How to recover deleted photos on iPhone and iPad

What’s done is done, right? Well, not always. While some actions have irreversible consequences, deleting your photos on iPhone or iPad thankfully does not have to be one of them. Provided you’re quick enough, recovering any of your photos deleted by accident or mistake is a breeze, so long as you know where to look.

If you have found yourself in the unenviable situation of rifling through your photos before, frantically trying to suss out whether or not you have off-handedly binned important photos, this tutorial could be a valuable lesson for you!

For the uninitiated, your iPhone’s handling of photo deletions is not all too dissimilar from deleting any file on your Mac. In essence, both platforms offer a temporary repository for the material deleted. The key difference is that on Mac we call it the Trash folder, whereas on iOS it comes in the shape of a smart album tucked away in Photos. The album is called ‘Recently Deleted’ and is your best shot at recovering deleted shots. Find out below how to recover deleted photos from your iPhone or iPad and all the other bits and bobs you need to know about the process.

How to recover deleted photos on iPhone

1) Open Photos on your Home screen.

2) Switch to the Albums tab in the bottom right corner of the menu.

Albums tab in Photos app

3) Next, you want to scroll to the end of the first grid of Album icons to find the square shaped trash icon, which should sit right above your own ‘My Album’ tab. Tap ‘Recently Deleted’.

Recently deleted photos album

4) You have now entered the rabbit hole. This smart album stores deleted photos for a final grace period of 30 days post disposal. It arranges the deleted photos in descending order, starting with the most recent deletions and ending with those whose time on your device is almost up.

Recently deleted photos

5) Once you have tracked down the photos you mistakenly deleted, there are two ways to go about recovery:

  • Either tap a single photo followed by Recover in the bottom right corner

recover deleted photos on iPhone or ipad

  • Or touch Select first (top right corner) if you want to restore multiple photos, mark all photos and subsequently find Recover, again in the bottom right corner.

Recover multiple deleted photos

6) Confirm a final time by selecting Recover Photo/Recover Items in red letters when prompted.

recover deleted photos on iPhone

Congrats, you have successfully bailed out your snapshots! They will now reappear in your Camera Roll and slot right back in where they belonged time-wise.

Naturally, this sort of photo recovery only shakes out when the items you are after have been deleted less than a month ago, so keep an eye on that. Incidentally, this is also your go-to folder if you are serious about purging your device from unwanted storage-grabbers. In other words, if you are on a deleting spree, always be aware that your photos and videos will not be fully wiped off the device before the 30 day grace period has lapsed. If you don’t fancy waiting that long and want to take matters into your hands, simply manually delete the smart album contents.