How to recover deleted photos from iPhone

Have you ever accidentally deleted a photo from your iPhone? Maybe you got a little carried away when you were selecting useless pictures and tapped on one or two that you wanted to keep. No panic: if you catch it soon enough, the pictures might still be on your phone. In this article, we’ll go over where you can find those images after you’ve hit Delete, as well as how you can recover them if it’s been a little while since you deleted them.


How to get deleted photos back on iPhone 

Anytime you delete a picture from the Photos app on your iPhone, it automatically goes into a Recently Deleted folder for 30 days. This acts as a sort of safety net, so if you’re cleaning up unwanted photos, but then accidentally delete a picture you want to keep, you can still find it in this folder and recover it. However, after 30 days, images are permanently deleted to free up space on your phone.

If you’re worried about losing important photos when you clean up your library, give Gemini Photos a try. You can clear unwanted similar shots and keep your valuable photos safe by adding them to the ignore list. 

Download on the App Store

How to find and retrieve deleted photos on iPhone

As we said above, you can recover deleted photos on your iPhone within 30 days. Here’s how to do that.

  1. In the Photos app on your iPhone, tap Albums at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Scroll down and tap Recently Deleted.
  3. Tap on the picture you want to save.
  4. Tap Recover.
Screenshots: How to recover iPhone photos from Recently Deleted

Can I recover permanently deleted photos from my iPhone?

If it’s been over 30 days and the pictures you’re hoping to recover have already been permanently deleted, don’t worry, all hope is not lost. If you have a backup of your iPhone either in iTunes or in iCloud, then you can restore your phone. 

Or, if your iPhone was signed out of iCloud or iCloud Photos was turned off when you deleted the pictures, then you might be able to recover them from the cloud.

How to recover permanently deleted photos from an iTunes backup

If you have a backup of your iPhone in iTunes, you can restore your photos using that. However, you should keep in mind that it will restore your entire phone, not just your pictures. That means anything that appeared since that last backup, like new photos or notes, won’t be there anymore. 

If you’re willing to sacrifice your more recent photos, here’s how to restore your deleted pictures from an iTunes backup: 

  1. Plug your iPhone into your computer with a USB cable.
  2. Open iTunes.
  3. Click on the iPhone in the top left-hand corner.
  4. Choose Summary from the menu on the left.
  5. Click Restore Backup.

How to restore deleted photos from iCloud

Similarly to restoring from an iTunes backup, you can restore your entire iPhone from an iCloud backup. Just follow the steps below.

  1. On your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
  2. Tap Reset. After a few minutes, your iPhone will reboot.
  3. Tap through the setup screens.
  4. When prompted to restore your iPhone, choose iCloud backup.
  5. Select the most recent backup.

If you were not logged into iCloud on your iPhone when you were deleting pictures, and haven’t logged in since, then there’s a chance the deleted photos are still in your iCloud. The easiest way to check and recover them is from a computer.

  1. Open the browser on your computer and go to iCloud.com.
  2. Sign in with your iCloud account.
  3. Click on Photos.
  4. Search for the photos you deleted from your phone.
Screenshot: How to retrieve deleted iPhone photos from iCloud

Once you find the photos you need, you can download them and then transfer them to your phone by AirDrop, email, or a text message.


Finally getting around to cleaning up your iPhone photo library can feel satisfying. But if you’ve accidentally deleted one or two photos you want to keep, hopefully this article has helped get those pictures back for you. Even if it has been a little while since you deleted them and you’re only just now realizing it.

Gemini Photos
Too many iPhone photos?

Gemini Photos: Keep just the good ones