Digital photos form a big part of many people’s lives. Unfortunately, they can be lost for many reasons that require you to recover deleted photos. You might mistakenly format an SD card or accidentally press that delete all button on your digital camera. In an instant, you can obliterate precious memories of an event such as a wedding or graduation that can never be replaced.

recover deleted photos

We are going to show you how to recover deleted photos using a variety of methods:

How to Recover Deleted Photos on Windows

We now present four ways to restore deleted photos for Windows users. They may not all be appropriate for your particular situation, but one of them should do the trick. In some cases, you can get your images back through the tools built into the operating system. If that fails, there are more reliable ways to restore your files, even if they have been deleted some time ago. Let’s take a closer look at your options.

recover deleted photos

Method 1. From the Recycle Bin

The Recycle Bin is the first place to look for deleted images on a Windows computer. It’s a special folder that the operating system uses to temporarily store recently deleted photos. Files remain in the Recycle Bin for a predetermined length of time or until the bin is emptied.

Try these simple steps to recover deleted photos from the Recycle Bin:

  1. Open the Recycle Bin by double-clicking on its icon.
  2. Locate and select the images you want to recover.
  3. Take note of the Original Location of the files as that is where they will be restored.
  4. Right-click on your selection and choose Restore. You can also drag and drop files from the Recycle Bin to a folder of your choice.
  5. Wait for the process to complete and verify your files are to recover deleted photos

retrieve deleted photos from backup

Method 2. From Backup Files

You should be backing up your computer regularly to protect your important data. It’s in data loss scenarios such as lost photos that the value of these backups is demonstrated. The Windows OS comes with a backup and recovery tool. Here’s how to retrieve deleted photos with it on a Windows 10 machine.

To recover deleted photos from backup you need to:

  1. Connect the storage media containing the backup to your computer.
  2. Right-click the Windows Start button and then Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Backup and Restore.
  3. Choose either to Restore my files or Restore all users’ files.retrieve deleted photos
  4. Search for your lost photos by using the Browse for files or Browse for folders option. You cannot see individual files when browsing for folders.retrieve deleted photos via backup
  5. Select your files and click Restore to recover them.

restore deleted photos via disk drill

Method 3. Using a Photo Recovery Software

Photo recovery software is the solution if your deleted images are no longer in the Recycle Bin and you have not located them on a backup. We have selected Disk Drill data recovery software based on user reviews and the features set the tool provides. Disk Drill will scan your disk and get those photos back when other methods won’t.

Follow these easy steps to recover permanently deleted photos on Windows 10:

  1. Download, install and launch Disk Drill for Windows.
    Disk Drill
    Data recovery for free
    Your Companion for Deleted Files Recovery
  2. Connect an external device if that was where the data was lost.
  3. Select the disk from the app’s disk list.
  4. Click the Search for lost data button button to start scanning the disk.restore deleted photos
  5. Preview the photos that you want to get back from the Pictures folder.retrieve deleted photos
  6. Make your selection and click Recover.
  7. Choose a new location where the photos will be saved.recover deleted pictures

undelete photos with data recovery service

Method 4. Via a Data Recovery Service

You may run into situations that demand you use a professional data recovery service. These services may be able to recover data when all other available methods have failed. The key is finding the right service and getting the storage media delivered to them.

Here are some general guidelines to follow when searching for a local data recovery service:

  1. Type “data recovery services near me” in a Google search to review your options.
  2. Use Google Maps and customer reviews to make your selection.
  3. Follow the steps outlined by the recovery service you select.

How to Retrieve Deleted Photos on Mac

You can retrieve deleted photos on Mac using a variety of methods. If the files were recently deleted, you might be able to recover them instantly by looking in the Trash Bin. Apple also offers multiple ways to back up your pictures so they are protected and can be recovered if the need arises.

get deleted pictures back via trash

Method 1. From the Trash

Your Mac’s Trash Bin is the first place you should look for deleted photos or files. When a deletion occurs, macOS moves the deleted file to the Trash Bin temporarily to make it available for a quick recovery. Items roll off the bin after a set amount of time, when it gets full or when you empty it.

Here’s how to restore a deleted image from the Trash:

  1. Open the Trash Bin by clicking on its icon.
  2. Locate the photo you want to recover.
  3. Right-click on the item and select Put Back. The photo will be restored to its original location.get deleted pictures back

how to get back deleted pictures by time machine

Method 2. From a Time Machine Backup

Time Machine is the built-in backup and recovery tool that comes with Mac’s operating system. If you are using it to make backup copies of your data, you can attempt to retrieve photos that were lost from your computer.

To use Time Machine for photo recovery, use the following steps:

  1. Connect the backup disk to your Mac.
  2. Open a Finder window in the folder where the photos were located.
  3. Open Time Machine by clicking on the clock icon on the Mac’s menu bar and select Browse Time Machine Backups.
  4. Locate the items you want to recover.
  5. Click Restore to recover the selected to get back deleted pictures using Time Machine backup

bring back deleted pictures via itunes backup

Method 3. From an iTunes Backup

This recovery method is only valid if you have previously created a backup of your iTunes library to an external drive.

Use this procedure to restore your photos from the backup:

  1. Close iTunes.
  2. Click on the external drive and select the iTunes folder.
  3. Right-click and choose Copy.
  4. Paste the iTunes library to your chosen location.
  5. Open iTunes while holding down the Option key.
  6. Click Choose Library when prompted.bring back deleted pictures
  7. Select the location where you copied the iTunes folder.
  8. Click Open.
  9. Choose the iTunes Library.itl file.bring back deleted pictures

recover deleted photos with disk drill

Method 4. Restore Images with a Photo Recovery Software

Photo recovery software for Mac can rescue your missing pictures when they are no longer in the Trash or if you have neglected to make a backup copy.

Follow these simple steps to use an image recovery tool to quickly get your pictures back.

  1. Download and install Disk Drill for Mac.
    Disk Drill
    Data recovery for free
    Your Companion for Deleted Files Recovery
  2. Connect any external storage devices that contained lost photos.
  3. Launch the program and select your disk from the displayed list.
  4. Click Search for lost data button to scan for lost to recover deleted photos
  5. Preview the files that can be recovered and make your selections.retrieve deleted photos using a photo recovery app
  6. Click Recover to perform the recovery.restore deleted photos

How to Recover Deleted Photos on Android

You can use several different methods to get deleted pictures back on an Android device. The one you choose will be based on if you use cloud storage or need to recover from the device itself. Here are instructions on how to recover your photos using various techniques.

backup deleted photos

Method 1. From the Cloud: Google Photos; Microsoft One Drive; Dropbox

Storing your photos in the cloud provides enhanced security in the event of a data loss. Here are the steps to use with some different cloud services.

📷 Google Photos

You can recover photos directly from the Google Photo app with these steps. This procedure will only work if it has been less than 60 days since you sent the image to the Trash. It cannot be used if you have emptied the Trash or permanently deleted the image before backing it up.

  1. Open the Google Photos app on your Android device.
  2. At the top left, tap Menu > Trash.
  3. Touch and hold the photo you want to recover.
  4. Tap Restore at the bottom of the screen to get back the deleted picture.retrieve deleted photos

☁️ Microsoft OneDrive

The OneDrive Recycle Bin may enable you to recover your lost photos. To do so, use the following steps:

  1. Launch the OneDrive app on your Android device.
  2. Select the Me in the bottom navigation pane.
  3. Select the Recycle Bin.
  4. Choose the photos you want to recover and click Restore.recover deleted pictures from OneDrive

🗃️ Dropbox

Dropbox users should follow these steps to recover deleted pictures.

  1. Open your web browser on your Android device. We are using Chrome for this demonstration.
  2. Navigate to This opens the Dropbox website.
  3. Use the options in the top right to request a desktop site.
  4. Sign into your Dropbox account.
  5. Tap Files in the left sidebar.
  6. Select Deleted files.
  7. Tap on the file you wish to recover.
  8. Tap Restore to return the file to its original Dropbox location.undelete photos with Dropbox backup

get deleted pictures back via disk drill

Method 2. From an SD Card

To recover files from an Android SD card, first remove the card from your phone and connect it to a computer. Use a simple data recovery software like Disk Drill, which is compatible with both Mac and Windows, to scan the card. This method is highly effective. If you don’t have a PC, you can use an Android app like FoneDog for recovery, though this may be less comprehensive.

  1. Download and install Disk Drill to your computer.
    Disk Drill
    Data recovery for free
    Your Companion for Deleted Files Recovery
  2. Connect the SD card to either a Mac or Windows PC using a card reader.
  3. Select the card from the displayed disk list.
  4. Click Search for lost data on your Mac to begin scanning the to get back deleted pictures from an SD card
  5. Preview the photos found by the tool and select the files you want to recover.get deleted pictures back
  6. Click Recover to restore your lost images.bring back deleted pictures

bring back deleted pictures with photo recovery software

Method 3. Via Photo Recovery Software (PC version for Mac and Windows)

Retrieving lost data from an Android phone can be challenging. This is mainly because accessing the phone’s complete file system is restricted, and there’s a risk that new data might overwrite the deleted data. Additionally, the encryption on newer phones makes the process more complex.

However, gaining full system access through ‘rooting’ your device can help. Rooting allows deeper access, enabling specific recovery software to find files that are usually not recoverable. Below, we’ve listed some tools that can assist in recovering files from Android devices

🍏 Disk Drill for Mac

Follow these simple steps to get your pictures back from an Android device:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill for Mac.
    Disk Drill
    Data recovery for free
    Your Companion for Deleted Files Recovery
  2. Connect your Android device that contained lost photos to your Mac via USB and allow Disk Drill to access your to recover deleted photos
  3. You will need to root your device at this point to enable Disk Drill to recover your files. The app can recover files from internal and external memory.retrieve deleted photos
  4. Launch the program and select your disk from the displayed list.
  5. Click Search for lost data to scan for lost data.restore deleted photos from Android on Mac
  6. Preview the pictures that can be recovered and make your selections.
  7. Click Recover to perform the recovery.retrieve deleted photos

🪟 FoneDog for Windows

There are many recovery tools that work with Android devices and your Windows computer. We recommend the FoneDog Android Data Recovery tool and demonstrate its use in the following steps.

  1. Download and install FoneDog on your Windows computer.
  2. Connect the Android device to your machine and launch the app.recover deleted photos
  3. Allow USB debugging on the Android device.
  4. Select the photo file to scan. For example, you can choose Gallery or Photo Library.
  5. Click Next to let the app scan your device.
  6. Select the photos you want to restore and click the Recover button.

undelete photos with diskdigger

Method 4. With an App that Restores Deleted Photos

There are several apps available that can help you recover deleted photos on an Android device. One that you can get at the Google Play Store is DiskDigger. It can work without the device being rooted, but you will have more success if it is rooted.

Here’s how to use this recovery app:

  1. Download DiskDigger. The Free version is suitable for restoring photos and videos.
  2. Select the memory partition to scan if the device is rooted and grant the app root access. If not, tap the Start basic photo scan button to continue.
  3. Choose the type of files that you are looking to recover.
  4. Scan for files that match your search criteria.
  5. Save the found picture to an app, to the device, or as an FTP upload.bring back deleted pictures on Android phone

How to Recover Deleted Photos from iPhone

Deleting photos from your iPhone can be a stressful experience. Here’s how to recover recently deleted photos from an iPhone using several different methods. With any luck, you can get your photos back if they have not been overwritten by new data.

get deleted pictures back with photos app

Method 1. Without Software

The first thing to try is your iPhone internal storage which saves recently deleted photos for a limited amount of time, usually 30 days. Follow these steps to give it a try.

  1. Open the Photos app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the display and choose the Recently Deleted
  3. Locate the photos you want to recover.
  4. Select the file and tap on Recover to restore the photo.get deleted pictures back from Recently Deleted folder on iPhone

how to get back deleted pictures with image recovery tool

Method 2. With an Image Recovery Tool

Here’s how to restore deleted pictures from an iPhone using image recovery software if they are no longer in the Recently Deleted folder. We will use Disk Drill as an example when using a Mac computer and a different tool for Windows users.

🍏 For Mac

Follow these simple steps to recover photos from your iPhone with Disk Drill.

  1. Download and install Disk Drill for Mac.
    Disk Drill
    Data recovery for free
    Your Companion for Deleted Files Recovery
  2. Connect your iPhone to your Mac.
  3. Launch the program and choose the iPhone from the disk list.
  4. Click Search for lost data to scan the device for lost to get back deleted pictures on iPhone using recovery software
  5. Preview the photos that the app can recover and choose those you want to restore.get deleted pictures back from iPhone
  6. Click Recover to finish the recovery.undelete photos

🪟 For Windows

Here are the steps to use with Enigma Recovery software to get back lost photos from an iPhone.

  1. Download and install the Enigma Recovery tool.
  2. The utility gives you the option to recover from the device, iTunes or iCloud.
  3. Select recover from your device and trust the commuter when prompted by your device.
  4. Choose the type of data to search for and click the Start Scan to recover deleted photos
  5. Select the found files you want to recover and click Recover to finish the restore.

recover deleted pictures from iphone backup

Method 3. From an iPhone Backup

Recovering from an iPhone backup without additional software demands that you restore a previous backup over your current data. Follow these steps to perform the operation.

  1. Open Settings, then General and Reset.
  2. Choose Erase All Content and Settings and confirm the reset by tapping Erase iPhone.Erase All Content and Settings
  3. Go through the setup screens and choose Restore from iCloud Backup.

retrieve deleted photos via itunes backup

Method 4. From an iTunes Backup

You can also recover lost photos to your iPhone from an iTunes backup using these steps.

  1. Connect the iPhone to your computer and open iTunes.
  2. Click the device icon when it appears.
  3. Select Restore Backup.bring back deleted pictures
  4. Choose the backup that contains the deleted photos.
  5. Click iphone backup and click restore

restore deleted photos via icloud backup

Method 5. From an iCloud Backup

An iCloud backup can be used to recover your lost images. Just follow these easy steps.

  1. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups on your iPhone.
  2. Verify you have a valid backup to use for the recovery.
  3. Navigate to Settings > General > Reset and then tap Erase All Content and Settings.
  4. On the Apps & Data screen, tap Restore from iCloud Backup.backup deleted photos
  5. Sign in with your Apple ID.
  6. Select Choose backup and choose the iCloud backup you want to use for the recovery.
  7. Follow the prompts to complete the procedure.

How to Recover Deleted Photos from a Digital Camera

You may need to recover photos directly from your Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon or any other band of digital camera. The first place to look is in the camera’s recently deleted folder where files are temporarily stored after deletion. If they are not there, you can use Disk Drill to recover your files. Just follow these simple steps to recover deleted photos from your digital camera:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill to your computer.
  2. Connect the camera to your machine (or SD card via card reader) and launch the program.
  3. Select the camera (SD / CF card) from the list of available storage devices.
  4. Click Search for lost data to start the scanning process.undelete photos
  5. Preview the photos found by the tool and select the files you want to to get back deleted pictures
  6. Click Recover to retrieve the lost photos.get deleted pictures back

Tips to Avoid Photo/Image/Picture Loss

While it’s a great thing that there are so many ways to bring back deleted pictures, consider the advantages of not losing them in the first place. No recovery method is perfect and it is possible that despite your best efforts, deleted photos may remain unrecoverable. Why spend time on data recovery when you could be doing other, more productive things with your time? Taking some simple and common-sense precautions can help you avoid the stress of lost images. Here are some tips to help you avoid that kind of disaster.

  • 💽 Back up. The importance of making backups of your photos regularly cannot be overstated. Whether you use the native tools built into your operating system, third-party backup tools or the cloud, protecting your pictures by creating backup copies is an accepted best practice that you should adopt. You may decide to make backups weekly or monthly, and you should consider immediately copying photos when returning from an important event. Backups should also be made before any system upgrades or installation of new software.
  • 🧱 Create Multiple Partitions. Keeping your photos separate from other files is another way to protect them. You may already be doing this by keeping them in their own folder, but you can take this protection to another level by creating multiple partitions on your storage media. This can reduce the possibility that you will accidentally format the partition that contains your images. You can also use an extra partition to hold duplicate photos to protect from inadvertent file deletion.
  • 🖼️ Never Write New Photos to the Place Containing Lost Images. When faced with a photo loss scenario, it is vitally important that you stop using the device that contained the lost files. This is because when files are deleted or a disk is formatted, the data is still physically on the device until it is overwritten. If you write to the device you risk overwriting or corrupting the lost files before you have a chance to use data recovery software to get deleted pictures back.
  • ☁️ Auto-uploading photos to the cloud. Many mobile devices have the capability to immediately send your digital photos to the cloud. This provides a backup of deleted photos that extends beyond your device and eliminates the need to manually copy the data. Using this strategy removes the need for additional storage space for backups as you can easily add capacity through your cloud provider. Services like Google Photos and iCloud make it easy to store your pictures safely in the cloud.
  • 😐 Think Twice Before Deleting Files. Human error is one of the most common reasons for losing photos. It’s very easy to press the wrong button or format an important partition. Creating multiple partitions as discussed previously may help reduce the risk, but it really is up to the individual to protect their data. Think twice before hitting that delete key and make sure that you really want to perform the operation. Spending a few seconds verifying your work can save a lot of time spent recovering from your mistake.


As we have demonstrated, there are many ways to undelete photos no matter what type of computer or device was used to store them. You should consider taking steps to prevent photos loss in the first place, but if you are affected, Disk Drill will get your pictures back when other methods fail. It also provides free photo protection tools to help keep your precious photos safe.


Joshua Solomon

Technology, SaaS, and digital marketing are Joshua's go-to niches. He understands the need for simple and easy-to-read articles on the internet. As technologies grow in complexity, guides and how-to pieces must remain com...

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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.