Accidentally deleting the wrong photos can be a nightmare, as you watch those irreplaceable memories disappear from your library with little hope of return. But all is not necessarily lost, as there are a few ways to recover those images. We show you how to get back deleted photos on your iPhone.
Check the recently deleted album in Photos
When you delete images from Apple Photos they aren’t immediately disposed of by the app. Instead, they are placed in folder called Recently Deleted and held there for around forty days. It's a safety net put in place just in case you do accidentally delete something and then change your mind.
To recover images from here, launch the Photos app and select the Album tab on the bottom of the screen. Scroll down until you find the Other Albums section then select Recently Deleted.
In here you’ll see any images that have been deleted but are still available. In our case, there's just one screenshot, but on your phone you'll probably see lots of photos.
Locate the one you want, tap it, then choose the Restore option to send it back to your normal Photo library. If there are multiple images you want to restore, then tap the Select option in the top right corner of the Recently Deleted folder, then when you’re done tap the Recover option in the bottom right corner.
Can I get iPhone photos back using iCloud?
The chances are that any photos deleted from your iPhone while you’re signed up to iCloud and using the Photos app will also be gone from the servers. This is because iCloud Photos synchronises your library not only with other devices but also with the iCloud servers. So, deleting something on your iPhone also removes it from your Mac, PC, iPad and iCloud account.
Can I use an iTunes backup to restore deleted photos?
The only real way to get something back is if you ran a backup before you turned on iCloud Photos. This could be the case if you have used iTunes to create iOS backups. There are disadvantages to this method though, as restoring an iOS backup will replace everything on your device, meaning you’ll lose any content adding since the backup was created. Don't forget that this doesn't include email and other content which is stored in the cloud. Plus, you can easily reinstall any apps that are removed when you restore a backup.
For a step-by-step guide, read How to restore an iPhone or iPad from an iCloud or iTunes backup.
Use third-party software to recover iPhone photos
If the photos are really important then you might want to invest in third-party software to try and extract the files. One popular option is Data Recovery by Dr.Fone. It isn’t free, in fact this particular one costs £55/$69.99 for a year’s subscription, so you’ll want to make sure that it can deliver what you’re after. We recommend reading the descriptions carefully and even contacting the company first to see if its app will provide the results you’re after.
You’ll find a tutorial on how Data Recovery works in How to recover deleted photos from iPhone without backup.
Try Google Photos as well as iCloud
It’s not going to help this time around, but there’s an old adage concerning backups: if something is backed up once it isn’t really backed up at all. We always recommend multiple backups on different services, and when it comes to photos and videos Google Photos is an excellent option.
With the app installed and running on your iPhone it can back up all of your current photos, and if you’re happy to store them at 16MP and 1080p for videos, then it won’t cost you a penny.
Do this now and you’ll always have another copy of your important photos somewhere in the cloud when you need them.
For more ways to protect your data, read How to backup an iPhone.