Kim Barloso

How to recover deleted photos and videos on your iPhone


In this guide, I will tell you how to recover deleted photos on your iPhone, return videos, sms and contacts. It can be not only numbers, contacts, travel photos, but also important passwords from iTunes accounts, iStore, messages and other information deleted from iPhone.

For quality iPhone recovery, you need Mac OS and iOS phone. We will take a look at some effective methods to recover from iPhone device by scanning the memory card or internal memory of apple gadget. Some methods of data recovery on iPhone will require obligatory application of recovery software (we will also talk about them), other methods are very simple and even primitive: you just have to search for the lost information in the right folder on your iPhone.

We should, however, note that there is no 100% guarantee that the described methods of iPhone photo and video recovery will work in your situation. However, it is at least an attempt to solve the problem on your own and for free, without the help of external recovery specialists.

Best photo recovery software for iPhone and iOS

There is not as much software for iPhone as there is for desktop operating systems like Windows and Mac OS. Nevertheless, in this review, I want to mention a few quality programs which are often mentioned in articles. Therefore let us look at the utilities for Mac OS (functionality and specific use):

  1. SmartPhone Recovery PRO
  2. Coolmuster Data Recovery
  3. iPhone contacts recovery

1 SmartPhone Recovery PRO for Mac helps to recover deleted photos on iPhone

Manufacturer Enigma Recovery (Infinity Wireless Ltd.)
Supported OS iOS/Android

The program SmartPhone Recovery PRO by the developer Enigma Recovery is good for its compatibility with popular gadgets iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The utility works in Mac OS X environment (tested on OS X El Capitan) as well as in Windows. You can try out SmartPhone Recovery for free in the trial version, which allows you to locate deleted contacts and SMS messages on your phone without the help of iTunes. After scanning the drive or RAM, you can see the search results on your iPhone. However, it is quite difficult to recover messages and some of your contacts due to the limitations of the trial version of the product.

The following data types are supported:

  • Messages (including deleted sms, iMessages)
  • Contacts
  • Call history
  • Notes and calendar data iCalendar
  • Photo and video (only if using iOS 8 or above)

Application SmartPhone Recovery PRO for Mac OS

Download Application

2 Coolmuster Data Recovery

Full name of the utility Coolmuster Data Recovery
Developer Coolmuster Studio.
Price for pro-version 39.95 $
Supported Operating Systems Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X 10.6 - 10.10

This small utility from Coolmuster has only recently entered the software market. CM Recovery can recover contacts, photos, messages on the iPhone, iPad and iPod - in general, on all devices where iOS is installed. However, the best way to work with the program is to recover iPhone version 4 or 5. The utility is quite standalone and does not require tethering to iTunes.

Select Files to Recover and Preview

Select the Disk to Scan on Mac OS X

The Coolmuster Data Recovery

Download Coolmuster Data Recovery

3 iPhone data recovery

Producer Wondershare
Supported OS Mac OS X 10.6-10.11 etc.

The iPhone contacts recovery application requires synchronization with the problematic iOS device

The iPhone contacts recovery program helps you recover iPhone contacts from iTunes backup, whether you use iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5s, 5c, 5, 4S, 4 or iPhone 3GS, or "irretrievably" lost contacts on your iPhone.

The application can optimize iPhone 4 and above

In general, the specificity of the application is not only the recovery of the contacts themselves. The main features of Contacts recovery are as follows:

  • Restoring from your iOS device
  • From iTunes backup file
  • iCloud backup file
  • Restoring iOS to its normal state

Instruction: restoring iPhone contacts from iTunes backup

Step 1. Scan backup file with contacts and messages

Note: To prevent overwriting the backup /files over the current iPhone contacts, please do not connect or sync with iTunes after you have lost your contacts or deleted text messages on your iPhone.

If you have ever synced different iDevices with iTunes before, you will be given the choice of more than one backup file after clicking the "Restore from iTunes backup" button. Select one for the /files you need (contacts, texts, photos, or other items) and click the "Start Scanning" button.

Step 2: Restore Contacts from iPhone

Scanning for deleted contacts, SMS messages may take a few seconds. You can view the contents of the backup file made by iTunes in detail. Data presented in the result of scanning is available in a clear, organized order and in its original quality (especially important for deleted photos and other multimedia /files). You may view all the data in the result of the scan - with the exception of video /files.

In order to restore contacts, check the "Contacts" box and click the "Recover" button. The same applies to recovering SMS messages. After that you will successfully save the contents of the backup to your computer. If needed, you can also mark messages, photos, notes and other data to recover them as well.

In the scan results you can see existing and deleted SMS, photos, contacts from your iPhone in the backup file - all shown in different colors. You can separate the deleted and existing data by clicking the "Show Deleted Data Only" button.

Part 2: How to Recover Deleted SMS on iPhone

Step 1: Run the program and connect your iPhone to your computer

After downloading and installing the program, launch it on your computer. Connect your iPhone to it.

  • With iPhone 6/6 Plus/5S/5C/5/4S device owners, you may click the "Start Scanning" button directly to search for deleted sms.
  • Users of iPhone 4/3GS must select "Advanced Mode" in the corner of the window to enter advanced sms and contacts scan options.

Step 2. Select iPhone scan mode start the process

  • In iPhone 6/6 Plus/5S/5C/5/4S you should press the "Start Scan" button to directly scan your iPhone for deleted /files on it.
  • Iphone 4/3GS owners should follow the steps below to put the phone into scan mode:

  • Power on the device and press the "Start" button.

  • Press "Power" and "Home" Button simultaneously for 10 seconds;
  • Remove "Power" Button after 10 seconds while continuing to hold "Home" Button for further 15 seconds until you receive the message of the successful entry.

Depending on your iPhone model, the program will automatically begin scanning your phone for lost contacts, sms, /files after you complete the above steps.

Step 3. Preview and recover deleted iPhone contacts/messages

You may preview all found messages and contacts before recovering after scanning. Select the contacts to preview, then check the ones you would like to review and click "Recover" button to save the messages and contacts to your computer.


I hope you have learned from this guide how to recover your particular model iPhone. Maybe later I will tell you how to recover iPhone 4/5/6 from icloud including messages, contacts, photos.In any case, I advise you to try three recovery software on your own: SmartPhone Recovery PRO, PhotoRec and Coolmuster Data Recovery.

I tried several desktop iPhone recovery apps including Stellar Phoenix Mac Recovery but PhotoRec from CG Security has done the best job. The program is free and multi-platform (there are cross-platform distributions for Mac and Windows). The PhotoRec recovery utility is not difficult to learn, but I will comment on the steps to recover data using this toolkit - so that the whole reanimation process is clear to all readers.

For my tests, I used a MacBook Air computer running the X Yosemite operating system. For Windows I recommend using Recuva, the file recovery tool (Recuva is available for download here - in Russian). This program has an excellent user friendly interface too.

  • Step 1 : Connect your iPhone memory card to the PC via the built-in or external card reader.
  • Step 2 : Start PhotoRec and enter your Mac OS password if needed for authorization and further recovery actions.
  • Step 3 : Using the navigation arrows select the memory card from the list. It may be identified by a letter or as a storage device name. To verify the size of the disk space on it to be sure that the data recovery procedures are performed on the source where it is needed. For example, a Samsung 8GB sd card - in my case. Once you have verified the source you want to recover press Enter.
  • Step 4 : in the next screen, select the option to Read FAT32 by pressing Enter, and select Other, press Enter again.
  • Step 5 . In the next step you will be offered 2 options to choose: Free or All. Select All if you only need to recover deleted /files. However if you are convinced the memory card has been corrupted, select All.
  • Step 6 . At this step, you will be asked to select where you want to save the recovered /files. You can create a new folder on the desktop or save pictures in the Pictures folder, for example. Use the navigation keys to select an option from the list and then press the C key to confirm. PhotoRec will begin the process of recovering the deleted information on the specified media.

Depending on how many /files are stored on the memory card the process of searching for deleted /files can take a certain and very long time. PhotoRec allows you to recover 168 photos from your digital camera memory card, and this operation takes a quarter of an hour. The application provides time to completion, and shows in real time the list, number and types of found /files that have disappeared on the storage source, i.e. the sd memory card.

How to recover photos on iPhone

With the release of iOS 8, Apple developers have made the iPhone photo recovery process more human-like. You need to follow the steps below to get the disappeared, erased /files, back. So, how to recover deleted photos from iPhone?

  • Step 1 . Go to your iPhone Photos app, tap on the album on the bottom bar.
  • Step 2 . Scroll down and tap the Recently Deleted button. As the name implies, here you can find an album or recently deleted photos and videos.
  • Step 3 . Find your missing, erased pictures, photos, images, just click on the individual file and click on Restore on the photo album or Delete if you want to delete the item irretrievably.

The section "Recently Deleted" shows only those photos that have been deleted within the last 30 days. After this period, the information is cleared without trace and it is not possible to restore the pictures on the iPhone.

How to recover iPhone from an iPhone backup file?

If you are looking for photos older than 30 days, you would need to restore your iPhone from old backups using the famous iTunes for Mac OS (you used to back up your iPhone data regularly, right?).

Recover photos on an Android smartphone or tablet

If your OS device has a microSD slot and you've stored photos and videos on the memory card, you'll need a recovery suite like the aforementioned PhotoRec repair app to recover lost photos and other disappeared directories and attachments.

As an option, try the desktop app Tenorshare Data Recovery, which is available for Windows and Mac. The app scans your Android, looks for erased /files on it, and to recover, you only need to perform a few simple steps. Another utility that is quite good at recovering missing data is called Wondershare's Dr. Fone for Android.

So how to use this application?

  • Step 1 . Make sure that you have debugging function enabled on your Android operating system. For Android 5.0, these options can be found under Settings > About phone > Build number. Tap a few times on the firmware version, and the message "You're a developer now!" will appear. Go back to General Settings, select Developer Settings, enable USB debugging. After launching Wondershare's Dr. Fone for Android app, connect your smartphone to your computer via USB, select Multimedia/Mobile Device from the main menu.
  • Step 3 . In the next step, select your device to be scanned for /files (here you navigate to the storage location) and then click Start.
  • Step 4 . Once the scan finishes you can see the /files you can recover through the context menu on the left side of the recovery program. Then by clicking the Recovery button after selecting an item the /files will be saved where you indicate.

I hope at least one of these methods will help you recover lost, erased, deleted information on your iPhone or smartphone. If not.... then you need to turn to professionals who recover data by other methods, but already in laboratory conditions and for a decent money.

How to recover photos on iPhone: answers to readers questions

With avid consistency, photos taken on iPhone 5 stop displaying properly. Either the photo is first blurred when opened and then becomes completely gray with a small strip of the photo itself in the upper left corner, or it is initially already displayed as a gray square in the feed. Sometimes it's just a white background, but very rarely. Also the problem is the lack of a call log, the list of calls and missed calls is always empty. There have been times when taking pictures or using the smartphone, green bars appear. Phone is 5 years old, worked like clockwork until May this year. How can I restore photos or at least save them correctly? Most likely there is an issue with saving photos to the memory card. There are several possible solutions to your problem:

  1. Try using an external memory card to save photos to your iPhone.
  2. Use a different photo app
  3. Upgrade your iPhone to the newest firmware

Hello! I accidentally deleted important photos on my iPhone. Will your program help me to recover my photos? And where do I need to download the program to my phone or laptop?

To recover the /files on your iOS device (iPhone 4, 5, 6), try Coolmuster Data Recovery or SmartPhone Recovery PRO. These programs should be installed on your computer/laptop, i.e. Windows or Mac OS X (the more recommended option to sync with your mobile device).

I wanted to transfer all the photos and videos from the gallery to the cloud for file storage, but without completing the download, I cleared the gallery. Now biting my nails and biting my elbows. Can deleted photos on my iPhone be recovered?

Answer . The possibility of recovering deleted photos on the iPhone is still possible. Since you have not had time to upload photos to the cloud, you have to search for /files on your phone memory card. I advise you to install Disk Drill for Mac OS, connect your iPhone to Mac and run a deep search on the disk. Generally speaking, the principles of iPhone photo recovery are the same for this category of software, so all apps described above are suitable for this purpose as well.

Tell me please, if I have saved all the photos and videos to the cloud, can I delete them from my iPhone? Will they stay in the cloud?

Answer . If you sync the /files to your phone, do not delete them under any circumstances. To save file space on your iPhone, simply uncheck the folders that you do not want stored on your phone in the sync settings. You can check the availability of the photos in the cloud through the web interface of the iCloud service.

I shot a video on my iPhone, then I go to the gallery and it is not there. Is it just not saved or something? Or maybe there's a chance it's saved somewhere? I have an iPhone 4 phone.

Answer . On the iPhone 4 (and other iOS devices) the photos are stored in the /private/var/mobile/Media/DCIM folder. This can be accessed with any file manager. If you have not deleted photos from iPhone and you have indeed saved them when you took the picture, that is where they should be located in iOS.

I had uploaded photos from my laptop to my iPhone two years ago, today I decided to transfer photos from my laptop to my iPhone again, after the synchronization the old photos disappeared and the purely new ones appeared. It is very important for me to restore the deleted photos! Is it possible to do this somehow on iPhone, that is, in iOS? In this article, we have explained in detail how to recover deleted photos on your iPhone. The instruction is relevant not only for iPhone, but also for any iOS devices, be it ipad or iPhone 4,5s, 6. All the programs mentioned above are installed on Mac OS X and you will need a card reader and usb cable to synchronize with your mobile device.

How to restore photos on iPhone 5s as well as videos from a previous iPhone? The phone was broken.

Answer . Since the /files were stored in the failed iPhone memory, there are not many ways to recover photos.

  1. Repair a broken iPhone and transfer photos to the new device
  2. If the photos were stored in the iCloud cloud, it is sufficient to sync the old account with the new device - thereby, the old images will be available on your iOS device.

I connected my iPhone 5 to my computer with the cord and I wanted to copy the photos to the flash drive, I did, but the photos are not left on my iPhone. I threw them to my flash drive, but my iPhone doesn't have any pictures left. Why? And how do I restore the photos to my iPhone? You did not copy the /files, you cut them, that is two big differences. When you copy, the /files are saved on both the source and the destination. If you want to restore these photos on your iPhone, copy them back from the flash drive.

The iPhone 5s had photos (15.01.2017) but I didn't save them anywhere and decided to iPhone restore. The last backup was done on 13.01.2017. Well, I restored it, but the photos for the 15th date are not left. Is there any way to restore???

Answer . Unfortunately, iPhone is not designed to store photos securely. That's why the developers suggested that users sync their data with iCloud and copy it to a computer.

How to recover deleted photos from iPhone if they are not backed up? Try iPhone photo recovery and PhoneRescue programs. Also check the contents of the "Recently deleted" folder in the "Photos" application, in case your pictures are still there.

I wanted to transfer the pics to my iPhone from my laptop via iTunes app and when it started generating, I did not want all the pics and was using it for the first time, I clicked stop and somehow I got deleted all the pics and not even the /files left. I really want to restore everything. Maybe there's some kind of storage on my laptop? But I've been transferring from a flash drive.

Answer . Check your local iTunes storage for the latest backup. If your iPhone syncs with the internet, it also makes sense to check if there are deleted photos in the iCloud cloud. Read more about backing up to your iPhone and restoring from a backup here.

“Hello. My name is Kim. I discovered that technology, when used with a purpose, can be pretty amazing. To share the wonder of tech, I’ve written for blogs like and With over three years of freelance writing experience in the technology and entertainment niche, I can write a storm about a software app, a cool browser extension, a new mobile device and other geek-centric stuf... “

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Kim Barloso