How to Recover Lost iPhone Photos from an iTunes Backup

Jay W, Co-Founder of Decipher Media
Jay W.

Categories: iTunes, iPhone | View Comments

Search your iTunes backup to recover deleted or lost iPhone camera roll photos or videos.

Today's Decipher Tools tutorial tip is designed to help any iPhone user quickly search their iTunes backups on their computer to see if lost or deleted photos are recoverable. Every year, our Decipher Tools staff here in San Francisco receives countless emails from iPhone users in a panic because their important camera roll pictures have gone missing. Lost iPhone photos can happen to anyone and when the pictures are precious snapshots of family, friends, or other important events in one's life, a sinking feeling can quickly set in if there are no options to try and access the lost photos.

How and why do iPhone camera roll photos get deleted or become missing?

There are many reasons iPhone photos are lost, however a few of the main factors include:

  • User Error - Photos are accidentally erased while browsing through the camera roll. Also, users often deleted photos not realizing they might need the pictures at some point the future.

  • Lost, Damaged, or Stolen iPhone or iPad - Unless you backed up before the device went astray, there is usually no way to recover the photos.

  • Upgrading to a new iOS - New iOS updates can be buggy and sometimes errors can occur during the upgrade process which cause the camera roll and other data on the device to be erased.

  • Restoring an iPhone or iPad - Restoring from a backup replaces all the data on the device with the data that is contained in the backup. Photos can get lost or overwritten during this process.

  • Corrupt iTunes Backup - When restoring a backup, iPhone users sometimes encounter the dreaded "iTunes could not back up the device because the backup was corrupt or not compatible" error message. Corrupt iOS errors often cause data, including iPhone photos, to be deleted or inaccessible.

Retrieving Missing iPhone Photos

A simple and free way to search for lost iPhone photos is with Decipher Backup Browser. The software runs on your computer and in just seconds the program will show any iPhone user worldwide all the photos contained in their entire iTunes backup!

Steps to Recover Lost or Deleted iPhone Photos

Step 1: Boot up your Mac or Windows computer.

Step 2: Install Decipher Backup Browser.

Step 3: Select your backup.

Step 4: Choose Camera Roll Gallery.

Any iPhone Camera Roll photos contained in your iTunes backup will immediately appear in the far-right column of Decipher Backup Browser. If you don't see any images in the Camera Roll section, you can also select some of the other photo recovery options in the middle column of the program. These include, Camera Roll Recovery, Miscellaneous Duplicate Photos, Edited Photos Copies, All Photos / Thumbnails, and Text Message Attachments. You can see examples of these options in the screenshot of Decipher Backup Browser below.

Steps to recover missing or lost photos on iPhone or iPad

Decipher Backup Browser. will read in all of your iTunes backups on your computer. If there is an older backup that you don't see in the software, give some thought as to whether you have moved the backup in the past or if it is perhaps located on a different computer. Decipher Backup Browser can be downloaded on as many computers as you like from this link should you want to install the program on another machine to see if there are older iTunes backups present!

That wraps it up for today's Decipher Tools quick tutorial steps to recover and save lost iPhone photos from your iTunes backup. If you have any questions or ever need help, feel free to contact us via email. We're USA based in San Francisco and Phoenix and we write back to everyone!