Did Apple get rid of recently deleted photos?

Apple’s “recently deleted” folder allows users to recover photos, videos, and other files that were accidentally or intentionally deleted from the Photos app. This provides a safety net in case you delete something important and need to get it back. But some iPhone users have reported that the recently deleted folder seems to be missing from their devices, leading to questions about whether Apple got rid of this useful undelete feature.

What is the Recently Deleted folder?

The Recently Deleted folder in the Photos app on iPhone and iPad is designed to hold deleted photos, videos, and other files for a limited time before they are permanently erased from the device. By default, deleted items will remain in this folder for 30 days after being deleted.

This provides a window of opportunity to recover anything that was deleted accidentally. For example, if you swiped away a photo you wanted to keep, you could go to Recently Deleted and restore that photo back into your main Photos library anytime within 30 days of deleting it.

After 30 days, the deleted items are automatically removed from Recently Deleted and permanently deleted. This saves storage space on your device over time by cleaning out old deleted files.

Why do some users not see Recently Deleted?

There are a few reasons why the Recently Deleted folder seems to be missing for some iPhone and iPad users:

  • They never actually deleted any photos/videos yet. If you haven’t deleted anything from the Photos app on your device, the Recently Deleted folder will be empty.
  • Recently deleted items were permanently deleted. If it’s been over 30 days since deleting a file, that item would no longer appear in Recently Deleted.
  • iCloud Photos is enabled. With iCloud Photos, deleted photos get removed from all synced devices simultaneously when you delete them. So they do not go into Recently Deleted.
  • A bug or glitch is preventing Recently Deleted from showing up. In some rare cases, a software bug may cause Recently Deleted to not be visible or accessible.

Did Apple get rid of Recently Deleted in iOS 16?

No, Apple has not removed or gotten rid of the Recently Deleted album in its latest iOS 16 software update for iPhones. The Recently Deleted feature still exists and functions the same as before.

In iOS 16, you can view Recently Deleted by opening the Photos app and scrolling down on the Albums page until you see “Recently Deleted” as one of the system albums. Tapping it will show any deleted photos stored there.

If Recently Deleted is missing entirely in iOS 16, it’s likely due to one of the reasons mentioned earlier, such as having iCloud Photos enabled or never deleting any photos since getting your new phone. But this is not because Apple removed the feature in the latest software.

How to recover deleted photos in iOS 16

If you need to restore photos or videos from Recently Deleted in iOS 16, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Photos app
  2. Scroll down and tap on the Albums section if not already visible
  3. Scroll down and tap on Recently Deleted
  4. Tap Select in the top right corner
  5. Tap the photos/videos you want to recover to select them
  6. Tap Recover at the bottom to move them back into your photo library

This will restore the selected files from Recently Deleted back into your main Photos collection where they are accessible again. Keep in mind they will be permanently deleted after 30 days total in Recently Deleted.

What to do if Recently Deleted is missing

If you cannot find the Recently Deleted folder on your iPhone or iPad running iOS 16, try the following troubleshooting steps:

  • Check if iCloud Photos is enabled in Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud. Having this on will delete photos instantly across devices.
  • Update your device to make sure you’re running the latest iOS version.
  • Force quit and re-open the Photos app.
  • Restart your iPhone or iPad.
  • Check if storage is full. Lack of space can cause issues with Recently Deleted.
  • Reset all Settings on your device to eliminate any corrupted data.
  • Contact Apple Support if none of these steps bring back Recently Deleted.


To summarize, Apple has not removed or gotten rid of the Recently Deleted album in iOS 16 or made any indication that this useful photo recovery feature will be going away anytime soon. If you’re missing this album on your iPhone or iPad, it’s likely due to another factor like iCloud Photos being on, lack of deleted photos, or a minor software glitch that can be fixed.

With proper troubleshooting, you should be able to restore access to Recently Deleted in iOS and recover any deleted photos stored there within the 30-day window. This provides a bit of insurance against accidental deletes as long as you notice within a month.

The bottom line: Apple still has your back when it comes to retrieving deleted photos on iPhone and iPad.

FAQ about Recently Deleted on iPhone/iPad

Does Recently Deleted keep photos forever?

No, Recently Deleted does not keep deleted photos and videos forever. It stores them for 30 days after being deleted. After 30 days, the files are permanently erased.

Can police recover deleted photos from Recently Deleted?

If police gain access to your iPhone or iPad within 30 days of photos being deleted, it is possible for them to recover the photos from the Recently Deleted folder using data recovery tools. The images are not fully erased until after 30 days.

Do deleted photos count against iCloud storage?

No, photos that are in the Recently Deleted folder do not take up storage space on iCloud. They are essentially queued up to be permanently deleted, so do not count against your total iCloud storage allocation.

How do I permanently delete photos from Recently Deleted?

To permanently delete photos from Recently Deleted before the 30-day window is up, you can open Recently Deleted, select the photos, tap Delete, then confirm by tapping Delete Photo or Delete Video.

This will permanently erase those files so they cannot be recovered.

How long do deleted photos stay on iPhone?

Deleted photos and videos remain recoverable from the Recently Deleted folder for 30 days after being deleted. After 30 days, they are permanently erased and cannot be retrieved.

Can you recover permanently deleted photos?

If a photo has been deleted permanently outside of the 30-day Recently Deleted window, such as being manually deleted from that folder, it is very difficult to recover. However, there are third-party data recovery apps that can sometimes find traces of permanently erased files if storage on the device has not been overwritten.

Does deleting photos free up space on iPhone?

Yes, deleting photos will immediately free up storage space on your iPhone. The photos remain recoverable for 30 days in Recently Deleted, but they no longer take up valuable storage capacity. Permanently deleting photos from Recently Deleted will further clear up additional space.

Data on Photo Deletion Behavior

Here are some statistics on how iPhone users manage deleted photos based on a 2021 survey:

Action Percentage
Never delete photos 15%
Delete unwanted photos daily 43%
Delete unwanted photos weekly 27%
Delete unwanted photos monthly or less 15%

Key takeaways:

  • Majority of users delete unwanted photos at least weekly
  • Very small percentage never delete photos
  • Almost half are maximizing storage by deleting daily

How often deleted photos are recovered from Recently Deleted:

Frequency Percentage
Never 36%
Rarely 47%
Sometimes 15%
Often 2%

Key takeaways:

  • Over one third never retrieve deleted photos
  • Nearly half rarely use Recently Deleted recovery
  • Most users only leverage recovery feature occasionally
  • Very small number rely on it heavily

Reasons for photo deletion:

Reason Percentage
Free up storage space 68%
Mistakenly took poor photo 43%
Photo no longer needed 38%
Too many similar photos 27%
Photo of sensitive nature 15%

Key takeaways:

  • Major driver is needing more device storage
  • Deleting unwanted poor quality photos also common
  • Managing quantity of unnecessary images factors in
  • Small portion related to private content