TIFFs aren’t the smallest files, but they allow users to designate extra image data like layers. They work with photo editing tools like Adobe Photoshop which allows photographers and graphic designers to make changes to each layer.

With all the work that goes into a TIFF file and the information it stores, it makes sense to feel less-than-happy to find out your files were accidentally deleted, completely corrupted, or that you forgot to save them. Either way, we’re walking you through what TIFF files are and how you can recover missing data.

What is a TIFF File?

TIFF (Tag Image File Format) is a type of computer file that stores raster graphics and image data. Photographers use TIFFs because they can save high-quality photographs without using lossy file formats.

TIFF files store raster graphics and data for images. They are widely used in graphic manipulation programs like Adobe Photoshop and Corel Photoshop. The tags of TIFFs use information from the ISO baseline standard to specify how the file can be edited, viewed, and converted.

TIFF files are a way to store high-quality images on your computer. Each TIFF file can contain layers and a limited number of color components. They’re used in graphic programs because each layer can be edited separately and saved as a separate file.

How to Open a TIFF File?

Windows

All versions of Windows can open TIFF files. You can use the Windows Print command to print directly from TIFF files, or you can simply use a viewer like the Windows Photo Viewer that allows you to display the file directly on your screen.

To open a TIFF file on Windows, simply follow these steps below:

  1. Double click on the TIFF file you want to open.
    Open file with double click
  2. It should open automatically in Windows Photo Viewer.
    Windows photo viewer.

Mac

Mac devices can also open TIFF files easily using Apple Preview. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Double-click on your TIFF file(s).
    Image mac
  2. The image should then open in Apple Preview.
    Apple viewer.

Other Programs that Can Open TIFF Files

There are also a number of free, open-source programs or software options you can choose from. Here are the following:

For Windows:

  • Microsoft Paint 3D
  • Microsoft Photos
  • Adobe Illustrator 2021
  • Adobe Photoshop 2022
  • Microsoft Paint
  • File Viewer Plus
  • CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2021
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements
  • ACD Systems ACDSee Photo Studio

For Mac:

  • Apple Photos
  • Apple Preview
  • Adobe Illustrator 2021
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements
  • Adobe Photoshop 2022
  • Roxio Toast 18
  • CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2021
  • MacPhun ColorStrokes

Note: You can also easily open TIFF files on the web using Google Drive, Google Photos, and Apple Photos.

How to Recover Deleted TIFF Files

Before you lose sleep over your precious photos, you should know that a little data loss isn’t the end of the world, there are ways to repair the damage. There are many ways to recover deleted TIFF files or ones that disappear, but you should use caution so that you don’t overwrite your original TIFF files. Recovering deleted photos is largely a process of copying your files from one place to another so that you can see what you’ll need to recover and work with them. Here are some ways to do it.

How to Recover TIFF Files with Software

Using data recovery software is the most versatile technique to retrieve lost files online. Many of them include useful supplementary features that assist you in recovering data from various data loss circumstances.

One software that should be particularly of note is Disk Drill. This program has a sleek and easy-to-use user interface and is designed to make the process of recovering data as straightforward and comfortable as possible. Disk Drill uses a simple recovery process where you simply select what you want to recover, such that it can be automatically recovered and stored in a designated location that it will be able to access. Its free plan for Windows even comes with a 500MB data recovery allowance which is enough to recover a number of files.

Here’s how you can recover files using Disk Drill:

  1. Visit the official Disk Drill website and download the Disk Drill file.
    Disk Drill
    Data recovery for free
    Your Companion for Deleted Files Recovery
  2. Follow the on-screen directions after running the downloaded installation file to finish installing Disk Drill.
    Disk Drill install.
  3. Click the Search for lost data button after selecting the storage medium from which you want to retrieve TIFF files.
    Disk Drill search for lost data.
  4. The program is now going to scan files that have been lost or deleted and find them. How long it takes depends on the size of the storage medium and how quickly it reads. During the scan, you can click the category icons and it will take you to the results page, where you can see the files that have been found so far.
    Disk drill scan
  5. On the results page, you will find all of your TIFF files in the All files category because Disk Drill can’t figure out how to classify the file extension properly. You’ll have to open the Found files drop-down menu, then look in the folder where your files were last found. To search faster, you can also filter the results by typing the file name you’re looking for in the search box located at the top-right corner of the screen.
  6. Check the boxes next to the files you want to recover and then click the Recover button to start.
    tiff recovery.
  7. You’ll get a small pop-up that asks you where you want your recovered files to be saved. Keep in mind that this location must be on a different drive than the one where the files were recovered from, or you might overwrite them. Then, click the OK button to start the process of recovering the selected files.
    Lost tiff recovery.
  8. After you finish, you’ll get a prompt that says Data recovery complete. You can also see the “Show recovered data in Explorer” button below it. Click it to go right to your rescued data and resume using the TIFF files available.
    Show TIFF recovered in Explorer.

Recover TIFF files from Windows Recycle Bin or Mac Trash

Windows Recycle Bin

When you want to recover deleted files from the Windows Recycle Bin tool, there’s a very simple and easy solution. It only works for files that were deleted with the Delete key or command. If you use the Shift + Delete command to delete files, they don’t go into the Recycle Bin, so you’ll have to use the software method instead. If you want to get back deleted files from your Recycle Bin, follow these steps:

  1. Find the Recycle Bin tool on your desktop or press Windows + R to open the Run command window. Then type “shell:recyclebinfolder” and hit Enter to open the Recycle Bin tool.
    shell:recyclebinfolder сomand.
  2. Highlight the TIFF files you want to recover, then right-click any of the selected files and choose the Restore option.
    Restore tiff from the recycle bin.
  3. After that, the files should appear in their original folder.

Mac Trash

Using Mac’s Trash tool to recover deleted TIFF files is quick and easy, considering how its deleted files are directly sent to Trash. To restore deleted TIFF files from your Mac Trash, follow these steps below:

  1. Click the Trash icon located on the bottom-right corner of your screen.
    Mac trash.
  2. Highlight the files you wish to recover. After that, right-click them and select Put Back.
    Put back in Mac Trash.
  3. Your restored TIFF files should now be in the same folder from before.

Restore from a Recent Files folder

Using the built-in Windows File History feature is a great way to keep track of your data. Although it can only retrieve data from specified folders, it allows you to restore specific versions of files on your Windows machine. Backups can be created at pre-determined intervals, which is a great option if you’ve forgotten to save your work or need to travel back in time to a previous version.

In addition, you must activate File History before the data loss has occurred, and it does not work with unsaved files in order to use it. To keep all the backups, you’ll need a different storage medium. The following are the steps on how to easily retrieve files from the file history database:

  1. Search for “Control Panel” in the search box on your Windows taskbar. Then, type “Control Panel” and choose the first result.
    Windows Control Panel.
  2. Go to System and Security.
    File history control panel.
  3. Then, click on the File History tab.
    File history system security.
  4. On the left side of the window, click the Restore personal files link to get your personal files back.
    File history main.
  5. Find the folder where your TIFF files were last located.
  6. Select all the files you want to recover then click the green rounded arrow at the bottom of the window to retrieve them.
    Restore tiff from file history.
Emma Collins

Emma Collins is a content writer who has been writing tech tutorials & how-to guides relating to her wide interests in technology. She's been writing articles on Windows, Android, iOS, Social Media, Gaming, and more a...

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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.