How to Recover Permanently Deleted Photos on iPhone

Reading time: 12 min read
Dejan Cvetnarevic
Written by
Dejan Cvetnarevic

Updated · Aug 01, 2023

Dejan Cvetnarevic
Content Writer | Joined October 2021 | LinkedIn
Dejan Cvetnarevic

With a degree in English Language and Literature and immense love for tech, Dejan's unique blend of ... | See full bio

Edited by


Joined November 2021
Alex Tray
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Alex Tray


Alex Tray
NAKIVO Backup & Replication | Joined July 2023 | LinkedIn
Alex Tray

Alex Tray is a highly experienced IT professional with a decade of expertise as a system administrat... | See full bio

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Imagine wanting to upload a favorite selfie and realizing that you’ve deleted it. The horror!

What’s running through your mind? Most likely, you’re scrambling to figure out a way to retrieve the deleted picture. 

No worries, we've got this covered! 

Read on to learn how to recover permanently deleted photos on your iPhone.

This article will inform you on how to: 

  • Recover Photos Without Backup via FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery
  • Retrieve deleted images from the Recently Deleted folder of your phone.
  • Restore deleted iPhone photos from iTunes and iCloud backups.
  • Retrieve permanently deleted pictures using Mac Finder and Data Recovery software.

Let’s get into it.

Recover Photos Without Backup via FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery

You may not always remember to back up your phone data, but it's okay. As long as you have a reliable iPhone data recovery tool, you can still retrieve deleted photos even if you haven't backed them up in time. However, it's important to remember that the sooner you use data recovery software, the better it is. Because this can prevent the deleted photo data from being overwritten by new data on your iPhone. And for your convenience, here is a highly sought-after recommendation.

FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery, compatible with Windows and Mac, is the helpful recommended tool you can count on. This industry-leading software performs the best at depth scanning, which can assist you to retrieve deleted picture data from your iPhone storage to the greatest extent possible. Besides, thanks to its intuitive design, simple clicks can make photos retrieved to your computer safe and sound. Better yet, it is convenient to pick deleted photos with the help of a preview view.

Without further ado, you can refer to the 3 methods below to access deleted photos on your iPhone without backup via FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery.

Method 1. Recover Deleted Photos from iPhone

  • Install and launch FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery on your computer.
  • Then connect your iPhone to the computer.
  • Choose "Recover from iOS Device", tap "Start Scan", and the program will automatically help you find deleted photos on your iPhone.
  • When scanning is finished, you can see deleted photos with red names.
  • Preview them and choose some you want to recover.
  • Click the "Recover" button in the bottom right corner and set up the recovery path on your computer.
  • And finally, the deleted photos will be exported to your computer.

Method 2. Recover Deleted Photos from iCloud

If you have turned on the iCloud sync feature all the time, your deleted photos will be stored on the cloud server automatically. Thus, you can also try to recover deleted photos with the iCloud feature on FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery as follows.

  • Launch FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery on your computer.
  • Link up your iPhone and computer.
  • Select the "Recover from iCloud" tab and you need to enter your Apple ID and password.
  • If you enabled Two-factor Authentication, you should enter a 6-digit code to access your iCloud data.
  • Now you can tick on the "Photo" option and start to scan iCloud data.
  • Preview the photos you want to retrieve.
  • Click "Recover" to bring them back to your computer.

Method 3. Recover Deleted Photos from iTunes

To meet different demands, FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery provides you with iTunes backup recovery. If you have recently made a backup using iTunes before mistakenly deleting your photos, you can try to recover them from iTunes on FonePaw. And the specific steps are as follows.

  • Use the computer where you made the most recent iTunes backup.
  • Launch FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery on this computer.
  • Select the "Recover from iTunes Backup File" option. Then the latest iTunes backup file will be shown.
  • Choose the file and click "Recover" in the bottom right corner.
  • Under the "Media" section, you can choose "Camera Roll", "Photo Stream", and "Photo Library" to preview the deleted photos.
  • Choose the photos you want to bring back and they will be recovered to your computer.

Recently Deleted Photos

Deleted images from your camera’s roll remain in the photo app’s Recently Deleted folder for 30 days. After this period expires, your pictures delete from this folder. 

This folder is the first place to look for accidentally deleted pictures on your iPhone. If still within the 30-day time frame, you can quickly restore the images following these steps:

  • Open your iPhone's picture app.
  • Open Albums.
  • Scroll down till you find the Recently Deleted folder.
  • Click on the Select icon at the top right corner of the screen.
  • Select the pics you want to recover.
  • Click Recover after making your selection. 
  • Click Recover Photo to confirm your action.

You will see your selected ones restored to your picture library like they were never lost. Easy, right?

But what if you accidentally delete pictures from the Recently Deleted folder? This often happens when trying to free up your phone’s memory. Are the images gone now?

Possibly another moment for panicking, but fortunately, there are additional ways on how to recover deleted photos from an iPhone

Recover from Backups 

Backing up data is always prudent for ensuring files and pics are never lost. Let’s explore two handy backup methods when trying to recover permanently deleted photos on your iPhone.

iTunes Backups

There are two ways to recover deleted pictures using iTunes as a backup.

Recovery through iTunes using iPhone Restore 

Your first option uses your backup data stored on iTunes to replace existing data on your phone. And though you’ll get your deleted photos back, iPhone Restore doesn’t allow for image or file selection. So you receive all stored data. Also disagreeable is the high chance of losing existing phone data. In a pinch, you may as well give it a try.

When restoring deleted pictures on your iPhone using iTunes’s iPhone Restore, follow these simple steps:  

  • Connect your iPhone to your PC or Macbook.
  • Open the iTunes app.
  • Select your iPhone by clicking on Device.
  • Choose the Summary option. It will be at the top left corner of your screen.
  • Navigate to Backups and select Restore Backup.
  • Select the most recent backup or a backup that contains the pics you’re seeking.
  • Click on Restore.
  • Upon completion, all the data on the backup file is available on your phone, and you can disconnect from the PC.

Don’t forget you may lose some of the existing data on your iPhone when using the iPhone Restore recovery method. However, if you’re confident that the backup version you intend to restore has everything necessary, then you’re all set to go.

Recovery through iTunes using a third-party iPhone recovery app

The second iTunes backup option uses a third-party app. While it requires a few additional steps, it too, gets the job done. We selected PhoneRescue to demonstrate how to recover your pictures for this write-up.   

Recovering recently deleted pictures on your iPhone using this method is preferable to the first option. This is because you can select the images you want to recover from your iTunes backup. Only these restore. Nothing more. And best of all, you will not suffer any data loss.

Here’s how to get back recently deleted photos from iTunes using PhoneRescue:

  • Install PhoneRescue for iOS on your computer.
  • Connect your phone to your computer.
  • Select your device.
  • In the Data Recovery section, select Recover from Backup. This will pick up your iTunes backup.
  • Click the Next icon. You will find it at the bottom right corner of the screen, represented by an arrow.
  • PhoneRescue will pick up all iTunes backups and load them.
  • It prompts you to select an iTunes Backup. Using the backup’s date of creation as a guide, choose accordingly.
  • It then presents you with Compare and Only Scan Backup options.
  • Click on Only Scan Backup. This will display all the data in the backup.
  • Check the box near Photos. All images in the backup will appear.
  • Click on the desired pics.
  • At the bottom right corner of the screen, you will find two icons that give restore options to a device or computer.
  • Select the icon - Restore to Device.
  • When PhoneRescue completes this process, all lost photos on your iPhone will be back, and no data will be missing. 
  • Disconnect it from the PC.

iCloud Backups

With iCloud backup, there are two ways on how to recover deleted photos from an iPhone. You can recover your images directly from your phone or through a third-party recovery tool like PhoneRescue. 

The first method requires device formatting, followed by data recovery with iCloud backup through your phone’s settings. This results in losing all current data on your device, replaced with restored data. As such, some data may go missing. This is especially possible if restoring an iCloud backup that doesn’t have all current data.

The second method utilizes a third-party app to find deleted photos from your iPhone and restore pictures without losing any data.

This type of restore is only possible with a synched iCloud account.

iCloud Backup Recovery through iPhone settings

Before restoring the phone’s memory, you must first erase all its current data by following these easy steps.

  • Navigate to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  • Select Erase All Content and Settings to format phone memory.
  • Your newly formatted phone requires set-up. Follow the onscreen instructions till you get to Apps and Data.
  • Choose Restore from iCloud Backup.
  • From here, you must sign in to iCloud with your Apple ID.
  • Select Choose Backup and pick the backup option you wish to restore.

Hint - use a strong and stable WiFi connection for the process.

iCloud Backup Recovery through a Third-party App

We selected PhoneRescue as the third-party app to exemplify this process.  

  • Install PhoneRescue on your computer.
  • PhoneRescue will automatically detect your phone upon connecting your iPhone to the computer. 
  • Click on Recover from iCloud.
  • Log in with your Apple ID.
  • Select iCloud Backup from the options.
  • Choose the backup version you want to recover your iPhone photos from - using the creation date as a guide.
  • Select Download.
  • When the download completes, click the arrow to proceed. 
  • Select Only Scan Backup.
  • Under Media Data, check the Photos box.
  • Choose the pictures you want to restore.
  • Click on the phone icon at the bottom right corner of the screen to restore images to your iPhone.

Thankfully, PhoneRescue is compatible with all iPhone models.

How to Recover Permanently Deleted Photos on an iPhone

While the already discussed recovery methods should support most iPhone users, what can you do if a deleted pic is no longer in the Recently Deleted folder and you don't have iTunes or iCloud backup?

Fortunately, there are a few other recovery tricks to share with you.

Mac Finder

If you own a Macbook, it’s good practice to back up your iPhone on it. By doing so, you can easily access deleted photos on your iPhone using Mac Finder.

Follow these steps to find your lost memories.

  • Connect your iPhone to your Mac.
  • Click the Finder icon in the taskbar.
  • Select iPhone when Finder loads up. On the same screen, also select Restore Backup.
  • After following these steps, choose the desired backup by clicking Restore.  

Once the process is complete, you will get back all your deleted iPhone photos available on the selected version.  

Data Recovery Software

Even after deleting a picture from your phone and its grace period ends within your Recently Deleted folder, it’s still in your phone’s memory. You just need the right tool to access it. 

This is where data recovery software comes into play to sniff out deleted files on your iPhone. It even includes pics that have no backup. After locating these files, data recovery software can restore them to their original location. 

There are several choices of data recovery software on the market that are effective and easy to use. Some of these options include PhoneRescue, Disk Drill, and Easus MobiSaver.

Let’s take a look at how PhoneRescue restores deleted pictures on an iPhone without backup:

  • Install PhoneRescue on your computer.
  • Connect your iPhone to your computer and allow the auto scan of your device to finish. 
  • Choose Recover from iOS Device options.
  • Select the type of data you want to recover - click Photos.
  • All pics will be displayed, including the deleted ones. Select all you want to restore.
  • Click the Restore to Device option. 

This simple process will restore all your permanently deleted images to your gallery.

Avoiding Loss of iPhone Photos

Can you get deleted photos back on an iPhone? We have given numerous tips to achieve this. However, the best practice is not to lose your pictures in the first place.

Here are a few preventative measures that can go a long way in securing your photographic memories. 

iPhone Backups

iCloud backups, iTunes backups, and Mac backups are proven measures towards protecting your images as an iPhone user. They are reliable, and if anything happens to your device, you can always find your pics there. 

As such, it’s best to sync your device to iCloud. This is especially helpful if your phone is damaged beyond repair or lost. And if by chance, you accidentally deleted photos on your iPhone, these backups will serve you well.

Third-party Services

It is never a bad idea to take extra measures to protect your precious memories. This rings true for individuals using their iPhones to create picture and video content for online production. Fortunately, numerous reliable and efficient iPhone-compatible third-party backup apps can provide this additional security. 

Clearing Out Phone Junk

Why do you lose images on your phone? For many people, it’s because they are trying to create space on their devices and accidentally delete pictures.   

Does this sound familiar?

Instead of deleting images in a hurry, a better method is to clear out junk files on your device. Consider also clearing app caches. To make the process easier, third-party space cleaning apps are available for download on the app store. 

Wrap Up 

We explored numerous ways to get back deleted iPhone photos. Even ones considered permanently lost. As such, you should feel confident in identifying the best option to restore images considered long gone.  


Are permanently deleted photos gone forever from an iPhone?

No, they are not. When you delete a picture from your phone, it exists in an inaccessible format on your device. So even without a backup, you can use a third-party recovery app to access and restore the deleted image.

How can I recover permanently deleted photos from my iPhone without backup?

If you have not backed up a picture and it’s lost, recovery software like PhoneRescue, Disk Drill, and Easus MobiSaver can restore it on your device. 

Where do deleted photos go on an iPhone?

When you delete an image from your iPhone, it goes to the Recently Deleted folder in your device’s picture app. It remains there for 30 days before being permanently deleted. Within this time frame, you can restore the pic from this folder.

For more information, check out this detailed guide on how to recover permanently deleted photos on an iPhone. 



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