iPhones often tell users messages are deleted, but as this case shows, that's misleading. The messages can still be found on other connected devices, which Apple doesn't clarify to its users.

This echoes a previous report highlighting how Apple iPhones, like other smart devices, can unintentionally expose hidden relationships. No matter how tech-savvy a cheater is, meticulously managing separate credit cards and clandestine meetings, a digital trail on their Apple device can expose them.

Can You Really Delete Messages?

Apple's upcoming iOS 18 update promises various features, including one sparking controversy. Critics have dubbed it a "cheater's paradise." This feature, called Lock and Hide App, lets users lock apps and, for extra privacy, hide them all together in a secure folder.

Apple explained in a statement following their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that when an app is locked or hidden, its content, like messages or emails, is concealed from searches, notifications, and other system functions.

This lawsuit against Apple has sparked a conversation about digital privacy and tech companies' responsibility in communicating deletion processes. While the outcome remains to be seen, it's a cautionary tale for iPhone users who may believe messages are truly gone once deleted.