How to Recover Deleted iPhone Photos

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Alejandra Rangel
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Have you accidentally deleted photos from your iPhone and are desperate because you don't know how to recover them? Unfortunately you're in a bit of a pickle, my friend. If the photos have been permanently deleted from your phone's memory, it's very difficult to bring them back to life, but it's not over yet!

The photos may have ended up in some sort of "recycle bin" in the Photos app or, if you have iCloud Photo Library service on your iPhone, they may still be available online. In short, there's still a decent chance you can recover them, but you'll need a little luck.

There are also third-party softwares that allow you to recover deleted iPhone photos directly from the phone's memory (or even from iTunes backups) but, as mentioned above, there are high chances that they won't be successful. Unfortunately, when a photo is physically deleted from the phone, it is deleted for real. There's almost nothing we "mere mortals" can do to fix the problem. At this point, then, I can only wish you good luck and invite you to read the tutorial below. I sincerely hope it will help you to get back your precious shots.

Recently Deleted Albums

iOS 8 introduced a seemingly trivial but actually very useful feature: an album, in the Photos app, in which all the photos deleted by the user are automatically collected. This is a sort of "recycle bin" in which the images remain for about 40 days, after which they are permanently deleted.

So if you've deleted your photos less than 40 days ago, you can get them back in no time by simply opening the Photos app on your iPhone, selecting the Albums tab from the bottom-right menu, and tapping the Recent Items icon.

Next, click on the Select button in the top right corner, select the thumbnails of the photos you want to restore, and tap the Recover button (bottom right) and then the Recover Photos button to complete the process. The selected images will return to the iOS camera roll, where they were originally located.

iCloud Photo Library

As I explained in my tutorial on how to store photos on iCloud, iCloud Photo Library is a very useful service that allows you to store all the photos and videos taken with your iPhone (or even iPad) online. It's free, but to use it you'll need to purchase one of iCloud's paid plans (which start at €2.99/month for 200GB of online space).

Among the benefits of the iCloud Photo Library is that it syncs your photos across all the devices connected to your Apple ID. This means that if you've accidentally deleted a photo from your iPhone, you can also retrieve it from your iPad, another iPhone connected to your Apple ID, or even a computer.

To recover deleted iPhone photos from an iOS device, you can follow the steps we've just seen together, as all deleted pictures are automatically transferred to the Recently Deleted album (which is synced across all devices).

If you prefer to do it from your computer, you have to go to and sign in with your Apple account details. Then click on the Photos icon and wait a few minutes for your photo library to load.

When you are done, select the Albums tab in the upper right corner and go to the album called Recently Deleted. Then click on the Select Photos button, click on the thumbnails of the photos you want to restore, and choose whether to restore them to your iCloud camera roll or download them to your computer (by clicking one of the buttons at the top).

The restored images will automatically return to the iCloud camera roll, and then to the camera roll of the Photos app on all devices synced with your Apple account.

Third-Party Cloud Services

If you have third-party cloud photo storage apps installed, such as Google Photos or Dropbox, you can take advantage of their built-in restore features to recover deleted photos from iPhone.

If you're using Google Photos, you can view the photos you've uploaded from your iPhone on the app's main screen, and if you're lucky, you'll find pictures you accidentally deleted from the main iOS camera roll among them.

To view the photos deleted via Google Photos (both from the iPhone and from all devices that you have connected to the service), click instead on the button at the top left and select the item Trash that is located in the bar that appears on the side. Once you have identified the images to be recovered, select their thumbnails and click on the arrow icon at the top right to reinsert them into the Google Photos roll.

The same operation can also be done from PC, connecting to Google Drive from the browser, logging in with your Google account details and clicking on the Google Photos icon in the left sidebar. By clicking on the trash icon (which is always in the left sidebar) you can instead view - and restore - the photos deleted from the service.

If you use Dropbox and you have activated the automatic backup of the photos on it, open the application and see if among the images uploaded to your online space there are also those you deleted from the main roll of iOS.

To access the deleted photos directly from Dropbox, connect instead to the official website of the service, log in with your account information, select the folder that contains the photos and click on the trash icon in the upper right corner to view the deleted files.

Once you've located the images you want to recover, select them and click the Restore button to add them back to your Dropbox.

Data recovery software

If you don't use cloud services and/or couldn't find your photos in the "Recently Deleted" album, you have to try the last card at your disposal: a third-party software that can recover deleted files from iPhone memory or iTunes backups. There are many such programs out there, but alas, none of them work miracles. I'm sorry to tell you this, but if your photos have been permanently deleted and you don't have a backup on your computer, there's very little chance of recovering them.

Anyway, among the many data recovery programs available on the market, I recommend you to try EaseUS MobiSaver, which is very easy to use, is also compatible with Mac and you can try it for free with no time limit. Its free version has all the features of the full version (which costs $59.95) but allows you to recover only one photo at a time (so, in theory, to recover 10 images you should click 10 times on the export button).

To download the free version of EaseUS MobiSaver to your computer, go to the program's website and click on the Free Download button and then on Download Now. Then open the installation package of the software(ems_free.exe) and click on the Yes button, OK and Next.

Check the box next to I accept the terms of the license agreement and complete the setup by clicking Next twice in a row and then click Install and Finish. If you don't want to send EaseUS anonymous statistics about your use of the software, uncheck the Participate in EaseUS Customer Experience option on the last screen of the installation process.

If you have a Mac, you can download EaseUS MobiSaver by connecting to this web page and clicking the Free download button. Once the download is complete, all you have to do to install the software is to open the dmg package that contains it and drag its icon to the Applications folder of macOS.

Now, connect your iPhone to the computer, launch EaseUS MobiSaver and click on the Scan button located next to the name of the device. Then wait for the device's contents to be scanned and within a few minutes you should see all recoverable photos on the screen. You may be asked to enter the password you used to encrypt your iTunes backups.

At this point, select the images you want to recover, click on the Recover button (located at the bottom right) and choose the folder where you want to save them. I remind you that in the free version of EaseUS MobiSaver you can select no more than one photo at a time.

If you encounter difficulties in getting EaseUS MobiSaver to recognize your iPhone, try to activate DFU mode on your device by following the directions in my tutorial on how to put your iPhone in DFU.

If you want, EaseUS MobiSaver can also recover data from iTunes backups and iCloud. To use these features, you need to go back to the home screen of the software, select Recover from iTunes Backup or Recover from iCloud backup and select the iPhone name or account from which to recover files.

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