What do you do when you lose a ton of data – notably, photos – from your iPhone? That’s right, you run back to iTunes to cling to that dear old backup that you hope has some of the photos that you so badly want back.
Recovering deleted photos from an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch is not an easy task. Actually, it’s possible only if you’re very lucky. Still, there’s no other way out but to try various methods. Let’s take a look at all the possible ways in which you can try recovering deleted photos from your iPhone or iTunes.
1: Recover Deleted Photos from iPhone and iPad Using iTunes
If you sync your iPhone with iTunes every once in a while, there’s a strong chance that the last backup that iTunes took of your iPhone has those special photos that you want back. In case you regularly backup your iPhone with iTunes, you probably have the photos.
You can try restoring from the latest backup to get the photos back. To do this:
Step 2: Open iTunes
Step 3: In iTunes 11, enable the sidebar through View -> Show Sidebar
Step 4: Right-click on your device and press ‘Restore from backup…’
Step 5: Choose the latest backup and proceed.
By the time the restore is done, your Camera Roll might mostly have the photos you’re looking for. But there are things you should note:
- If in case you clicked a lot of photos after the last backup (and it is these photos that got deleted), there’s no way you are going to see these photos in the iTunes backup.
- If you’re restoring your device, note that the contacts, mail and other stuff that iTunes syncs/manages for you on your iPhone will also get restored to the version of the backup. Make sure you’ve synced your device and backed up other data.
2: Recover Deleted Photos from Photo Stream / iCloud
Photo Stream got a shot in the arm with iOS 5 and 6. Quite a lot of configurable options make Photo Stream a viable option for a backup besides a good place to share your photos. If you had enabled Photostream, every one of the pictures you clicked is sent to your iCloud photostream. The photostream serves as an online repository where most of your photos exist (not intended as a backup, but can be used as one).
If you’ve got Photo Stream enabled in iCloud (on your iOS device: Settings -> iCloud -> Photos -> Switch ON ‘My Photo Stream’), maybe the photos you are looking for are already there.
On your iPhone or iPad:
Step 1: Open the Photos app
Step 2: From the menu on the bottom, tap on ‘Albums’
Step 3: Choose the ‘My Photo Stream’ album
Step 4: Check to see if your photos are in this album.
3: Third-party Software
Using third-party software can be costly but that’s the only option left in case everything else fails.
These softwares basically follow a simple pattern:
- You put your iPhone in DFU mode and connect it to the computer
- Open the software, which recognizes your device and then goes into the file system
- Deleted photos are often deep within the file system and will be overwritten after some time. In case you are looking for deleted photos soon after they were deleted, chances of finding them through the third-party software are high.
It all boils down to doing regular backups. Weekly backups are the norm but you can do it more often too. Here are some tips:
- Backup your iPhone in iTunes weekly once. If you click photos a lot, increase the backup frequency.
- Make use of iCloud. Enable Photo Stream and make sure photos you click are on Photo Stream so you can recover in case you lose them from your Camera Roll.