How to Recover Deleted Photos from an iPhone

It can be heartbreaking to discover a favorite photo on an iPhone or a photo from a recent shot that was unexpectedly deleted. The good news is that there are several ways to recover deleted photos, some quite simple and most can be done directly from the iPhone itself.


Restore Recently Deleted Photos on iPhone

The first place to check deleted photos from iPhone is the Recently Deleted album in the Photos app. If the missing images are found there, it is quite simple to recover them. iPhone stores deleted photos for 30 days even if iPhone is running out of space.

To restore one or more photos from iPhone, the user needs to open the Photos app, then tap on the Albums tab at the bottom and scroll to the end of the page. After tapping on the Recently Deleted album, a gallery of all photos that have been flagged for deletion will be displayed. The user needs to select the ones that need to be restored and then tap the Recover button at the bottom right and then the Recover Photo button to put it back in the iPhone library.

Restore Recently Deleted iPhone Photos
Here is a step-by-step summary of the process:

  1. Open the Pictures application
  2. Press the Albums tongue
  3. Scroll down, tap the Recently Deleted album, then tap Select
  4. Tap the photo or video you want to keep, or tap Recover All
  5. Faucet Retrieve again to confirm

If after following these steps you are still missing your photo, read on for additional steps and solutions you can try.

Find Deleted Photos on iCloud

In rare circumstances, deleted images can be found on, however, this is unlikely. When photos are deleted on an iPhone that has iCloud Photos enabled, the photos are synced between the iPhone and iCloud. If an image is deleted from iPhone, it is also deleted from iCloud.

If the iPhone has not been connected to the Internet recently, the photos may be found in iCloud and downloaded to a computer before the iPhone syncs. With any computer, open in a browser and check the Photos tab.

iCloud Photo Library

If the images are not visible in the main library, it is worth trying the Recently Deleted album. Files in this album are retained for 30 days before being permanently deleted.

Recently Deleted Album in iCloud

If the missing images are in the Recently Deleted album, they must be recovered before uploading.

Recover Recently Deleted from iCloud

Are photos missing from iPhone deleted or hidden?

The iPhone has a way to hide photos so they don’t appear in the normal library with other photos. Masking is done with the share sheet and it is possible that missing images were accidentally masked.

After selecting the Albums tab in the Photos app and scrolling down, a hidden album can be found. Tap on it to reveal the contents and if missing images are found, they can be restored to the library with one click.

Find Hidden Album in iPhone Photos App

Find Photos in Files or iPhone Photo Editing Apps

A deleted photo is unlikely to be found in the iPhone Files app, but it’s worth checking. If an image is saved from a paint application or a photo editing application, it is often stored in a folder whose name matches the name of the application. You may need to open the app and export the image in a standard format rather than taking it directly from the Files app.

An iPhone can also save photos to the Files app from the Photos app in any folder or even create new folders. It works like on a computer and images saved from a website are usually stored in the Downloads folder.

In the Files app, the user should choose the location On My iPhone and then browse through the various subfolders to find the missing or deleted photos. If it’s a downloaded image, it may be in the Downloads folder. When interesting photos are found, tap the three dots at the top right to view more options.

Navigate the Files app in iOS

Next, press the Select button and choose a photo to add to the photo library. Tap the Share Sheet button on the bottom left and tap the Save Pictures option to make those pictures available in the Photos app.

Save files as images to Camera Roll

Restore iPhone Photos from Mac or Windows PC

If the iPhone photos were recently imported into the Mac Photos app, the lost images can be found in the Mac Photo Library. If AirDrop is used to send files from iPhone to Mac, they are placed in the Downloads folder. If the Image Capture app is used to import iPhone photos, the default location to save them is the Pictures folder. This means that checking the Photos app, Downloads folder and Pictures folder is a good idea if there is any chance that the missing pictures have been saved there.

Mac Photos app Imports tab

If the iPhone photos were shared to a Windows PC, the missing photos may be available on the computer. It’s relatively easy to check the Windows Photos app or File Explorer and locate them.

Restore Deleted iPhone Photos with Data Recovery App

If none of the above methods helped, there is another option but it might not work and even if it does, some photos might not be recoverable and those that are might be damaged. If the missing photographs are valuable or valuable enough, the possibility of recovery may be worth the cost of an app subscription and there are several options available that work with both Mac computers and Windows PCs.

Even after deleting an image completely, iPhone just marks the space as available without overwriting the data. This is common practice with most electronic devices with storage. Over time, the photograph will be overwritten by other data and will be completely unrecoverable. If you plan to use a photo recovery application, it is best to turn off the iPhone in the meantime to avoid any possibility of overwriting any image data that might still be available, as even the backward processes- plan can affect storage.

Every well-known and reputable data recovery application requires subscription service and the cost ranges from $40 to $70 per month, quarter or year. Since these subscriptions renew automatically, it’s a good idea to cancel immediately after use. The app may prove invaluable at first, but is unlikely to be needed often. Here are some of the best options.

Settle for lower quality social media uploads

If the photos are truly unrecoverable from iPhone or personal storage and have not been saved to iCloud or other online storage services, it may be worth checking social media accounts in case a lower quality version would be shared online. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter are all common places to share content and there are countless others. It is possible for the user to upload their own content from most social networks, allowing the recovery of images that might otherwise be lost forever. If a photo was shared via email or less compressed apps, it may retain better quality.


Losing photographs is never a pleasant experience and the initial idea is to recover them, however, recreating an image may be easier than struggling too hard to recover it. There are, of course, special moments that are unlikely to happen again, but the opportunity to capture that incredible photo once again can be seen as a fun challenge. Recreating a unique photograph is a good way to master techniques and refine the staging process.

The good news is that in most cases, photos can be retrieved from various locations on iPhone, computer, and online, saving that extra effort.

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