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How to Recover Deleted Photos From an iPhone

Kelly Wilkerson | | categories: data recovery | View Comments

Unfortunately, if you're reading this, you've probably lost or accidentally deleted pictures from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch1. Let me first say "I'm sorry." Now let's try everything we can to get them back!

I assume that most people reading this article are looking to recover deleted photos from the iPhone "Camera Roll" — aka the photos you see when you open the "Camera" app. If you're looking for other kinds of photos, we'll address a few others further down in this article, or leave us a comment if you don't see the photos discussed.

Finding Photos Deleted From the Camera App

Don't plug your phone into your computer or anything yet. We don't want to overwrite any possible backups with the photo by making a new backup in iTunes.

  1. Download the FREE trial of Decipher Backup Browser. The program will scan your computer automatically for iPhone/iPad/iPod backups, show you the date of the backup, and show you a preview of what data is available in the backup. Click around on your backups and the Camera Roll entry to see if your photo might be in the backup.

  2. Did you send your missing photo to anyone via SMS/MMS or iMessage? If so, there is a copy of the photo sitting in your Messages app. Each attachment you send in Messages is copied — scroll through your messages to where you sent the photo, click on the bubble thumbnail, and then click on the arrow-ish button in the bottom toolbar and choose to save it. Viola! Back in your camera roll! *Side-note: If there are just too many messages to scroll through and find your picture, we also have the program Decipher TextMessage. Decipher TextMessage will import all of your text messages from your backup and display them in a more manageable format for sifting through to find the picture. You can open the photo from Decipher TextMessage and even email it back to your iPhone if you like.

Finding Photos Deleted From Text Messages

If you're looking to recover deleted photos that were received (or sent) as a text message, then you'll want to look at our post specifically for using Decipher TextMessage to recover deleted text messages pictures.

Other Kinds of Deleted iPhone Pictures to Recover

Leave us a comment about the source of the picture (what app you were looking at it in, for example) and we'll brainstorm up a way to find it hopefully!


  1. From here on out, I'm going to just refer to all devices as iPhones for brevity. All of these techniques work equally well for iPads and iPod Touches.