A bug in the latest Samsung Messages update is causing some devices to send photos without their owner knowing it. Some users report that the photos affected are ones they have sent before; others say their entire galleries have been distributed.
“S9s have been sporadically sending the entire contents of one’s gallery to a contact via SMS, and it doesn’t show up on your side,” explains one user on Reddit. “Might be worth checking logs on your carrier’s site, because it happened on my T-Mobile Note 8.”
“Last night around 2:30 a.m., my phone sent [my girlfriend] my entire photo gallery over text but there was no record of it on my messages app,” writes a Galaxy S9 user in another post. “However, there was record of it on T-Mobile logs.”
“Oddly enough, my wife’s phone did that last night, and mine did it the night before,” writes another. “I think it has something to do with the Samsung SMS app being updated from the Galaxy Store. When her phone texted my her gallery, it didn’t show up on her end — and vice versa.”
Lots of other Galaxy S9 and Note 8 owners are reporting similar experiences, but it’s likely it will be a problem for other Samsung devices, too. The issue doesn't affect certain carriers specifically.
The problem is almost certainly introduced with the latest Samsung Messages update, so if you haven’t already installed it, it might be best to avoid it for now. Fortunately, for those who have updated already, there seems to be a temporary fix for this issue.
A number of users recommend disabling storage permissions for Samsung Messages, which prevents it from being able to pull photos from your gallery. You can do this from within Settings -> Apps -> Samsung Messages -> Permissions -> Storage.
Once you’ve revoked these permissions, you won’t be able to attach and send photos via Messages yourself (unless you use a different Messages app), but at least your photos won’t be distributed randomly while you sleep. Here’s to hoping Samsung fixes this problem quickly so that you can continue to use Messages as normal.