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How to Recover Deleted Photos and Videos from iPhone or iPad in Seven Easy Ways

difficulty : light

steps : up to 7

Needed time : 5 - 20 minutes

How does this guide help you?

In this guide, you will find seven different methods to recover photos or videos saved on an iOS device, such as: B. an iPhone or iPad.

We started with the simplest (and most free!) Approaches to save you time.

If you're a customer you can always reach out to our support team to guide you through the process!

Of course, you don't have to be a customer to use this guide. The free version of iPhone Backup Extractor can help you determine if your data is there and, in many cases, restore it.

Seven Different Methods to Recover Photos and Videos from iOS

Apple devices sync their data in a number of ways. This offers us various methods to recover lost photos and videos. Here are seven methods we can use to find missing content.

  1. Check the last folder on your iPhone or iPad
  2. Check for unsynchronized deletions on your other devices
  3. Find your missing photo or video in an iTunes backup
  4. Check your messages for attachments
  5. Restore the photo or video from an iCloud backup
  6. Download your photos from Photo Stream or iCloud Photo
  7. Request forensic recovery from Reincubate

Option 1. Recover deleted photos and videos in the folder "" on your iPhone or iPad

Here is the easiest way to get back your photos and videos after deletion. If photos are deleted on iOS, they will be displayed in the album and in the app for about 30 days.

  • Step 1. Open the app on your device.

  • Step 2. Scroll to the bottom of the app to find the section and select the folder.

  • Step 3. If your file is here, then congratulations: click the file, click at the bottom right of the screen and we're done. If not, read on.

There are cases where content that has been purged from the Photos app is still forensically available to the Reincubate support team via the iCloud. The manual forensic recovery section below has more details on photo recovery, but while we love helping our users personally, it's worth working through the rest of this guide to see if you can help yourself first. ☺️

Option 2. How to find deleted photos and videos on your other devices using iCloud Photo Library

You can use this step if you have more than one device in your iCloud account, for example:

  • iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch devices
  • MacOS devices such as MacBook, MacBook Pro, or iMac
  • Windows computers with iTunes and the iCloud component installed and signed in

If you don’t have another device from the list above, then you can use iPhone Backup Extractor to check your backups. We cover this in Options 3 - 6, below.

You also need to use iCloud Photo Library. If you don't know if you're using it, it is likely because it will ask you to activate it when you set it up on a new iPhone. Here's how this method works: When the photos on an iPad or iPhone without a data connection or in airplane mode deleted the other devices will not be informed of the deletion. Leave the device unconnected and restore the contents from another device in the account.

Devices can use iCloud Photo Library in two modes: "Download and Keep Originals", or "Optimize iPhone Storage". The former mode is most helpful to us here, and devices in this state provide the most potential for recovery.

If the photo was deleted on an iPhone with a data connection (which is most likely), other devices associated with this iCloud account but offline or are turned off, you have not completed the deletion. For example, if you delete a photo so that it is in "" for 30 days, its contents will not be deleted from that device as long as it remains offline.

If you have a device that is turned off and the photo deletion may not have synced, you'll need to turn it on without it going online. Most often, an iOS device comes online when it is switched on. How can we prevent this?

There are a few tricks you can use to keep an iOS device from going online when you turn it on. If your device has a SIM card, make sure it has been removed. If your device connects to a wireless network when you turn it on, make sure that you are out of range or that the access point is turned off. Take these precautions, turn them on and review them.

If these options aren’t possible, it will be necessary to take the device into what is known as a Faraday cage, or to purchase a Faraday bag in which the device can be sealed and operated. These techniques are likely only suitable for more advanced users, however. ⚡️

Option 3. How to Recover Deleted Photos and Videos from iPhone or iPad Backup

Don’t connect your iPhone to your computer just yet: we don’t want to risk a new backup being created, as that would overwrite an older backup which may contain your photos!

If the first two approaches didn't work, don't worry. If you use Apple's iTunes software, your device will be backed up when you plug it in or sync it over Wi-Fi. Both Windows PCs and Macs with macOS 10.14 or earlier can run iTunes. If you're using macOS 10.15 or later, iTunes won't be available. However, you can use Finder to make backup copies.

Follow these steps to restore photos and videos from iTunes backup:

  • Step 1. Download and install the free version of iPhone Backup Extractor on your PC or Mac. Don't worry, we're not trying to push you into anything. We love when people buy our software, but our free edition has no ads or crappy software packages and it has everything you need to check your backups without spending a dime.

  • Step 2. the iPhone Backup Extractor and select your device in the left column under. You may be asked for an iTunes backup password at this point. Check out our article on How to Recover Lost iTunes Backup Password If You Lost Your Password.

  • Step 3. Click at the top of the screen. Scroll through the files in to find the photo or video that you want to restore.

  • Step 4. When you find the file (or files), you can use the free version to restore up to 4 files at a time. In the lower right, click. Click on your files will be extracted in the pop-up.

If you have manually moved your iOS backups from the default backup location, you can tell iPhone Backup Extractor about your alternate backup locations by clicking the button in the bottom left of the window. That will open the preferences pane, where you can add another backup search path.?

For privacy reasons, iPhone Backup Extractor will only display backups made by the currently logged in user on the computer. If someone else on their PC or Mac has synced iTunes with their iPhone or iPad, ask them to sign in and install our software.

If you're interested in the technical reason why some apps must store your data in their backups, we've published an article on the decisions and trade-offs that app authors must make. ? ‍?

Option 4. Recover Deleted Photos and Videos from iMessages, SMS and WhatsApp Messages

Could you have sent or received the files through an app like iMessage or WhatsApp? In this case, we may still be able to restore the photo or video from the app's data for free.

The best way to check for message attachments in iMessage or third-party apps is by using iPhone Backup Extractor. You can use this with your local iTunes backup or with an iCloud backup (see steps to download in option 5). Here's how to find the missing file using an iTunes backup.

  • Step 1. After iPhone Backup Extractor loads, select a backup from the left navigation bar and click to activate the tab.

  • Step 2. Look at the list of the most popular apps to check their contents. When you find the file you are looking for, select and.

    If the app you are looking for is not in the preview list, you can use the app view. This will list every app that was installed at the time of the backup and provide a way to extract only that app's files that were backed up.

  • Step 3. Click the tab and then select the relevant app or apps. You can extract your data by selecting Extract.

  • Step 4. If you are not guided to the photos in or in the, try the expert mode last. This can be activated by selecting the tab. Here you will find a list of all files contained in the backup, which are divided into folders to represent the structure of the iPhone. Most often, apps save their data in the folders and.

We have published a separate article on understanding expert mode, and where and how apps store their files. Check it out!

Once you've browsed your app's folder in expert mode, you can drag the files you want to restore from the iPhone Backup Extractor window to your desktop or a folder of your choice.

But what if you don't have a local iTunes backup available and you don't see any backups? This is where iCloud comes in ...

Option 5.Recover Deleted Photos and Videos from iCloud Backup

If you have iCloud backups, you can easily access this data using iPhone Backup Extractor. How to access your iCloud backups through our software:

  • Step 1. Click Sign in iPhone Backup Extractor at the top of the screen and enter your iCloud details.

  • Step 2. Under, click the name of your iCloud account.

  • Step 3. Click at the top of the screen. Scroll through the files in to find the photo or video that you want to restore.

  • Step 4. When you find the files you want to restore, click in the lower right corner. Click on your files will be extracted in the pop-up.

Option 6. Recover deleted photos and videos by downloading photos from Apple Photo Stream or iCloud Photo Library

It is also possible to recover deleted photos from iCloud even if they are not in iCloud or iTunes backups. To do this, you need to look in Apple's Photo Stream data for your account and in the iCloud Photo Library. Photo stream and photo library can contain different photos, so it's important to double-check both.

Again, you can use iPhone Backup Extractor to download images from any source. You have to use the paid edition for this.

  • Step 1. Sign into your iCloud account through iPhone Backup Extractor.

  • Step 2. In the left pane under, click your iCloud account.

  • Step 3. Here you can select and and the files.

Option 7. Recover deleted photos and videos with forensic photo recovery by Reincubate's support team

If the previous techniques didn't get you to your file, all is not lost. We don't share too many details about the magic we use here, but we have a number of tricks that we can use for you. ‍♂️ Contact the support team and let us know what you've tried so far.

Reincubate's iPhone Backup Extractor is based on a technology that we call Designate Ricloud API . That way we can do some pretty advanced things that are unique to Reincubate. In some cases we can use it to restore photos from the iCloud Photo Library, even if they were deleted from the Photos app after 30 days, or we can pull the photo in question from a “partial snapshot” that contains data older than your iCloud backup . If your data was stored on an unencrypted hard drive, there may be potential for hard drive recovery.


IPhone Backup Extractor can be run on any Mac (10.11+) or PC (Windows 7 SP1 or newer).

Supports any iOS device

iPhone 12, 12 Pro Max. Everything older, including iPad and iPod Touch.

Supports every iOS & beta

iOS 14 and 13 and all previous versions. We started with iOS 1.

No recovery drama

We supported encrypted backups, iCloud, and 2FA first. Damaged backups too!

Ready to test it out with your iPhone or iPad?

See what iPhone Backup Extractor can do for you.

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