How to recover deleted photos

“How do I recover deleted photos?” is a question Fields Data Recovery’s technicians are asked daily. It may even surprise you to hear that a large number of our technicians feel that recovering digital photo and video files for clients is the most rewarding part of their job – more rewarding than a substantial breakthrough concerning research and development, even – but why?

I think it’s because photographs and video files exemplify how data can transcend mere information and become something truly emotive. The sense of relief and then elation felt by clients after we’ve recovered photographs of their wedding day or a video of their child taking their first steps is evident and, ultimately, there’s nothing more rewarding than knowing you’ve made someone happy!

So, because we recognise how important these files are to everyone, we thought we’d share a quick guide on the steps to take if you’ve accidentally deleted a photograph, broken down by device:


Accidentally deleted a photo on your iPhone or iPad? It’ll have been moved into the ‘Recently Deleted’ folder and the good news is you simply need to go to this folder and restore the file with just one tap.

Sadly, if the photo’s been in this file for more than 40 days, it will have been automatically deleted. It could still be stored in your iCloud account, though, so simply login, check they’re there and, if they are, follow the instructions on how to retrieve them.


As with the iPhone, any photo you’ve deleted from an Android Device will be placed in a folder titled ‘Recently Deleted’ and will remain there for 30 days. So, recovering that photo will hopefully be as simple as going to this folder and tapping the ‘Restore’ button.


The good news here is that, unless you’ve set it up to empty itself automatically at regular intervals, any photo you delete will remain in your Recycle Bin indefinitely and recovering an accidentally deleted file in such instances is a piece of cake. Simply open the Recycle Bin, find the file you’re looking for, click on it and then click ‘Restore the selected item’.


Like Windows machines, macOS places anything you delete into a specific location to prevent you from accidentally permanently deleting something you wanted to keep.

Unlike Windows, though, macOS has a specific location for deleted photos and any photo that has not been recovered within 30 days will automatically be removed permanently so, if you’ve accidentally deleted a photo, it’s best you restore it ASAP.

To do this, open the photos app, click on ‘Recently Deleted’, select the photo you want to keep and click ‘Restore’.

If you didn’t manage to do this within 30 days, login to iCloud and, if it’s there, simply download it.

If none of the above worked

If none of the above have worked, stop using your device. That’s right, turn it off – the file could still be there but, the more you use your device and store more files, the more likely it becomes that it will be permanently deleted and become irretrievable.

So, power down the device and get in touch with the data recovery specialists immediately.