How do I find my photos I deleted?

If you’ve accidentally deleted photos from your phone or computer, don’t panic! There are several ways you may be able to recover deleted photos.

Check your device’s trash or recycle bin

When you delete photos on your device, they typically get moved to a trash or recycle bin rather than being permanently erased. Here’s how to check for your deleted photos:

  • On an iPhone or iPad, open the Photos app and go to the Albums tab. Scroll down and look for a “Recently Deleted” album.
  • On an Android phone or tablet, open the Google Photos app and look for the trash icon at the bottom. Tap it to view deleted items.
  • On Windows, open the Recycle Bin by right-clicking the desktop and selecting it.
  • On Mac, go to Finder > Trash to view deleted files.

If you find your photos in the trash or recycle bin, you can often restore them. Just select the photos and click “Recover” or “Restore”. Act quickly though – items in the trash are often automatically cleared out after 30 days.

Try photo recovery software

If your photos aren’t in the trash anymore, your best bet is a third-party photo recovery app. These tools scour your device’s storage to find any trace of lost image files. Some options to try:

  • Disk Drill (Mac, Windows) – Recovers up to 500MB of deleted photos for free.
  • Stellar Photo Recovery (Mac, Windows) – Has a free trial so you can see if it finds your photos before paying.
  • Remo Recover (Android, iOS) – Claims to recover lost, deleted, and formatted photos.

Run the recovery software and select your device’s hard drive or storage. With luck, it will be able to recover your deleted photos for you to save again.

Restore from an external backup

If you regularly back up your photos, you may be able to restore deleted images from an external drive or cloud storage. Connect the backup drive to your device and look for folders like “Photos” or image archives.

On iCloud, you can restore deleted photos and other iOS data through the Manage Storage page. On Google Photos, log into your account online and look in the trashbin for your deleted pictures.

Check social media and cloud syncs

Nowadays many photos get automatically backed up to social media and cloud hosting services:

  • Facebook / Instagram – Log in online and browse your uploaded photos.
  • Google Photos – Check your synced images online.
  • iCloud – Browse for your library.
  • Amazon Prime Photos – Login to view cloud backups.
  • Dropbox / OneDrive – Sign in and look in the photos folder.

If you took pictures using a digital camera, also double check if they were synced to a computer or photo organizing program like Adobe Lightroom.

Recover photos from your phone’s internal memory

Phones save photos to internal storage in addition to the SD card. You can use data recovery software to scan this internal memory for deleted photos. Options like Fonelab, EaseUS, and Stellar will locate residual image data left behind after deletion. This works even if your phone doesn’t have an SD card.

Contact your cloud storage provider

If your deleted photos were stored in the cloud, contact the cloud company directly about data recovery. Many keep backups and snapshots they can restore for a limited window of time.

For example, Google Takeout lets you request archives of deleted cloud data up to 25 days old. iCloud has Backups that can restore your entire library from the past 30 days.

Restore your phone from a previous backup

Some phones let you revert to an older system backup made before your photos were deleted. On iPhone for example, you can force a restore to a previous iCloud or iTunes backup to get your deleted photos back.

On Android, if you previously backed up apps + data through Google Drive, you may be able to restore that older version. Just be aware a full restore will revert your phone to how it was at that time.

Use file recovery software

If your deleted photos were stored on a hard drive or SSD, file recovery software may be able to retrieve them by scanning the drive sectors for anything resembling photo data. Popular options include:

  • Recuva
  • TestDisk
  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
  • Stellar Data Recovery

This method is most effective if you haven’t written any new files to the drive since deleting your photos. Overwriting existing data makes recovery much harder.

Extract photos from your phone’s backup

iTunes and Android backups aren’t directly viewable, but contain archived versions of your phone’s internal memory – including deleted photos. You can extract everything from a phone backup with tools like iExplorer and iBackup Viewer (for iPhone backups) and Nexus Tools (for Android backups).

Find photos using your cloud account

If you uploaded the deleted photos online, logging into your cloud account can reveal extra backup copies:

  • Google Photos – Photos are backed up here by default on Android.
  • iCloud – Photos on an iPhone get backed up to iCloud.
  • Amazon Photos – If you use Amazon Prime, check here.
  • Dropbox / OneDrive – You may have camera sync enabled.

Even if your local copies are deleted, cloud services often retain files for some time, letting you restore them to your device.

Recover photos from Google Photos

If you backed up photos on Google Photos, you have a few options to restore deleted pictures:

  • Find deleted photos in Trash for up to 60 days.
  • From a desktop web browser, view photos in Archive.
  • Request an archive of all Google data including photos via Google Takeout.

So unless you deleted photos from Archive, there’s a good chance Google Photos still has your deleted pictures someplace you can recover them.

Scan and rebuild corrupt photo files

If your photos are still on the disk but become corrupted, recovery software may be able to scan and rebuild them. Photorec is one of the best free photo recovery tools for this. It scans disk sectors for image data, extracts it, and reconstructs photos from fragments. Similar paid tools include:

  • Stellar Phoenix JPEG Repair
  • Remo Repair MOV
  • EaseUS Corrupted File Recovery

This helps recover photos that get corrupted or damaged due to software bugs, power outages, physical damage, etc.

Consult a data recovery service

For extensive photo deletion or hardware failure cases, a professional data recovery service may be able to help extract photos from a damaged device. They have specialized tools and clean room facilities to repair drives and read platters at a low level to find lost data.

Costs range from $300 to $3000+ depending on the complexity and storage device types. It’s expensive but sometimes the only option after major data loss and hardware failure.

Prevent deleted photos in the future

To avoid dealing with unwanted photo deletion in the future, here are some tips:

  • Enable deleted photo recovery – iPhone and Android both have this option in Settings.
  • Back up your photos – Use cloud sync or external drives for redundancies.
  • Double-check before deletion – Review photos before permanently deleting.
  • Add protections – Use passwords or locks to prevent accidental deletion.

Just getting in the habit of creating backups will save you from ever having to recover deleted photos again in the future!


While accidental photo deletion can be frustrating, in most cases you can recover your lost pictures with some effort. Always check your device’s trash and recycle bins first. Then turn to data recovery apps, backups, cloud storage, social media, and other methods.

With the right tools and techniques, you have an excellent chance of getting back even your most precious deleted photos. Just act quickly before those files get permanently overwritten or discarded!