How to recover deleted photos from an iPhone or iPad
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How to recover deleted photos from an iPhone or iPad

The authoritative guide from Reincubate, proud inventors of the iPhone Backup Extractor

The easiest way to recover lost iPhone Photos

Step by step instructions to recover photos from iOS devices

Reliable iPhone photo recovery software should be able to recover iPhone photos from all the possible sources even if you accidentally delete them. Our recovery tool -- iPhone Backup Extractor -- can extract photos from:

  • iPhone Camera Roll
  • Photo Stream
  • iCloud Photo Library
  • iMessage and text attachments
  • WhatsApp and other apps as attachments

To recover lost or deleted iPhone photos, you need to:

  1. Download and install iPhone Backup Extractor
  2. Add a local iTunes backup or your iCloud account
  3. Download a selected backup from available devices
  4. Select the photos you want to recover
  5. Extract and save them on your computer

Deleted photos can be recovered from both iTunes and iCloud backups made in any iOS version and from all iPhone, iPads and iPods.

You will need

Win Mac

A Mac or Windows PC


An iTunes backup or an iCloud account


iPhone Backup Extractor

Recover deleted photos from iCloud and iTunes

1. Add your local iTunes backup or connect to iCloud

To recover photos, you can use an iTunes backup or an iCloud backup. One you have downloaded the most recent iPhone Backup extractor version, use the (+) to a) log in to iCloud and browse your most recent device backups or b) if you have an iTunes backup, the app will detect it automatically.

To recover photos from iCloud you need to purchase iPhone Backup Extractor Premium, if you recover photos from an iTunes backup - you only need the Basic version. In both cases, you need to activate the license after purchase, to ensure you have access to all Premium features.

Open the iPhone Backup Extractor and connect it with your iCloud account. Click the big “Plus” button in the bottom corner, select the “iCloud” tab, and add your login credentials. If 2FA is enabled, you'll be prompted to enter your code.

If you're using the Basic license, then iPhone Backup Extractor will automatically detect your iTunes backup. If it hasn't, you must create a local iTunes backup and re-start the app.

2. Choose the right backup for you

Once connected to either iTunes or iCloud, you have the following options:

  • Download Photostream library entirely from iCloud
  • Download your most recent Photos backup - this also includes screenshots, WhatsApp photos saved locally, and other multimedia files shared or saved via various apps. You can do that in the "Overview" tab
  • Download the entire iCloud backup locally, then search for your Photos in all possible folders
  • Go to the Preview tab and preview photos individually before downloading them one by one.

Note: Deleted images will only be available in iCloud for 30 days after deletion.

If you do choose to download photos from your Photo Stream, you need to know that these are not part of your iCloud backup. iCloud stores the photos synced with My Photo Stream for 30 days. Photos in My Photo Stream that are older than 30 days are removed completely, and iPhone Backup Extractor will not be able to recover them.

Your safest solution for making sure you never lose your Photos is to periodically make iTunes backups every 30 days, so that you can always go back and explore photos older than what you automatically sync to your Photo Stream.

3. Recover and save your photos

Once you've decided which backup you would like to recover Photos from, click on "Extract", then follow the instructions to choose a folder and the format for your files.

Recovering photos from iCloud can take a few minutes depending on your internet connection.

Undeleted images are available in a separate folder from the rest of your photos. If you have any problem at all recovering your files, get in touch and our Customer support team will help you.

Recover deleted photos from iPhone or iPad1. iCloud sign-in
How to recover deleted photos from iPhone or iPad2. The pictures are downloaded from the iCloud
Guide: Retrieve deleted photos from iPhone or iPad3. The pictures are successfully downloaded, as an iCloud backup.
Tutorial: Recover deleted photos from iPhone or iPad4. Images extraction
Guide: See how to recover deleted photos from iPhone or iPad5. Extract images grouped by albums
Tutorial: Retrieve deleted photos from iPhone or iPad6. Successful recovery

For iTunes backups

The data extraction procedure from iTunes backups is very similar to the iCloud method. Before you get started, you need to have an iTunes backup. It doesn’t matter if the file is encrypted or not, as long as you know the password.

Use iPhone Backup Extractor and check the left tab. Make sure the iTunes backup file previously generated is selected. If your backup is encrypted, you’ll need a subscription plan.

Jump to the third step from the iCloud method and get your deleted images back.

How to extract missing photos from an iPhone backup

If you’re searching for a quick way to extract your photos from an iPhone or iPad backup (as created by iTunes or in the iCloud), here are a few simple steps to follow:

1. Run iPhone Backup Extractor and click to "Extract Photos"

Run iPhone Backup Extractor select the backup with the data and then click on the link that shows you the number of photos in your backup, just below "Available data", on "Overview" tab. In the example below, there are 152 images. There is also the possibility to choose the "Preview" mode, which allows you to extract the images from the backup.

Extract photos overview mode

2. Select a destination folder for your extracted images

Choose a folder where you'd like to extract the photos. To keep things simple you may like to create a new folder on your desktop.

Select destination folder

3. Select the extraction method

Once the location is chosen, you’ll be asked how you want data to be extracted. You have two options: either you extract the photos grouped by albums or you extract all of them in the same folder. Make your choice, then extract the photos from your backup into the folder you selected.

Images grouped by album

4. Open the destination folder

After the extraction is finished, open the folder you selected earlier. The recovered photos should be there. That’s all!

Recover and download photos or videos from iCloud backups

Do you need to download photos and videos from your iCloud backup? If you are on the verge of giving up and thinking you are out of luck and all your data is gone, don't get discouraged. I'll show you how to download and recover all photos and videos stored in your iCloud backup.

If by a twist of fate you have lost your iOS device, you can still get everything back, without needing to have your iPhone or iPad with you. You can recover all images, video clips and other data, if you have previously enabled your iDevice to back up to iCloud.

Retrieving your data is easy and all you need is your iCloud backup and the iPhone Backup Extractor application. Use the steps below as a guidance:

  1. Install iPhone Backup Extractor.

  2. Activate the Premium Edition. If you already have a Premium account, you can activate by clicking on the 'Activate' link, from the top right side of the application. Use the email and password you received when registering and you are good to go.

    Activate iPhone Backup Extractor Premium Edition

    Please note that in order to download iCloud backups, the iPhone Backup Extractor Premium Edition is required. The Lite and Basic Edition only allow you to check for iCloud backups. You can register the Premium Edition from our website.

  3. With the Premium Edition activated, click on the blue iCloud button and use your iCloud credentials to login.

    Login to iCloud to recover data

  4. Now you can choose the device that you want to recover data from, and then select the data category you want to download. To download the whole iCloud backup, choose all categories or select only your images and videos, if that's all you need.

    Recover photos from iCloud backup

    It takes a few minutes or up to a few hours to download your iCloud backup, depending on how large your backup and how fast your internet connection is. If you have a large backup, make sure you have enough space on your hard disk before downloading.

    download icloud backup

  5. Once the download is complete, click 'OK' and you will be redirected to the main interface of the iPhone Backup Extractor application. To extract your photos, click on the 'Extract' link from photos and choose where you want to download your images. That's all! So simple, just like a child's play.

extract photos from iCloud

Retrieve iCloud and Photo Stream data with iPhone Backup Extractor

How to download iCloud Photo Library to your PC or Mac

This feature can be used to fully download your iCloud Photo Library locally, make a full backup of your photos to Dropbox or other service you are already using, delete the files from iCloud and start all over again from scratch, without having to pay for additional storage for your associated iCloud account.

Another reason why you might want to download your iCloud Photo Library is because the iCloud ecosystem is fairly closed to Apple users, and - if your family or friends prefer using Android, it’s easier to share photos with them if you download the iCloud Photo Library, than if you ask them to make an iCloud account just to gain access.

There is a version of you in an alternate reality somewhere currently struggling with iCloud photo problems; maybe the data is corrupt, perhaps there is an error downloading a photo from iCloud Photo Library. Sometimes photos disappear somewhere between your iPhone and iCloud. The best option is to prepare yourself for data recovery and stay ahead of a disturbing reality.

iPhone Backup Extractor allows you to download your all of your iCloud photos to your PC or Mac with ease. Our Premium license will give you full access to your iCloud Photo Library; Photostream; and backed up data for 5 iCloud devices.

  1. Download and install the iPhone Backup Extractor.
  2. Activate a Premium license.
  3. Add your iCloud account via the large green “+”. Then sign-in to the account to access your iCloud data.

  4. After the sign in is complete you will see all of your iCloud data in the left side pane. Photo Stream will be at the top; beneath it you will find Photo Library will appear; finally you will see all of your iCloud device backups. To download your Photo Library just click the Download button.

  5. Select a save location to recover photos from every iDevice or Mac connected to your iCloud account.

  6. Once the download has completed you will be able to see every image from your iCloud Photo Library. This will include every photo and video from any device associated with your iCloud account; even photos and videos from any shared album will be downloaded to your computer from iCloud.

Now that the download is safe on your computer you have recovered and backed up your Photo Library. Almost too easy.

How to download photos from Photo Stream

If you’re not a Photo Library curator and you prefer to keep your images separate for each device then we can help you recover them from either a backup or Photo Stream.

  1. Download and install iPhone Backup Extractor

  2. Activate your Premium license

  3. Add your iCloud account via the large green “+”. Then sign-in to your account to access your iCloud data.

  4. After the sign-in is complete you will see all of your iCloud data in the left-side pane; Photo Stream will be at the very top. To download your Photo Stream simply click on the Download button.

  5. Select a save location to recover your iCloud Photo Stream.

  6. Once the download has completed you will see either 1000 photos or pictures from the last 30 days.

Tip: Our Premium users can download the Photo Stream from an unlimited number of iCloud accounts without using any of their iCloud devices.

Troubleshooting iPhone photos

iCloud Photo Library not working?

There are many reasons for downloading your iCloud Photo Library, but the clearest benefit is the insurance against data loss. The native iCloud data management options are limited which can leave you in a dangerous position. If your Photo Library database gets corrupted then you will notice missing photos, failed imports or crashing. Once the corruption has set in the recovery of photos becomes more difficult.

The best medicine is an ounce of regularly Photo Library downloads. In these cases iCloud data recovery software will help you get your data back. The iPhone Backup Extractor can download all of your photos in the iCloud Photo Library including any photos or videos that are in shared albums.

If your data loss is accidental then you might be able to recover your photos from the recently deleted album. The recently deleted album will store deleted photos for 30 days, but beyond this the photos will be lost.

If you would like to recover Photos that were deleted from the Recently Deleted folder 30 days ago your best option is to have a downloaded archive of the data to draw upon. If you use the iPhone Backup Extractor to regularly download your entire album, then you can build your archive and remove photos at will. After all, you can upload the photos at any time.

iCloud syncing and data storage

If you would like to be able to give yourself complete data protection then you will need to be sure of how the data is stored in iCloud. The first step is to have a peek at your iCloud settings; you’ll notice two major functions: the syncing function and the storage one. Let’s start with the iCloud syncing panel, each data category has an on/off function, allowing you to selectively sync files across all devices associated with your iCloud account. For the syncing option to work, you must use the same iCloud account across all devices. One of the most confusing elements is what happens to iCloud photos.

So, how does iCloud Photo Library work?

iCloud Photo Library is also a syncing procedure; it contains all of your photos from all of your devices associated with your iCloud account. Got a Mac in Malibu and an iPhone in Indonesia? It doesn’t matter; all the photos will ride the cloud into your iCloud Photo Library. Many users have had mixed feelings about this new feature, mainly because it can chew through storage fast. This is particularly true if you are keeping a large device backup on iCloud as well as utilising the Photo Library. While it is true that Photo Library images are not duplicated in your backup, it can still make the storage area more crowded than a cargo ship at Christmas.

This brings us to an annoying limitation of the storage function associated with the iCloud Photo library; any photo that is older than 30 days will be removed from your backup. Of course, there are other options for you to manually import, backup, and store your photos online (Dropbox, Ever or Flickr), indeed it is recommended by Apple that you download a copy of your Photo Library for safekeeping.

And this is the best thing about iCloud Photo Library in that it simplifies that process of storing and backing up photos. Whilst some devices require importing photos manually, the iCloud Photo Library does this automatically, over wi-fi and syncs the photos across your iCloud Photo Library enabled devices.

Is iCloud Photo Stream or iCloud Photo Library a backup?

These syncing options are distinct from your iCloud backup. Whereas the syncing options will send everything to your iCloud connected devices, the backup is device specific. Your iPhone backup has nothing to do with your iPad backup and none of the information will transfer to your Macbook.

iCloud Backups

Backups are hugely important because they contain all of the device’s information and much of it can’t be secured through the sync. If you have never made a backup, then please make one now. If the backup is slow then you needn’t worry because first backups may take a few hours, after that - every time your iPhone is charged, it will trigger automatic backups.

Backups are not a fixed entity and you have some freedom over which iOS data you will backup. Since cloud storage is limited for free users, it is a good idea to check the size of your iPhone’s backup and when the last backup was made, in the storage panel. The same section shows everything inside the backup. Expanding the list will allow you to selectively back up data from apps you’re not that keen on backing up. For example I have added over 200MB of pdfs to iBooks.

We often indulge in over-emphasising this #1 backup rule: 2 on cloud and 2 local. Having all pdfs and books backed up to multiple locations certainly increases confidence that they are safe. Try to limit iCloud backup to iOS data only; don’t waste iCloud storage with pdf back ups.

Remember, all backups are specific to the device. If you turn on Photos backup on your iPhone, but turn it off on another device, then there may be some backup dissimilarities, in the sense that the photos from the other device will not be saved to your iCloud Library.

iPhone storage full?

If you find yourself clamouring for space on your iPhone, then what do you usually do? Delete stuff, right? You will need to be careful when deleting images or videos in your iCloud Photo Library. If you delete any photo from iCloud on one device, it will delete it on other devices as well. Specifically, the file will be transferred to a recently deleted folder. Everything that gets into the Recently Deleted folder will be permanently deleted after 30 days.

However, iCloud Photo Library provides a neat feature that can help you keep your iPhone photo storage under control.

When you select Optimise iPhone Storage the Photo Library will act as curator and manage the size of your library on the device. The original, full resolution images will be uploaded to iCloud according to how often you access them. If you need a quick view at the image then you will find low resolution thumbnails stored on your iDevice.

However, if you have a picture of Bigfoot then you will need a full resolution image to prove it. You can still download that image from iCloud and onto your iPhone or iPad; simply click the image and it will download via cellular or wi-fi immediately.


iCloud Photo Library gets smarter

With iOS 10, the Photo Library came packed with Moments, People and Locations. These three functions helps you organise your photo even when you’re not paying attention. Your files are sorted by Location using your enabled geofilter. Photos are scanned for faces, so that people occurring often in your picture are identified, and that makes it easier for you to view all photos taken with your best friend for example. All of your Memories are updated everywhere, so you can find the moment you're looking for anywhere you are.

Source: iMore - Full OSX Photos Review

Sharing with Family & Friends

Albums can be shared with people as long as they have an iCloud email address & account. Let’s say you organise a party and the only phone being used is yours. Share the Photo album with your guests once they send over the email address associated with their iCloud account. Whilst this is platform specific (Android users need to create an iCloud account just to see what you’ve shared), it does make life easier, unless you really enjoy sending attachments via email.

Top 5 best photos of 2017 so far

Now, the cherry on top, after you’ve learned how to download your collection of photos from the iCloud, let us brighten your day with a selection of the best 5 photos we’ve seen so far this year, on various occasions.

5. Allan, the “Animal whisperer” takes cutest animal selfies

Specializing in taking care of cute, cuddly animals, Allan grew an impressive following on Instagram, and now he’s back. His account is a heaven for all animal selfie and animal lovers, hence we believe he deserves to be on our list of best photos of 2017 so far.

Source: Instagram daxon

4. Women’s March best sign

The Women’s March saw a wide range of participants including, obviously, women, but also children, men and dogs. We all sense the ripples of history that were emanating from this event and the photos will be important memories. The 21st of January was a legendary day, but we found some hilarious #womensmarch signs, and arguably the one below is one of the best.


3. Mannie, the selfie-loving cat

Sometimes, when you barely get 7 likes on your new facebook profile, and see Mannie’s selfie breaking Instagram and making it to Mashable, you can’t help but wonder - do I need two dogs in the background as well?

Source: Instagram

2. Best fan taken selfie

This photo is so good, it looks rehearsed by everyone in the crowd at Bruce Springsteen’s concert.


Supported iOS versions, backups and devices

iPhone Backup Extractor is fully compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, and any macOS version from 10.7 and above. See below:


Compatible with all iOS devices

iPhone 4, 4S, iPhone 5, 5C, iPhone SE, iPhone 6, 6S, 6S Plus, iPhone 7 and 7 Plus


It works with all iOSes

iOS 11, iOS 10, iOS 9, iOS 8, iOS 7 and lower


Full support for all backups

Corrupted backup, iCloud backup, 2FA iCloud backup, Encrypted backup

Data privacy and security

With more than 8 years of experience, Reincubate adheres fully to the strictest data privacy laws. Your iCloud credentials are not stored in any way on any third party server or on our servers. The connections are encrypted and secured. iPhone Backup Extractor is clean of adware, viruses or spyware.

iCloud and iTunes support
No viruses
Compatible with all iOS devices

Help us improve 😊

Can we improve this guide and help others recover more of their data, or have we helped you with your recovery? We’ve been doing this for 10 years but there’s always room to improve, and we love hearing how people get on. Why not drop us an email at the address below, or tweet us @reincubate?

Ready to test it with your iPhone?

See what iPhone Backup Extractor can do for you.

30 day money back guarantee
All iOS versions
Every iPhone, iPad and iPod

Why trust us?

Here's a photo of our founder Aidan (the tall guy) meeting Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, after Reincubate was awarded the UK’s highest business award for our work since 2008 on developing this technology. We invented the iPhone Backup Extractor, the first tool on the market for iOS data recovery. We're on a mission to help people make the most of their data in an ethical, transparent way.

Read more about Reincubate

Reincubate's CEO at Buckingham Palace

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Reincubate is a registered trademark. All rights reserved. Terms & conditions. Privacy Policy. It's your data, not ours. We recommend 2FA.


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iCloud and iTunes support

Works with Windows and Mac

Customer support

5 iCloud devices


This is iPhone Backup Extractor, think of it as a "personal forensics" utility. It's pretty awesome.

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