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What to Do If Your iPhone Deleted Files

Written by: Ilia

Data recovery specialist, guest author, journalist.

Losing your crucial data is depressing - whether it is the presentation that you created last week or the photos that you have captured for years. Those albums from family gatherings, vacation pics, images of your kids growing faster - when suddenly gone without you even realizing, it hurts.

The first thing that comes to your mind is if it's possible to recover iPhone deleted files. Right? Well, the answer is yes. You can recover deleted files and photos from your iPhone, but you need to try a few workaround methods as you don't know which one works for you.

This article is your guide to recovering files and images that have been deleted accidentally from your iPhone.


Recover Deleted Files from Recently Deleted Albums

When you are looking to retrieve deleted photos on your iPhone, the Photos app is probably the first place to go. Locate the Recently Deleted folder in the Photos app. The folder stores images for 30 days after you delete them from the original folder, or they get erased accidentally.

After completing the 30 days retention period, the photos get deleted automatically and permanently from the recently deleted folder. When you restore these images, they will retain their respective place in the iPhone Photos library. The process is smooth, and the photos will restore in their original format; it feels like you never deleted them.

To prevent your important files from deleting accidentally, consider creating a separate folder and storing all your images there. Now, if you view the contents of this folder less often, there are fewer chances of data deletion. It's not hard to learn how to add folder to iPhone.

Restore Deleted Files from iCloud Backup

If you can't find your deleted photos in the Recently Deleted folder in the Photos app, they will be on the iCloud website. Sign in on the iCloud website, go to the Photos app and find the Recently Deleted folder available in the left corner of the screen. Search for the photos that you are looking to restore on your iPhone.

The folder mimics everything you have on your photos, but there are chances that you can see files that are not there on your iPhone. So, before you try other recovery methods, try checking your data on You can search for your lost photos in the iPhone backup stored in the iCloud. You will find the most recent iPhone backup version in iCloud.

Search Deleted Files in Cloud Storage

Besides iCloud, you might use other Cloud storage options to store your important data. Since iCloud is not an excellent option for storing true backups of images and files, this made Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive other popular options for data backups. Cloud storage containers have their ways of uploading and restoring data to the device.

Many cloud storage drives offer syncing folders across devices. You can select the folders you want to sync. To save an exact backup of images to the Cloud container, you should move files from your iPhone to the cloud via Safari. This ensures that you have a separate dedicated folder for images that won't sync on your devices unless you remove them.

Recover Deleted Files on macOS 10.15 and Later

Another way to recover deleted files on macOS Catalina (10.15) is by using Finder. It's Mac's default location for managing files and folders. Now, if you have the habit of backing up iPhone data regularly, you can use Finder to locate and restore files on macOS Catalina. This is certainly one of the easiest ways to restore data on an iPhone.

To recover deleted files using Finder, connect your iPhone to the Mac and open Finder. Choose your iPhone as the device on which you need to restore data. Now click Restore Backup, select the backup version based on the date it was created, and tap Restore. Check if the files you have deleted on your iPhone are restored successfully.

Recover Deleted Files on iPhone 11+ and Earlier

If you still have iPhone 11+ or earlier models that you might or might not be using, you can recover deleted data on these devices. Wondering how? Well, it's easy. All iPhone deleted files initially go to the Recently Deleted folder. This folder retains all data for 30 days unless you delete it manually.

After 30 days, the items are deleted permanently, and you cannot restore them without using a professional data recovery tool. During this retention period, you can restore files from the Recently Deleted folder without using any tool or the Mac. However, make sure to back up data regularly on iPhone, Android, and other devices to keep your files secure and easily recoverable.