Can you recover erased iPhone Data?

Recovering erased data from an iPhone is a common need for many users. Accidentally deleting important photos, contacts, messages or other irreplaceable data is an easy mistake to make on a mobile device. Thankfully, there are various methods that can help recover erased iPhone data. This is vital, as the data stored on a smartphone often contains valuable memories, personal information, or even critical business content. Successfully restoring deleted iPhone data can prevent unnecessary stress, expense, or lost productivity.

This article will provide an overview of the main techniques available to recover previously erased data on an iPhone. It will examine common reasons for data loss, data recovery basics, using iCloud and iTunes backups, third party software solutions, hardware recovery methods, and steps to prevent data loss in the future. With the right approach, users can often get back lost iPhone data.

Common Reasons for Data Loss

There are several common ways that iPhone users can lose data stored on their device (Source). Accidentally deleting photos, videos, contacts, notes, or other files is one of the most prevalent causes of data loss. It’s easy to accidentally select the wrong items in your Photos app and hit delete, losing precious memories. Similarly, you may delete a contact or note by mistake.

Hardware damage or failure is another culprit behind lost iPhone data. Dropping your device in water, having the screen crack significantly, or other physical damage can make data recovery challenging. Certain system software crashes or failures can also corrupt data beyond access.

Some users lose access to their data after doing a factory reset and forgetting to back up the device first. Performing a factory reset erases all data stored on the iPhone, which cannot be reversed unless the user has a backup.

Finally, some data loss occurs due to circumstances outside the user’s control. For example, losing an iPhone device, whether it is stolen or misplaced, results in data loss. Natural disasters like fires or floods can also damage iPhone devices and make data recovery extremely difficult or impossible (Source).

Data Recovery Basics

There are two main approaches to recovering lost data from an iPhone: software and hardware methods. Software recovery utilizes data recovery apps and tools to scan the iPhone’s storage and extract recoverable data. Some examples of software recovery tools include Tenorshare UltData, Fonelab, and iPhone Data Recovery. The main advantage of software recovery is convenience – you can use the tools remotely to scan and recover data without handing over your device. However, software recovery may not work if the device is seriously damaged or unable to power on.

Hardware recovery involves disassembling the iPhone and removing the flash memory chip inside to extract data using specialized devices. The chip is connected to a hardware recovery system that can read its raw contents bit-by-bit to recover data. While complex and invasive, hardware methods can recover data even from badly damaged iPhones. The process requires technical expertise and is generally more expensive than software recovery. The main companies offering iPhone hardware data recovery include DriveSavers, Kroll Ontrack, and Secure Data Recovery.

In summary, software recovery is easier and more affordable, but may fail if the iPhone is damaged. Hardware recovery is complex but can retrieve data when software cannot, making it the last resort for lost data.

Recovering from iCloud Backup

One of the easiest ways to recover deleted files on an iPhone is by using a recent iCloud backup. iCloud automatically backs up your iPhone data including photos, messages, contacts, and more. As long as you had iCloud Backup enabled before the data was deleted, you can restore from that backup to get the lost files back.

To recover deleted files from an iCloud backup:

  1. Go to and login to your account
  2. Click on the Photos icon or the Manage Storage link
  3. Find the desired backup from the list and click on it
  4. Click Restore to recover the data from that backup

With an iCloud backup, you can restore your entire iPhone data or cherry pick certain data types like photos or contacts. Keep in mind the backup needs to be fairly recent in order to contain the deleted files. iCloud backs up daily when your device is charging and connected to WiFi, so you should have a recent backup as long as you’ve been actively using your iPhone.

Restoring from iCloud is one of the simplest ways to recover recently deleted iPhone data. Just make sure you had iCloud Backup enabled prior to losing the data. More details can be found on Apple’s support page.

Third Party Software

There are many third party apps available to help recover lost or deleted iPhone data. Two of the most popular and highly-rated options are iMyFone D-Back and iSkysoft.

iMyFone D-Back is an iOS data recovery tool that can retrieve up to 30 types of lost data from an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch without needing to backup or jailbreak the device first. It supports the latest iOS versions and a wide range of data types including messages, photos, contacts, notes, call logs and more. iMyFone D-Back has a user-friendly interface and works by scanning the device to extract residual data left behind even after deletion. It’s available for both Mac and Windows.

iSkysoft is another highly reputable data recovery suite for iOS devices. Its flagship product iSkysoft iPhone Data Recovery can recover lost data directly from an iOS device or from an iTunes or iCloud backup. Like iMyFone, it works without needing to jailbreak and supports a wide range of data types. iSkysoft also offers advanced features like recovering data from broken iOS devices and extracting WeChat history. It has cross-platform compatibility with Windows and Mac.

Both iMyFone D-Back and iSkysoft iPhone Data Recovery have free trial versions so users can test them out before purchasing a license. They also receive high marks from independent testing sites and customers for their effectiveness at recovering lost iPhone data from all common scenarios.


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Using iTunes Backup

One way to restore erased iPhone data is by using an iTunes backup. iTunes allows users to back up their iPhone to their computer. This creates a copy of the iPhone data that can later be used to restore the device if needed.

To restore from an iTunes backup on a Windows PC, first connect the iPhone to the computer using the USB cable. Open iTunes and click on the iPhone icon when it appears in the sidebar. Next, click on Summary in the horizontal menu bar and then click Restore Backup. iTunes will provide a list of available backups to choose from. Select the desired backup and click Restore. iTunes will then wipe the iPhone and restore it using the data from the chosen backup 1. Allow the process to complete and the iPhone will restart with the selected backup data restored.

Restoring from an iTunes backup requires that a backup exists. It’s important to regularly back up your iPhone data to have a restore point available if needed. Connect the iPhone to iTunes and click Back Up Now to create a current backup. Restoring data does not alter or remove the original backup files, allowing the backup to be reused if needed.

Hardware Recovery

If software-based recovery methods fail to retrieve your lost iPhone data, you may need to utilize professional data recovery services that repair the phone’s hardware. Hardware issues like a damaged logic board, broken phone screen, water damage, or faulty charge port can prevent software data recovery methods from working properly. In these cases, you’ll need to mail your iPhone to a reputable data recovery company like DriveSavers or Secure Data Recovery. Their engineers can repair the hardware issues and use proprietary tools and techniques to extract data directly from the iPhone’s memory chips or storage. While hardware data recovery can be more expensive, starting at $500-1200, it may be the only option to recover irreplaceable data from a physically damaged device. Just be sure to choose a reputable company with a high success rate, security guarantees, and experience recovering data from iPhones.

Preventing Data Loss

There are several steps you can take to prevent losing data on your iPhone in the first place:

Enable automatic iCloud backups – One of the easiest ways to safeguard your data is to enable automatic backups to iCloud. As long as your iPhone is connected to WiFi, it will automatically backup your photos, messages, contacts and more. You can enable this under Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup.

Use screen protectors – Investing in a high-quality screen protector can help prevent cracked or damaged screens, which could result in data loss. Look for tempered glass protectors that are case-friendly.

Update iOS regularly – Apple releases regular iOS updates that include security patches and bug fixes. Keep your iPhone’s operating system up to date to protect against potential exploits.

Enable Find My iPhone – The Find My iPhone feature lets you remotely lock or erase your device if it’s ever lost or stolen. This helps prevent unauthorized access to your data. Enable this under Settings > [Your Name] > Find My.

Avoid jailbreaking – Jailbreaking your iPhone bypasses Apple’s security features, potentially exposing your device and data to malware and other risks. Avoid jailbreaking to keep your data more secure.

Manage app permissions – Be selective when granting app permissions to access your contacts, photos, camera and location. Only enable what is absolutely necessary to limit potential misuse.

Use strong passcodes – Always set a strong alphanumeric passcode on your iPhone. Avoid easy to guess number sequences. You can configure this under Settings > Face ID & Passcode.

Recovering Specific Data Types

When data is deleted from an iPhone, it is not immediately erased. There is still a chance to recover recently deleted items like messages, photos, notes, contacts, and more before they are permanently overwritten. Here are some tips for recovering specific data types on an iPhone:

To recover deleted text messages: Go to the Messages app and tap ‘Edit’ in the top left corner. Then tap ‘Show Recently Deleted’ to view messages that have been recently deleted. Tap and hold a message thread and select ‘Recover’ to restore it (Source).

To recover deleted photos: Open the Photos app and go to the Albums tab. Scroll down and tap ‘Recently Deleted’ to view photos that were recently removed. Select the photos you want to recover and tap ‘Recover’ in the bottom right corner.

To recover notes: Open the Notes app and look for a ‘Recently Deleted’ folder, which contains any notes deleted in the past 30 days. Tap on a note to recover it.

For contacts, calendar events, reminders and more: Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups and tap on your device backup. Select ‘Restore Data’ and tap the data types you want to recover.

Restoring from an iTunes or iCloud backup is the most comprehensive way to recover deleted data from various apps. Just be sure the backup was made prior to the deletion.

When Data Can’t be Recovered

In some cases, erased iPhone data may be unrecoverable due to encryption or physical device damage. For example, if an iPhone is encrypted with a passcode, performing a factory reset without disabling the passcode first will make the data permanently inaccessible (Stellar 2023). The encryption protects against unauthorized access, but it also prevents recovery even with specialized software. Likewise, significant physical damage like a smashed screen or water damage can destroy components required to access memory chips where data is stored (Easeus 2023).

Other situations where erased data is likely gone for good include:

  • Overwriting the data by recording new content like photos, video, or app data
  • Performing a full factory reset and letting the phone write over all previously used memory space
  • Restoring or updating the OS, which clears all user data

So in summary, enabling encryption, allowing physical damage, restoring the operating system, and overwriting old data with new content can all make recovery impossible. The only sure way to permanently destroy all data is to combine wiping the device with these irreversible processes.