Even with all of the cloud-based backup solutions from iCloud to Google Photos, sometimes photos still get erased or removed by accident. A single wrong tap on the screen can instantly remove a photo that means a world to you or wipe out your entire photo gallery.

how to recover deleted photos from an iPhone

In this article, we explain all possible ways how to recover deleted photos from iPhone to help you get back all-important photos no matter how bad the situation looks. If you’re lucky, you might be able to recover all deleted photos with a few taps, but we also explain how to use image recovery software to recover photos many would consider unrecoverable. 

The methods described in this article can be applied on all iPhone models including iPhone 11 Pro Max, 11 Pro, 11, XS, XS Max, XR, X, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus, 7, 6S Plus, 6S, 6 Plus, 6, 5S, 5c, 5, 4S and 4. All you need to do is follow our detailed step-by-step instructions as closely as possible. 


Restore Deleted Picture on the iPhone with Photos App


how to easily recover deleted photos from iphone By default, pictures taken with the Camera application are saved to the Photos application. If a photo is deleted, here’s how to use Photos to get it back:

  1. Go to the iPhone home menu.
  2. Select the Photos app. It will display a list of albums – by default, the albums “All Photos”, “People”, “Places” and others are displayed down to “Recently Deleted“. Here’s an example with our album containing this handsome chap:recover deleted photos iphone
  3. Select the folder marked “Recently Deleted”. It will show the pictures that are scheduled for deletion and how much longer until they are removed permanently from the iPhone. Usually this process will last up to 40 days since it was “Deleted”.how to retrieve recently deleted photos on iphone
  4. Tap the picture we want to recover, then tap Recover. The iPhone will display “Recover Photo” – if that’s the right one, tap “Recover Photo” and the photo will be back in our Albums.how to retrieve deleted photos on iphone

How to Recover Deleted Photos from an iPhone Backup


Backups are your second-best option how to retrieve deleted photos on iPhone. Since there are several different ways how to backup photos on iPhone, we provide three different solutions, and it’s up to you to select the one works best for you. 

When recovering deleted photos from iPhone with backups, pay attention to the age of your backups. Always use the most recent backup you have, but don’t delete all older backups. It’s always a good idea to have multiple backups just in case something goes wrong with the main backup. 

Since macOS Catalina, the Finder is in charge of iPhone backups and recoveries from them. If this is your first time recovering from an iPhone backup with Finder, you have nothing to worry about because Apple made the process completely painless. 

Follow these steps to recover lost photos from an iPhone backup:

Step 1. Launch Finder. 

Step 2. Connect your iPhone to your computer. 

Step 3. Select your iPhone from the list of locations on the left.

Step 4. Click the Restore iPhone button located in the General tab. 

how to recover deleted photos catalina

Step 5. Let Finder back up your iPhone before restoring. 

Step 6. Click the Restore button to confirm that you’re ready to restore your iPhone from a backup. 

how to recover recently deleted photos iphone catalina


How to Recover Deleted Photos from iTunes Backup


how to recover deleted pictures with itunesOn macOS Mojave or earlier, or on a PC, you can restore deleted photos from an iTunes backup. Because iTunes can do a lot more besides restoring deleted data from backups, iPhone users are often afraid of going through the recovery process on their own. But with our instructions, you’ll be able to get your photos back with just a few clicks. 

Note: macOS Mojave is the last version of Apple’s operating system to ship with iTunes. In macOS Catalina and newer, iTunes is split into three different apps: Podcasts, TV, and Music.

To recover deleted photos from iTunes backup follow these steps:

Step 1. Open iTunes.

Step 2. Use an original Apple cable to connect your iPhone to your computer.

restore deleted photos iphone with itunes

Step 3.Select the Restore Backup option. 

Step 4.Pick the most relevant backup.

Step 5. Click Restore and wait for the restore process to finish. 

restore deleted photos from backup


How to Recover Deleted Photos via iCloud


how to get old pictures back on iphone with cloudIf for some reason the photo isn’t in the Photos “Recently Deleted” area, there’s still a chance it can be recovered via iCloud. Here’s how to restore deleted photos on iPhone without backing it up to the computer first:

Follow these steps:

  1. Go to https://www.icloud.com. This provides access to Apple’s cloud services, offered for free.
  2. Log in with your username and password.how to get old pictures back on iphone
  3. Once logged in, select “Photos” from the web page.recover deleted photos from iphone for free
  4. Click the album marked “Recently Deleted”. Now we have a list of the photos ready for deletion within the next 40 or less days.recover recently deleted photos from iphone for free
  5. Select the photo we want to restore and click “Recover”. It’ll be back into our photo albums. It will also be restore onto the iPhone once it syncs with the iCloud service again.quickly recover deleted photos from iphone

How to Retrieve Deleted Photos on iPhone with a Software (without backup)


When everything else fails, it’s time to take out the big guns: image recovery software. With the help of a capable image recovery software solution, you can recover deleted photos even without a backup because deleted files remain on your device until they are overwritten by other files. How quickly they become overwritten depends on many factors, but time is the most important one of them, which is why you should start the image recovery process as soon as possible

Steps to Recover Deleted Photos from an iPhone on Mac

If the previous two options aren’t working, the best chance we have left is to use Disk Drill to recover pictures. You can download it for free at the official website, Disk Drill has powerful algorithms with an easy to use interface that can recover deleted photos, video, and other information off of iPhones.

Even when a photo or other kind of file is deleted from an iPhone, space is simply flagged for “use” by the rest of the operating system. This can mean that a file marked “Deleted” can still temporarily be present the system’s memory until the phone decides it needs that space and overwrites it with new photos or other information, which can happen at any time and without a warning. If done in time, we can still recover deleted pictures from an iPhone even if the system tells us it’s “gone”.

Disk Drill works by scanning through an iPhone and Android devices to recover lost or deleted files as well. The steps below were performed using a Mac running a recent version of OS X for comparison.

  1. Download Disk Drill. Open the .dmg file and drag the Disk Drill application to the Applications folder on your Mac hard drive.
    Disk Drill
    Data recovery for free
    Your Companion for Deleted Files Recovery
  2. Plug the iPhone into the computer. If asked by the iPhone if we trust this computer, select “Yes” and enter the unlocking code.recover permanently deleted photos from iphone with disk drill
  3. Close all programs on the Mac. Especially those that connect to the iPhone like iTunes, iPhoto, and the like. The less communication that other applications have with the iPhone, the better it will be.
  4. Double click on Disk Drill to run it. There are several installation procedures to be aware of, as well as additional file protections and monitoring that Disk Drill offers. We’ll skip by the installation procedures for now, but check out the CleverFiles web site to learn more about them. When everything is finished, we’ll see a list of drives and devices.recover permanently deleted photos from iphone
  5. Click “Recover” on the row with the iPhone we want to restore from. This will launch the recovery procedure that will scan our iPhone, looking through the memory for files that have been marked deleted, but the data is still available.recover deleted photos from iphone with disk drill
  6. Enter the iPhone’s encryption password if Disk Drill asks for it. This is the one used for encrypting iPhone backups through iTunes on the local computer.
  7. Wait. This is an important part. Disk Drill will be analyzing the iPhones databases and files, and analyzing what can be recovered. During this time, don’t use the iPhone or anything that might interact with it. We want to maximize our chances of getting back information:how to recover deleted photos from iphone with disk drill
  8. Review the files that Disk Drill displays when the scan is complete. This will include everything from iMessages, Notes, and other information that the iPhone can store.use disk drill to recover deleted photos iphone

From this point, there are two ways to restore our photos. We’ll explore the <>Disk Drill only method, and the other method mounting the recovered information in Finder.

Method #1:

  1. Select the folder marked Photos. Wait for Disk Drill to finish analyzing the thumbnails so we can see what photo to restore.
  2. Select the photos to restore.
  3. Select the directory that we want to restore the photos to in the “Recover to” section at the top of Disk Drill. It will default to the user’s “Documents” directory.
  4. Click Recover. With that, the selected photos will be restored to the specified directory.how to effortlessly retrieve deleted photos on iphone

If we want to use the Finder directly, follow these alternate steps after Disk Drill has completed its scan.

Method #2:

  1. Click “Mount Found Items as Disk”.how to recover all deleted pictures from iphone
  2. Read the warning from Disk Drill – really it’s just telling you how great using Finder.
  3. Click “OK Let’s Do it” – and now the recovered files will be mounted as a folder marked “Recoverable”.recover deleted photos from iphone without previous backup
  4. Open the mounted disk called “Recoverable” and go to the directory “Accessible Files”, then “DCIM”, then go through the subfolders from there to find the photo we want:recover deleted pictures iphone
  5. Copy the photos in finder that we want to recover. What’s our final result? Our friend is back! He’s sad because we wouldn’t share our donut with him. Don’t worry – we gave him a treat later to make up for it.restore deleted photos iphone with guaranteed results

Steps to Recover Deleted Photos from an iPhone on Windows

If you don’t have access to Mac OS X and can’t use Disk Drill to recover deleted photos from your iPhone, you can use dr.fone by Wondershare, a Windows data recovery application capable of recovering deleted photos from any iOS device. 

Step 1:Download dr.fone. Launch the downloaded installation file and follow the installation instructions. 

Step 2: Connect your iPhone to your Windows PC. Make sure to use the USB cable that came with your iPhone. Third-party USB cables can sometimes cause connection issues.how to get old pictures back on windows

Step 3: Launch dr.fone and choose the Recover iOS Data option. 

Step 4: Wait for dr.fone to detect your iPhone and click the Start Scan button. The application will scan your iPhone for deleted photos. recover deleted photos from iphone for free on windows

Step 5: Select Camera Roll from the list of options on the left and preview the deleted photos. 

Step 6: Select which photos you want dr.fone to recover and click the Restore to Device button.recover permanently deleted photos from iphone with drfone


How to Avoid iPhone Photo Loss in Future

Anyone who has ever experienced the loss of a treasured photo wants nothing more than to avoid the same thing happening again in the future. The good news is that there are several ways how you can make your images more resilient to data loss. 

Because even the most reliable data backup strategy in the world can fail, we recommend you always have more than one backup ready. A backup of a backup can save you when a disaster strikes, and you’ll be very glad that you have it.  

1. Back up your iPhone

The first way to prevent photos from being lost from an iPhone is to have it registered with a cloud service like Apple’s iCloud. It provides several services such as backups to Apple’s cloud service storing photos, documents, and most importantly “Find my Phone” so if it gets lost or misplaced, the iPhone can tell us where it’s at. In addition to using iCloud, you should also create a local iPhone backup using iTunes (macOS 10.14 and older) or Finder (macOS 10.15 and newer). 

2. Use services like Mega or Google Photos

Another option is to use another backup service such as Mega or Google Photos. Both services can work as a “backup to the backup”, so even if we delete it from the iPhone or iCloud, another copy might be on those systems as well. Mega offers 50 GB of free online storage, and it gives its users a chance to earn additional storage space by completing various challenges. 

3. Safeguard your iPhone

Do you have kids and often leave your iPhone unattended? If so, don’t be surprised when they wipe out all photos from it. That’s why you should activate either Touch ID or Face ID and keep your iPhone locked when it’s not in use. You will also appreciate Touch ID and Face ID if you ever lose your iPhone because the person who finds it won’t be able to look at your personal pictures and potentially steal them from you. 

4. Don’t Jailbreak Your iPhone 

When you jailbreak your iPhone, you gain access to a huge amount of useful apps and tweaks, but you also greatly increase the chance of losing your photos. Apps on a jailbroken iPhone don’t have to abide by the restrictions imposed by Apple, which means they can modify system files and other applications. Unless you know exactly what you’re doing, stay away from jailbreaking or be ready to face the consequences. 

5. Be More Careful

We know that this is easier said than done, but the fact is that being more careful is the only way how to avoid accidentally deleting important photos from your iPhone. Ask yourself if you really need to take your phone with you when you go out drinking with your best friends or when you go on an epic bike right in the mountains. Even if you keep your photos backed up in the cloud, there’s no point in having to recover them because of a silly mistake. 

Summary

As we’ve explained in this article, there are several ways how to retrieve deleted photos on iPhone. You should always start by checking the Recently Deleted album, which is where all deleted photos are kept for 30 days. 

If you miss this critical window, your only option is a third-party data recovery application like Disk Drill. Since Disk Drill’s success rate decreases over time, we highly recommend you begin the recovery as soon as possible. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I recover permanently deleted photos from my iPhone?

If you still have your iPhone, you should first check the Recently Deleted album in the Photos app. You can also use a data recovery solution like Disk Drill to recover deleted photos that are not in the Recently Deleted album. Finally, you can recover them from your iCloud backup.

2. Can I recover permanently deleted photos from my iPhone without backup?

It’s often possible to recover permanently deleted photos from an iPhone without backup, but the chance of success depends on several factors, including how soon you begin the recovery process (the sooner, the better!) and your choice of photo recovery software (we recommend Disk Drill).

3. How do I recover permanently deleted photos from iPhone 8?

The recovery of permanently deleted photos from iPhone 8 can be accomplished with the help of Disk Drill:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill.
  2. Connect your iPhone 8 to your Mac.
  3. Launch Disk Drill and begin recovery by clicking on the Recover button next to your iPhone 8.

4. How do I recover permanently deleted photos from my iPhone 7?

A third-party data recovery software application like Disk Drill is the best way how to recover permanently deleted photos from my iPhone 7. This is what you need to do:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill.
  2. Connect your iPhone 7 to your Mac.
  3. Start Disk Drill and click the Recover button next to your iPhone 7 to begin recovery.

5. How can I get back my deleted pictures on iPhone?

Your deleted pictures can be found in several places:

  • Check the Recently Deleted folder in the Photos app, right under the iPhone camera roll.
  • If you can’t find the pictures there, look for them in the same folder on iCloud.
  • Still nothing? Then use Disk Drill to recover them from your iPhone’s memory.

6. Where do deleted photos go on iPhone?

When you delete a photo on your iPhone, the photo doesn’t immediately disappear from your device. Instead, it’s moved to the Recently Deleted folder, which you can find among your albums in the Photos app, below the iPhone camera roll. To recover a deleted photo from it, simply tap on it and select Recover.

7. How can I recover permanently deleted photos from my iPhone after 30 days?

Your best option how to recover deleted photos after 30 days is to restore them from a local iTunes backup:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac.
  2. Open iTunes.
  3. Select your iPhone.
  4. Click on the Restore Backup button.
  5. Select your backup and wait for the process to finish.

8. How do I retrieve deleted pictures from my gallery?

To retrieve deleted pictures from your iPhone photo gallery:

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Tap on the Albums icon on the bottom.
  3. Select which deleted pictures you want to retrieve.
    HINT: You can choose to recover all deleted pictures at the same time.
  4. Tap the Recover button.

9. How to recover deleted pictures from iPhone without computer?

A common way how to get old pictures back on iPhone without a computer is with the help of iCloud, a cloud storage service that lets you store backups of your pictures on Apple’s servers:

  1. Open Safari and go to iCloud.com
  2. Sign in.
  3. Go to Photos > Albums > Recently Deleted.
  4. Select the images you want to recover.
  5. Click the Recover button.
Robert Agar

Robert is a freelance writer who graduated from Pace University in New York with a Computer Science degree in 1992. Former computer specialist at IBM. Over the course of a long IT career, he has worked for a number of lar...

Read full bio
Avatar
Approved by
Brett Johnson

This article has been approved by Brett Johnson, Data Recovery Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Brett has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Systems and Network, 12 years of experience.