Data Recovery

Recover Deleted Photos

Summary: This article discusses the best methods to recover deleted photos. Whether you lost your photos from Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone or SD Card, you may use these methods with their instructions to get your deleted or lost pictures. Some important tips to avoid photo deletion or loss are also mentioned in this post.

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Your photos are your prized possessions. You simply can't afford to lose your valuable pictures. However, may be due to accidental deletion, malware infection, wrong picture transfer or other reasons, you may end up losing access to your photos. Don't panic! Whether your pictures are deleted from Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone or from an external SD card, you can follow the methods given in this post and get them back .

Recover Deleted Photos from Windows

Sometimes due to accidental deletion, power cut or malware infection, you may lose access to your photos stored on your Windows PC. However, you can easily recover deleted photos from Windows PC with the following methods.

  1. Restore Pictures from Recycle Bin

If you have accidentally deleted your pictures on Windows, the first thing you must do is to check Recycle Bin folder. Follow the below said steps to get your photos back:

  1. Go to Recycle Bin.
  2. Find and select the images you want to retrieve. (See figure 1)

[Figure 1: Recycle Bin Windows PC]

    3. Right-click on the picture and select Restore. (See Figure 2)

[Figure 2: Restore Photos From Recycle Bin in Windows PC]

You can also drag and drop the selected pictures to a folder or destination of your choice.

Wait for the process to complete and verify your restored files.

Note: However, in the Recycle Bin as well, the photos are deleted automatically after 30 days.

2. Use Windows Backup and Restore Utility

If you regularly take backup of your computer files, images and data, you may easily recover deleted photos from PC. Open Windows built-in backup and restore utility. Follow the given steps to get your precious photos back from Windows 10:

  • Connect an external storage media to your Windows PC to store your photos.
  • Open Control Panel and go to Backup and Restore Windows (7).
  •  Choose either to Restore my files or Restore all users' files. (See Figure 3)

[Figure 3: Choose Restore Users' file on Backup or restore your files Window]

Note: You will not be able to see the individual files when browsing for folders.

  • Select your deleted pictures that you want to retrieve. (See Figure 4)

[Figure 4: Select pictures from the list]

  •  Click 'Browse for files' or 'Browse for folder' and click Next. (See Figure 5)

[Figure 5: Browse for Files/Browse for folders Window]

  • Click Next and then Restore photos to the storage media.

3. Recover Deleted Pictures with the Best Photo Recovery Software

If you can't find your photos in Recycle Bin and don't even have a backup, using an effective photo recovery tool like Stellar Recovery Software is the way to go. This DIY (do-it-yourself) software can recover photos, videos and audio files lost due to deletion, corruption, formatting, virus, inaccessible drives, etc. This tool can restore the photos from Windows PC and any type of HDD, SSDs, USB Drives, SD Cards, etc.

  1. Download and launch Stellar Photo Recovery on your Windows PC.
  2. From Recover Photo, Audio & Video screen, select the drive from which you want to recover the deleted photos, and click Scan. (See Figure 6)

[Figure 6: Select location]

On the completion of the scanned process, the lost photos can be viewed in three panes– 'File Type', 'Tree View' and Deleted List'. You may preview the scanned files before retrieving.

Select the photos and click Recover. (See Figure 7)

[Figure 7: Preview & Recover Photos Screen]

Click Browse, choose a desired location to store your photos, and click Start Saving. (See Figure 8)

[Figure 8: Start Saving Screen]

[Caution: Don't save your restored photos in the affected drive/volume/partition/SD card from which you lost pictures to avoid overwriting.]

Recover Deleted Photos from Mac

If you have lost your pictures from Mac, you may use several tried and tested methods to recover deleted photos from Mac. Read on and try out these effective ways and get your hands back on your beloved photos.

4. Restore Photos from Trash

In case of accidental photo deletion, Trash in Mac OS is the first place to look for. However, the photos will be automatically deleted for after 30 days. Follow the given steps to get your pictures back.

  1. Go to Trash bin and find your pictures.
  2.  Select the photos and right-click on them.
  3. Select Put Back option and the photos will be restored to their original location. (See Figure 9)

[Figure 9: Put Back Deleted Photos Screen]

2. Use Photos App Backup

If you store your images in Photos App on Mac, and accidentally deleted or lost pictures from it, you may get them back by following the given steps:

  • Go to Photos app in macOS and open 'Recently Deleted' section. (See Figure 10).

[Figure 10: Recently Deleted section]

    1. Select the pictures and you will see a blue check mark when your photos are selected. (See Figure 11)

[Figure 11: Select Deleted Picture Screen]

2. Click Recover, and send it to their original destination. (See Figure 12)

[Figure 12: Recover Deleted Picture]

Once done, click on Photos or Album to exit the 'Recently Deleted' section.

Note: The images will permanently be deleted from Recently Deleted album in Photos App after 30 days.

3. With Time Machine Backup

If you backup your Mac data and photos with Time Machine, Mac OS built-in photo app, you can easily get your favorite photos back to its state. The steps are mentioned below to restore deleted photos:

  •  Go to Time Machine option in the menu bar.
  • Choose Enter Time Machine. You may also choose the Apple menu, select System Preferences > Time Machine. (See Figure 13)

[Figure 13: System Preferences > Time Machine Screen]

  • Time Machine will open and show your available backups.
  • Select the date of your last backup and navigate to your photo library backup, and select it.
  • Click Restore. On doing so, your photos will be restored.

4. With Mac Photo Recovery Tool

In case you couldn't retrieve your deleted photos from your Mac system's Trash bin, or iCloud, Time Machine Backup, you can use a reliable Photo Recovery Mac software. Follow the given instructions and get your pictures back from Mac.

  • Download, install and launch Stellar Mac Photo Recovery for Mac.
  •  On 'Select What to Recover' interface, select Photos and click Next. (See Figure 14)

[Figure 14: Select What to Recover Screen]

  • Choose the drive or storage media from which you lost the photos and click Scan. (See Figure 15)

[Figure 15: Select Location/Drive from Recover Audio & Video interface]

By using 'Advanced Settings' option on the top, Add File type or Edit File type or Filter to scan for faster results. Click Next. (See Figure 16)

[Figure 16: Advanced Settings Screen]

  • A dialog box saying 'Scanning Completed Successfully!' will display. The scanned files and folders will appear on the screen. You may preview the scanned files before saving them.
  • Select the pictures and click Recover. (See Figure 17)

[Figure 17: Recover Photo Screen]

Choose a desired location and click Save to save the pictures.

[Caution: Always use an external storage media to save the retrieved pictures from affected drive or PC to avoid overwriting.] 

Recover Deleted Photos on Android

There are several methods to recover deleted photos from android device. You may restore your pictures from Gallery's Recycle Bin utility. If you have backup then you can retrieve your photos from the cloud storage. If nothing works, using a free android data recovery software can get your photos back in a few simple steps. Check the procedures with their steps

1. Use Gallery App's Recycle Bin

There are some smartphones like Samsung M20 or A 20, which offers Recycle Bin option in the Gallery App. This facility lets you retrieve images if you mistakenly removed your images from Android phone. Follow the instructions given as following:

  • Open your Android's Gallery App.
  • Click on three dots adjacent to search option and tap on Recycle Bin. (See Figure 18)

[Figure 18: Recycle Bin option in Gallery App]

  • Select the photos you want to restore and click Restore. (See Figure 19)

[Figure 19: Restore deleted pictures]

  • Your lost photos will be restored to their original location.

2. Use Google Drive Backup

If you have a backup of your Gallery pictures on Google drive, you can just sign in to your Google Drive account on your Android phone or computer and follow these steps:

  • Open Google drive on your smartphone or in your PC.
  • All the backed up photos will appear there. (See Figure 20)

[Figure 20: Google Drive Photo Backup]

  • Select the pictures you want to restore and tap on/click Download. (See Figure 21)

[Figure 21: Download Pictures from Google Drive]

3. Restore Photos With Google Photos

Almost all Android phones have Google Photos, a photo sharing and storage application. Any photos taken on your smartphone or shared via WhatsApp will automatically be saved in Google photos if you turn on backup and sync option. The Backup and sync is a storage service in the Google Photo App that automatically saves your pictures as well as videos to your Google Account. Even if you accidentally delete your pictures from your gallery, you may easily recover deleted photos by following the given steps:

  • Open the Google Photos app on your Android phone or tablet.
  • Sign into your Google Account.
  • Select the photo you wish to restore.
  • Click More > Download to save your photos.

Check if you can access your photos now.

Recover Deleted Photos from SD Card

Whether you lose access to your pictures due to accidental SD card formatting, corruption, virus attack or deletion, you may try the following methods to recover deleted photos from SD card.

1. Use Windows Explorer

Sometimes, when you connect your SD card to a malware infected PC, it may completely hide all your photos, or other files and folders. Follow the below steps to recover hidden photos from SD card:

  1. Connect your SD card to your PC.
  2. Open Windows Explorer and click Tools.
  3. Go to Folder options and click View.
  4.  Open Show hidden photos/files/folders.
  5. Uncheck Hide and you will be able to access your photos.

2. Use CHKDSK Command

When you try to open your SD card and it shows an error message, try fixing this error by following these steps:

Click Start from Windows taskbar and choose My Computer.

Go to Devices > Removable Storage and locate your SD card (note that the drive letter assigned).

Open Command Prompt by typing cmd in search box and click Run as administrator.

In the Command Prompt window, type chkdsk.

Add the letter of the SD card e.g., chkdsk E: /f and hit Enter. (See Figure 26)

[Figure 26: Command Prompt window]

CHKDSK command will check for possible errors and fix it. If you are able to access your SD card, you may easily get your pictures back.

3. Use the Best Photo Recovery Software

If your photos are deleted from SD card, using a reliable photo recovery tool like Stellar Photo Recovery software is the best approach to get your pictures back. The software approach is safe and quick as it can retrieve pictures with the original date and file names. Also, it recovers the photos with the original quality. You can download the free version of the software from here.

Recover Deleted Photos from iPhone

If you lost your pictures from iPhone, you can try out the following methods. If you have a backup on cloud storage such as iTunes or iCloud, you can follow the given ways with their instructions to retrieve your photos. You can also restore the pictures from Photo App, Mac OS built-in app.

1. Use iTunes Backup

If you have synced your iPhone with iTunes, you can use Apple's backup utility to retrieve lost or deleted pictures. You will connect your iPhone/iPad/iPod to Mac and open iTunes. In Mac, the iTunes backup is stored in Library > Application Support > MobileSync > Backup. Follow the steps below to know how to recover deleted photos from iPhone. 

  • Open iTunes and select your device in it.
  • Right-click on your device and choose 'Restore from backup…' option.
  • Select the latest backup and click on Restore for photo recovery process. (See Figure 27)

[Figure 27: Restore pictures from iTunes Backup]

2. Use iCloud Backup

You can retrieve photos from iCloud within 30 days. Whether you accidentally deleted or lost your favorite pictures from iOS device, iPad device, Mac or Windows PC. You just have to follow the below mentioned steps:

  1. Go to and sign in to your account.
  2. Click Photos > Albums at the top.
  3. Click Recently Deleted album and select the pictures you want to retrieve.
  4. Click Recover and get your deleted photos back. (See Figure 28)

[Figure 28: iCloud Sign In]

3. Use iPhone Recovery Software

If you can't restore pictures from any of the above methods, use a reliable iPhone recovery software such as Stellar Data Recovery for iPhone. The software works with all iPhone models. You can easily recover deleted photos from iPhone. You may try the free version of the software to retrieve your lost pictures in Mac system.

Tips to Prevent Photo Deletion/Loss

Always have Backup

Whether you use native tools as per your Windows OS or macOS, third-party backup tools, external storage devices or on cloud, keeping your photos' backup regularly cannot be overstated. You may choose to have a backup of your files and data on daily, weekly or monthly basis. Whenever you think of installing system updates or new software, you always should backup your pictures and other data to avoid photo and data loss in future.

Be Careful with Deletion Process

We are prone to make mistakes and accidental deletion is one of the most common reason behind photo loss. You may sometimes, out of habit or accidentally, delete photos from your devices or storage media. To avoid this situation, you may always create a backup as discussed above. However, it is completely up to you to protect your precious pictures. Always double check before deleting photos and then perform the removal process. Spending a few minutes on just checking and ensuring which pictures you want to keep and which ones you want to delete can really save a lot of time for you.

Human error is one of the most common reasons for losing photos. It's very easy to press the wrong button or format an important partition. Creating multiple partitions as discussed previously may help reduce the risk, but it really is up to the individual to protect their data. Think twice before hitting that delete key and make sure that you really want to perform the operation. Spending a few seconds verifying your work can save a lot of time spent recovering from your mistake.


You just can't afford to lose your valuable photos for sure. Hence, we have mentioned the best ways to recover deleted photos in this post. You may try these tested methods and regain access back to your pictures. However, it is recommended to use a professional photo recovery tool so that you can get your images with their original file name, timestamp and quality.

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