How can I recover data from a completely broken iPhone?

Losing data due to a broken iPhone can be devastating. Photos, videos, contacts, notes, and other irreplaceable information may suddenly become inaccessible. While a broken phone is frustrating, the real loss is the personal data trapped inside. That’s why recovering the data from a damaged device is so important.

This guide will explain the various options for retrieving data from a broken iPhone. We’ll cover professional data recovery services, DIY software solutions, and recovering data from iCloud backups. Whether your iPhone screen is cracked, water damaged, or completely destroyed, there are ways to salvage your files. With some persistence and the right tools, you can rescue your precious data.

Assess the Damage

The first step is to thoroughly inspect your iPhone and determine the extent of the damage. Look for any signs of liquid exposure or corrosion, such as moisture in the charging port or headphone jack. Also check for cracks or scratches on the screen and external housing.

To check for water damage, look for the liquid contact indicator (LCI). This is a small red sticker located inside the SIM card slot. If it has turned pink or white, that indicates water exposure (source). If the LCI is triggered, there is likely corrosion damage even if the device still powers on.

For screen damage, check if the screen turns on and displays an image. Look for cracked glass, dead pixels, or screen distortion. Use the touchscreen to see if it still responds. Significant screen damage can make data recovery challenging.

Document any scratches, dents, or cracks on the phone’s external housing. Severe physical damage can sometimes damage internal components and make data recovery unsuccessful.

The more extensive the damage, the lower the odds of DIY data recovery. But inspecting your device helps determine which recovery options remain viable.

Backup Options

If you had an iPhone backup either in iCloud or through iTunes on your computer, you may be able to recover data from that backup, even if your iPhone is now broken or wiped. iCloud automatically backs up your iPhone daily when connected to WiFi and power, unless you have disabled it. iTunes can also be configured to regularly back up your iPhone when synced to your computer.

To recover data from an iCloud backup, you can sign into and see if there are any available backups listed under Manage Storage. Select the most recent backup and click Restore to restore it to your current iPhone or a new one. Just make sure you have enough iCloud storage available for the restore. According to [url=””]this article on Where are iPhone backups stored?[/url], iCloud backups are accessible from any device by signing into your iCloud account.

For an iTunes backup, connect your iPhone to the computer you normally sync with and open iTunes. Go to Preferences > Devices and see if your iPhone backup is listed under Backups. Select the backup and click Restore to restore it to your current or new iPhone. The backup files are usually stored in the iTunes folder on your computer. Just be sure not to delete or overwrite these backup files, as they may be your only route to recovering data from a broken iPhone.

Professional Data Recovery

If your iPhone is completely broken or has suffered catastrophic damage such as severe water damage, you may need to turn to professional data recovery services. Professional iPhone data recovery experts have sophisticated tools and clean room facilities to safely disassemble devices and retrieve data from damaged components.

Professional services should only be considered when DIY software solutions are unsuccessful or not feasible given the extent of damage. These services are best for recovering data after:

  • Severe water or liquid damage that has caused corrosion to internal components
  • Physical damage where the phone won’t power on at all
  • Any damage where the phone cannot establish a connection through the charging port
  • Situations where you already attempted DIY solutions without success

Reputable iPhone data recovery services have high success rates, even from catastrophic damage. However, the process can be expensive, ranging from $300 to over $1000 depending on the severity. Be sure to research companies thoroughly, read reviews, and understand any guarantees before mailing your device off.

DIY Software Solutions

Fortunately, there are several DIY software solutions available to recover data from a damaged or broken iPhone. These tools provide an easy way for everyday users to attempt retrieving their lost data and files without an expert’s help.

One highly recommended DIY iPhone recovery software is Ontrack. This tool can restore data directly from iCloud and iTunes backups. It provides an intuitive interface that makes it simple for anyone to recover their photos, messages, contacts, and other critical iPhone data.

Another top DIY software option is Magoshare iPhone Data Recovery. This program quickly scans iOS devices to rescue lost or deleted data. It works directly on the iPhone to extract recoverable data, even without a backup. The software supports the latest iPhone models and iOS versions.

Overall, DIY iPhone data recovery software provides a convenient starting point to attempt recovering files yourself before turning to professional help. With powerful utilities like Ontrack and Magoshare, users have a fighting chance at data recovery on their own without advanced technical skills.

Recover Data from iCloud

One of the best ways to recover lost data from a broken iPhone is by using an iCloud backup. iCloud automatically backs up your iPhone data including contacts, messages, photos, notes, and more – as long as you have iCloud Backup enabled in your settings. Here are the steps to recover iPhone data from iCloud:

1. Go to and sign in with your Apple ID.

2. Click on the Settings icon and select iCloud.

3. Under Apps, scroll down and check if there is a backup of your iPhone data available. Select the most recent backup.

4. Click on Restore to device and select your iPhone from the dropdown menu. This will restore your iCloud backup to your iPhone, retrieving lost data and content.

If you don’t see a recent iCloud backup available, you can try checking under Manage Storage to see if an older backup exists that you can restore from. iCloud retains backups for up to 120 days as long as you have enough available storage.

Restoring from an iCloud backup is the easiest way to get back lost photos, messages, contacts and more on your iPhone. Just make sure you have iCloud Backup enabled in Settings > Your Name > iCloud on your iPhone so you have regular backups.

From Broken Screen

If your iPhone has a cracked or damaged screen that is preventing you from unlocking it and accessing data normally, there are a few options to try and recover your data:

First, you can connect your iPhone to a computer and see if you can access it through iTunes or Finder. When connected, you may be able to view and recover data and files even if the screen is damaged. Just connect the iPhone and click “Trust” if prompted.

You can also try using an external keyboard. Connect a Bluetooth keyboard to your iPhone and try entering your passcode blindly to unlock the device. Once unlocked with the keyboard, you may be able to recover data through iTunes.

Third party repair shops can sometimes replace just the screen, allowing you to access the phone again to get your data off. Prices vary, but may be under $100 for a basic screen replacement.

As a last resort, you may need to rely on a professional data recovery service. They use specialized tools to access and read data off the logic board even if the screen is damaged. For example, DriveSavers offers iPhone data recovery from $500-600 if you cannot access the phone normally.

The key is to avoid doing anything further to damage the phone and work through these options to access the phone and recover your data.

From Water Damage

Recovering data from an iPhone that has been exposed to water is possible in some cases but can be very difficult or impossible in others. The sooner you act after water exposure, the better your chances.

If the iPhone was only exposed to small amounts of water and was quickly dried out, data may still be recoverable by connecting it to a computer and using data recovery software like Dr.Fone (source). Turn the iPhone off immediately after water exposure and do not try charging it.

For more significant water damage, disassembling the iPhone yourself to dry internal components can possibly allow data recovery, but this is risky if you don’t know what you’re doing (source). Best to take it to a professional data recovery service.

If the iPhone was fully submerged, left to sit in water, or shows signs of corrosion, data recovery becomes much less likely. The water can short circuit and damage components needed to access the data. At this point, professional data recovery services may still help but cannot guarantee success (source).

The longer the iPhone sits in water and corrosion builds up, the lower your chances. Acting quickly is essential. For any water damage, recovery should be attempted as soon as possible before permanent damage occurs.

Without Backup

When no iPhone backup exists, data recovery becomes more challenging but is still possible in many cases. According to research from AppGeeker, iPhone data can often be recovered without a backup by using data recovery software or leveraging cloud syncing services.

Third party software like Tenorshare UltData is designed to scan iOS devices directly to extract recoverable data, without needing an existing backup. This can rescue photos, messages, contacts, notes, and other file types from a damaged iPhone. DIY data recovery software provides an affordable option when backups are unavailable.

For users who enabled iCloud syncing on their iPhone, it may be possible to restore at least some data from iCloud. iCloud stores backups as well as synced data like contacts and photos, which can potentially be retrieved and transferred to a new device.

Recovering data without a backup takes some effort but can help rescue irreplaceable data. Software tools and cloud syncing provide pathways, even when no backup exists.


There are a few key options for recovering data from a broken iPhone covered in this guide. First, try connecting the iPhone to a computer and accessing backups through iTunes or iCloud. For software backups, third-party recovery software may be able to retrieve deleted data even from a broken phone. If the damage is beyond DIY repairs, professional data recovery services can attempt to recover data from an iPhone in any state, but this can get very expensive. Before cracking open a broken iPhone, always try repairs through Apple or an authorized service provider. If the phone won’t turn on or connect at all, professional recovery is likely the only option. In a worst case with severe water damage or other physical destruction, even professionals may not be able to recover the data.

The best way to avoid data loss from a broken iPhone is prevention – routinely backing up important photos, messages, and other data either to iCloud or a computer. But if your phone is already broken, this guide summarizes the main options to attempt recovering those precious personal items and get your digital life back.