How to recover deleted photos on iPhone and iPad

By , Apr 11, 2016

iOS 9 How to undelete photos iPhone screenshot 002

Deleting photos and videos you no longer need is one of the most effective techniques for freeing up storage space on mobile devices. Apple, in its wisdom, gives you the tools to recover your deleted photographs and video content from the stock Photos app.

The process is easier than you might think and our quick step-by-step tutorial will teach you to recover your recently deleted photos and videos like a pro.

The photos and videos which you delete from your iPhone don’t really free up storage because they’re kept in a special album within Photos for 30 days. The important thing to keep in mind here is that you can only recover deleted photos and videos from your devices before the 30-day time period is up, after which they are gone forever.

If you use iCloud Photo Library, you can restore photos and videos for 30 days before they’re removed from iCloud and your devices set up with iCloud Photo Library. If iCloud Photo Library is not on, any previously deleted photos are permanently removed from that particular device only—again, after the number of days shown in the Photos app has elapsed.

How to undelete photos on iPhone and iPad

1) Launch Photos on your device.

2) Tap Albums at the bottom.

3) In the album list, find the Recently Deleted album and tap it to access its contents.

4) Your deleted photos and videos stay in there for 30 days before they’re permanently deleted. To undelete multiple photos, tap the Edit button, select the photos you’d like to recover and then hit Recover.

iOS 9 How to undelete photos iPhone screenshot 001

5) Tap Recover Photo or Recover Video in the pop-up sheet to confirm action.

To undelete a single item, tap a photo or video in the Recently Deleted album to open it, then hit the Recover button.

Recovering everything in Recently Deleted album

To recover each and every photo and video in your Recently Deleted album, tap Edit but don’t select any photos. Instead, there’s the Recover All button that you can tap to get all the previously deleted photos and videos in this album back to your Camera roll.

Recovering deletes items from iCloud Photo Library

If iCloud Photo Library is on, your undeleted items go back into appropriate places inside the All Photos album on all devices that use iCloud Photo Library.

To those who don’t use iCloud Photo Library: don’t worry, your deleted photos and videos won’t be included in your iCloud backup. Again, every photo or video inside the Recently Deleted album is gone for good after 30 days have passed on every device set up for iCloud Photo Library.

Undeleting synced photos

Photos and videos synced from iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC can be deleted from your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad just like any other item in the Photos app.

To get these photos back, you must re-sync them.

Connect your iOS device with a USB cable to the computer and launch desktop iTunes. In the Photos tab in iTunes, click the box next to Sync Photos From and then choose the original folder for synced images and photos in the pop-up menu.

Apply the change and any photos or videos that were synced from that folder through iTunes will now be put back on your device.

Flushing the Recently Deleted album

Deleting an item in Photos stores it into the Recently Deleted album for 30 days before it’s gone for good. Therefore, if you wonder why you’re still running low on storage after deleting a bunch of photos and videos, that’s because any deleted items still take up storage space on your device until they’re automatically removed after 30 days.

You can permanently delete one or more items from the Recently Deleted album before 30 days have passed: simply select them and tap Delete. To wipe clean everything inside the Recently Deleted album in one fell swoop, first tap Edit and then the hit the handy Delete All button.

This shall immediately free up the storage space taken up by your deleted photos and albums, but proceed with caution as you won’t be able to bring them back anymore.

And the last tip before we sign off: in iOS 9.0 or later, you can tap, hold and slide in Photos to select multiple images and videos in a single swipe.

Got stuck? Ask iDB!

Not sure how to do something on your Apple TV or other Apple devices? Let us know at and our future tutorials might cover your specific problem and hopefully provide a solution.

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  • Chelu

    This blog start to be boring!

    • craig

      theres always people coming from other mobile brands to apple which find these blogs helpful and save them time and effort, so in stead of giving useless criticism why not support the fact Christian has took the time to write this and help others……

      • Chelu

        And you are wasting my time, I follow this blog for years and if is criticism is constructive and this is my opinion! I bet that they have a decrease in visitors!

      • craig

        oh i see, so if your a dedicated follower of the blog, instead of saying something so pathetic why not praise the blogger for their work and add to the comment about what you would like to see more of instead of your well written opinion of “This blog start to be boring” which what you should have said was “This blog is starting to get less interesting”?

  • Chelu

    Tough love my friend, tough love!

    • craig


  • Robert

    why didn’t you recommend some 3rd-party iPhone data recovery tools in this tutorial? Just want to recommend one for you 🙂

    • nealhen

      Like Wondershare and FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery? You don’t need them when you can find the photos in the recently deleted album. However, you can only recover photos and videos there. If you want to recover some deleted contacts, songs, messages etc on iPhone/iPad, then you need the 3rd party tools.

    • moe

      do you know any good software that can do that and its guarantee , i want the software to show me the pic before i buy it so i’m sure i can get my photo back

  • moe

    hey , i did an update to ios 10 then i didn’t like it after that i did a downgrade and i did a backup before the update and after then another backup after the downgrade , the only issue i have is that i lost all my photo and couldn’t get anyone back i still have all three backups in icloud , talked to apple and after an hour of trying everything they can think of , the only option i’m left with is a software that do a data recovery and they say its not 100% guaranteed so i know a lot about phones but can anyone help me telling me about the best recovery software that is guarantee it works or at least have a trail to see the files before buying the software ??