Can you get photos from an old iCloud backup?

What is an iCloud Backup?

An iCloud backup is a copy of the data and settings from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that is stored securely in your iCloud account online (Apple). iCloud automatically backs up important information from your device like photos, messages, contacts, calendar events, device settings, and more. This data is saved in the cloud rather than locally on your device or computer.

The advantage of using iCloud Backup is that you can access your backups from any device simply by signing into your iCloud account. So if you get a new iPhone, for example, you can restore your backup during setup and have all your data transferred over seamlessly. iCloud Backup happens automatically when your device is connected to power, locked, and connected to WiFi – so it’s an easy way to ensure your data is always saved and protected.

Locating Old iCloud Backups

To find an old iCloud backup that contains the photos you need, first open the Settings app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and tap on your name at the top of the screen. Then select the iCloud option.

Next, tap on Manage Storage followed by tapping on Backups. Here you will see a list of all iCloud backups associated with your Apple ID, including information on the device model, iOS version, and date of the backup. Scroll through this list to identify the old backup that contains the photos you wish to access.

As noted in the Apple Support article, tapping on an individual backup provides additional details like storage used and the specific apps that were backed up.

Using the steps above, you can easily locate those old iCloud backups and identify the one you need in order to selectively restore photos.

Restoring from a Backup

If you want to restore your entire iCloud backup to your iPhone, you can do so during the setup process when activating a new or erased iPhone. This will restore all of the content and data that was saved in your iCloud backup. Here are the steps to restore from an iCloud backup:

1. Turn on your erased or new iPhone and proceed through the initial setup screens.1

2. When you reach the Apps & Data screen, tap “Restore from iCloud Backup”.

3. Sign in with your Apple ID and password if prompted.

4. Select the desired backup you want to restore from the list of available backups. Make sure it’s the backup you want that contains the old photos.

5. Tap “Restore” to begin the restore process.

Restoring from an iCloud backup will erase all current data and content on your iPhone and replace it with the content from your backup. Be prepared to wait several hours for the full restore process to complete.

Selectively Downloading Photos

You don’t need to fully restore an iCloud backup in order to retrieve photos from it. Apple provides a couple ways to browse your iCloud backups and selectively download photos.

On a Mac using the Photos app, you can use the Recover Deleted Photos feature to browse all of your iCloud backups and choose individual photos to download. This lets you retrieve specific photos without needing to restore an entire backup.

You can also use the Download and Keep Originals option in the Photos settings on iOS devices to view all of your iCloud photos and select ones to download. This allows browsing your cloud backups like a photo album and downloading only the photos you want.

So if you just need to retrieve a few photos from an old iCloud backup, you don’t have to wipe your device and restore the entire backup. Tools like Recover Deleted Photos and Download and Keep Originals give you granular control over downloading photos from any iCloud backup.


One way to access your old iCloud backups is by signing into After signing in with your Apple ID, you can navigate to the Photos section to view all of the media stored in your iCloud backups.

The main advantage of using is that it lets you selectively download individual photos or videos you need from a backup. You don’t have to restore the entire backup to your device.

To download specific photos or videos from an iCloud backup on

  1. Go to and sign in with your Apple ID.
  2. Click on the Photos icon.
  3. Locate the photos or videos you want to download.
  4. Click the Select button and choose the media to download.
  5. Click the Download button.

This provides an easy way to retrieve media from an iCloud backup without needing to restore everything. You can download only the photos you want from any date range.

Third Party Apps

There are many third party apps available that can help extract photos from an old iCloud backup. Some popular options include:

  • iMazing – This paid app has robust iCloud backup management features that allow you to browse and extract data like photos from any backup. There is a free trial available.

  • PhoneView – PhoneView enables accessing iCloud backups directly from a Mac. You can search photos and download them selectively. There is a free trial.

  • iBackup Extractor – This tool can open and browse iCloud backups and extract contents like photos. There is a free trial available.

The key advantage of these third party apps is the ability to directly access iCloud backup data, even older archives, and extract contents like photos selectively. Most offer free trials so you can test out the features before committing to purchase the paid software.

Backups and Deleted Photos

iCloud backups include photos that have been recently deleted from your devices for up to 40 days. This allows you to recover deleted photos from an iCloud backup during that 40 day window.

When you delete a photo from your iPhone, iPad, or other device, it gets moved to the Recently Deleted album in the Photos app. It stays there for 30 days, giving you a chance to recover it if it was deleted by accident.

During this 30 day period, the deleted photos also remain in your iCloud backups. Even once the 30 days have passed and the photos disappear from the Recently Deleted album, they will continue to be included in your iCloud backups for an additional 10 days. This means you have a total of 40 days from when a photo was deleted to recover it from an iCloud backup.

To recover deleted photos this way, you would need to restore your device from the iCloud backup that contains the deleted photos. This would restore your device to the state it was in at the time of that backup, letting you access the photos again.

So in summary, iCloud gives you a 40 day window to recover deleted photos from a backup, even once they are no longer in the Recently Deleted album. This can be a useful way to retrieve photos you may have accidentally or intentionally removed from your devices.

Ensuring Backup Integrity

When restoring data from an old iCloud backup, it’s important to ensure the integrity of the backup files before relying on them. One way to verify backup integrity is by checking checksums. A checksum is a unique value assigned to a file that represents its contents. Comparing checksums between your backup files and the originals is a way to detect any corruption or changes.

If you need to extract your entire iCloud backup archive, it’s best to use Apple’s official tools like iMazing or iBackupBot. These tools calculate and display checksum values during extraction so you can verify integrity. Avoid using unsupported third party apps for full backups, as they could improperly modify data.

By taking the time to verify checksums and use official Apple tools, you can ensure your old iCloud backup files are fully intact before restoration. This protects against relying on corrupted or modified data that could cause problems.

Storage and Cost Considerations

Backups take storage space in your iCloud account. The amount of space you have available depends on your iCloud plan. The free iCloud plan includes 5GB of storage. Paid iCloud+ plans provide 50GB, 200GB, or 2TB of storage for a monthly fee ( If you find you need more space for backups, you can purchase a larger iCloud storage plan.

One thing to note is that iOS device backups don’t count against your iCloud storage. Even if you’re on the free 5GB plan, your device backups won’t eat into that allotment. Device backups are stored separately by Apple (

So if you only use iCloud for backups, you may be able to get by with the free storage amount. But if you utilize iCloud for photos, documents, and other files, you’ll want to consider the paid plans for increased capacity.


iCloud backups provide a way to store photos and other data like settings, documents, and more from your iPhone, iPad, or other Apple devices. These backups can be restored to your device to return it to the state captured in the backup, providing a way to recover photos even if deleted from the device.

While a full iCloud restore would erase all current data on your device, you can also directly download photos stored in a backup via or third party apps like iMazing. This allows selective retrieval of photos without impacting your current device data.

One limitation is that deleted photos are only stored for a limited time in iCloud backups, up to around 40 days. So restoring a backup or extracting photos only allows recovery of items deleted recently. Overall though, iCloud backups serve as a convenient built-in option for storing and recovering photos from your iOS devices when needed.