How to Retrieve Photos from Broken iPhone

This is just not good enough! Your trusty iPhone fell out of your pocket, crashed to the ground and stopped working. Needless to say, you could have been more careful, but now, as they say, the omelette is done, so you must inevitably consider buying a new smartphone or, if the damage is not excessive, to have the damaged "melafon" repaired. Your biggest concern, however, remains that you have inevitably lost all the photos saved on your device.

I beg your pardon? That's exactly how it is and would you like to know how to recover photos from a broken iPhone? Don't worry, maybe I can give you a hand... I mean maybe, because the success of the operation depends essentially on the extent of the damage, as well as the systems you adopt for the storage of shots and videos made with your smartphone. In any case, it doesn't hurt to try, so I would say to get right to the heart of the matter.

Are you ready to try this data recovery job? Are you ready to try it? Very well. Sit back nice and comfortable, take some time off just for yourself and concentrate on reading and following the instructions in the following lines. I'm not promising anything, let it be clear, because the success of the operation does not depend on me or you but on the variables mentioned above. I wish you a good reading and cross my fingers for you!

How to recover photos from broken iPhone without backup

Do you want to recover photos from a broken iPhone that you haven't previously backed up? Bad situation, but not without a way out. For example, if your device malfunctioned because of the battery, or if you previously chose to save photos to iCloud, you might be able to do so. To learn more, continue reading.

Replacing the battery

To retrieve photos from a broken iPhone that doesn't seem to want to know more than it turns on, you could try to recover your shots by going to replace the battery and then recover the data on the device, even if you haven't made a backup beforehand (all as long as the device's problem is actually related to the battery).

If your smartphone is no longer under warranty and the idea of DIY doesn't frighten you, you can try to replace the battery currently in use with another one yourself, bearing in mind that if you don't know where to put your hands or if you do the procedure carelessly, you could irreparably damage your "melafon".

That said, if you are interested, you can follow the instructions I have provided in my tutorial specifically dedicated to how to change the battery of the iPhone. I'm already anticipating that you'll need a whole series of ad hoc tools as well as, of course, a battery to replace the old one.

The best and most reliable alternative, however, is to have the device serviced by Apple, either by taking it to the Apple Retail Store or by shipping it to the company, and having the battery replaced by a new one from the appropriate personnel.

Contrary to what you might think, requiring a battery replacement is an operation that is not always charged for. It depends essentially on the state of your phone. More precisely, if your iPhone has a defective battery and is still in its first year of warranty, you are entitled to a free repair.

During the second year of warranty or if the battery malfunction was caused by accidental damage, you will have to pay 69 euros for iPhone X and later models and 49 euros for iPhone 8 and earlier models. If you then purchased the AppleCare+ package to extend your iPhone's warranty, you can replace the device's battery free of charge even after the first year of warranty has elapsed.

For all the details of the case regarding the replacement of the iPhone battery by Apple and to book a replacement, please refer to the appropriate web page on the Cupertino company's website.

Once the iPhone battery has been replaced, to recover the photos on your device, try turning your smartphone back on as usual. If all is well, your iPhone should be back to normal and you should be able to access the photos saved in the iOS Photos app (and anywhere else).

After your iPhone will be working properly again, I suggest you, for preventive purposes only, to transfer your photos to your computer, following the instructions I provided in my tutorial on how to transfer photos from iPhone to PC. In this way, you can be sure that if there are any further problems, you can always access your photos from your PC.

Recovering photos from iCloud

If you have iCloud, Apple's cloud service, on your iPhone, syncing with iCloud could be easy, even in the absence of a full backup.

As I explained in detail in my guide on how to store photos on iCloud, on iPhones associated with iCloud, the photos are automatically uploaded to the Photo Stream (which keeps them for 30 days) and, optionally, you can activate the iCloud Photo Library which, instead, keeps them permanently (along with videos), but erodes the storage space on iCloud Drive.

Either way, if your iPhone has broken down, all you have to do to recover your photos is log into your iCloud account from another device and download your photos from there. You can do this from the web, from another iOS device or from a computer (on which the above services have been previously enabled). The following explains how to do this in all three cases.

  • Web - if you've activated the iCloud Photo Library, open the browser you usually use to browse the Internet, go to the iCloud home page and log in to your account by filling in the appropriate fields on the screen. Once logged in, click on the Photos icon, locate the photos you are interested in, select their thumbnails (using the combination Ctrl+clic on Windows or cmd+clic on Mac) and download the original files by clicking on the icon with the cloud and the downward arrow at the top right corner of the page. Please note that this procedure is not valid for Photo Stream.
  • iPhone/iPad - grab the device, unlock it, open the Photos app by tapping on its icon (the one with the white background and the multicolored flower) and you'll have access to all your photos. To share or save them in other apps, select the thumbnails of those you're interested in, tap on the sharing icon (the one with the rectangle and arrow) and choose the app or action you want to perform from the menu that opens. Of course, your device must have been previously associated with the same Apple ID configured on the broken iPhone.
  • PC - after installing and configuring the iCloud application on Windows, open the File Explorer by clicking on the icon (the one with the yellow folder) on the taskbar, located in the C:UsersUsersname_userPicturesiCloud Photos Download position (instead of user_name you have to enter the name of your user account) and you can access your pictures. To save them in a different location, select them using the Ctrl+C combination, use the Ctrl+C key combination to copy and paste them in the location of your choice, using the Ctrl+V key combination.
  • Mac - launch the Photo application by selecting the Photo icon (the one with the white background and the multicolored flower) located on the Dock bar and you can view all your photos. Select the photos you want to download using the cmd+clic combination and export them to your preferred location by selecting File > Export > Export N photos at the top left of the menu bar. Of course, your Mac must have been previously associated with the same Apple ID configured on the broken iPhone.

For more information on the practices I just mentioned, please refer to my guide specifically focused on how to download photos from iCloud.

How to retrieve photos from iPhone with broken display

Now I want to explain how to recover photos from an iPhone with a broken display. In that case, considering that your device is working but you can't use it properly or you can't see what's on the display, you can rely on using iTunes on Windows or the Photo app on MacOS, or using third-party software designed specifically for data recovery, which is explained below.

Standard procedure

You can try to recover photos from an iPhone with a broken display using iTunes on Windows or the Photos application on macOS. In that case, the first thing you need to do is to first connect your smartphone to one of the USB ports on your computer using the Lightning/Dock cable provided with your device.

Then, if you are using Windows, download and install iTunes on your PC following the instructions I gave you in my guide on the subject, start the program and, if this is the first time you connect your iPhone to your computer, authorize communication between the two devices by pressing the appropriate buttons on the screen (and typing the unlock code on the iPhone).

Next, open Windows File Explorer by clicking its icon (the one with the yellow folder) at the bottom left of the taskbar, select Computer/This PC from the left sidebar, right-click the iPhone icon, and select Import Pictures and Videos from the menu that appears.

In the window that opens, click the More Options item at the bottom left and adjust your photo import preferences, then select Review, organize, and group the items you want to import and click the Import button. Then divide the photos to be imported to your PC according to groups based on the date of creation and confirm your intentions by pressing the Import button.

If you're using MacOS, open the Photos app by clicking its icon (the one with the white background and multicolored flower) on the Dock Bar, and if this is the first time you've done this, it authorizes communication between your Mac and smartphone by responding affirmatively to alerts on the screen (and typing the unlock code on your iPhone).

In the Photos application window that you now see on your desktop, select the name of your iPhone from the left sidebar, in the Devices section, and select the preview of all the photos to be recovered using the combination cmd+click. Then choose the album where you want to save the photos, using the drop-down menu at the top, and click the Import All New Photos button.

For more details about the above practices, you can refer to my guide specifically focused on how to move photos from iPhone to PC.

Alternative procedure

As an alternative to the practices described in the previous step, you can try to access again the photos on your broken iPhone using special third-party software designed for data recovery, as in the case of the excellent EaseUS MobiSaver Free: it is, in fact, a free program that allows you to recover deleted files and contacts from Apple-branded smartphones.

It can be used on both Windows and MacOS and is also available in a paid variant (costs 64.95 euros) that allows you to circumvent some limitations imposed by the free version (e.g. the maximum number of contacts that can be recovered). Please note that it requires the latest version of iTunes installed on your computer to work.

To download the program on Windows, visit this web page, click the Download Free button and the Download Now button. Once the download is complete, open the obtained .exe file and, in the window that appears on your desktop, click the Yes button.

Next, press the OK and Next buttons, select I agree to the terms of the license agreement and click the Next button twice. Then remove the checkmark for the installation of any additional software, click the Next button again and, to finish, select the Install and Finish buttons.

If you're using macOS, connect to this other web page and click the Free Download button. When the download is complete, open the .dmg package you got and drag the EaseUS MobiSaver Free icon into the Applications folder of macOS.

Next, right-click on the program icon, select Open from the context menu and click on the Open button in the window that appears on your desktop, in order to circumvent Apple's restrictions on applications from non-certified developers (this operation should only be performed the first time you start the program).

Now that, regardless of your operating system, you see the program window on your screen, connect your iPhone to your computer using the Lightning/Dock cable provided with your smartphone and click the Scan button.

When the scanning process is complete, place a checkmark in the Photos box on the right side of the program window, click on the Retrieve button in the lower right corner and select the folder where you want to export the images.

If you are interested in this, I would like to inform you that the program is also able to recover data from the device backups made with iTunes and saved on your computer. To take advantage of this feature, go to the Recover from iTunes Backup section by clicking on the relevant item on the left side of the EaseUS MobiSaver Free window, select the backup you are interested in and finally, the photos to recover. That's it!

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