Is it possible to recover iPhone photos after factory reset?

Losing photos stored on your iPhone can be devastating, especially if you have irreplaceable memories that are gone forever. Many iPhone users have experienced the horror of accidentally resetting their device to factory settings, only to realize afterward that all their photos were wiped out in the process.

The good news is that, in many cases, it is possible to recover deleted iPhone photos after a factory reset. While the recovery process requires some effort and the right tools, you have a decent chance of getting your photos back if you act quickly and methodically.

Can You Recover Photos After iPhone Factory Reset?

Yes, it is often possible to recover deleted photos from your iPhone even after a factory reset. When you reset your iPhone, the photos are not immediately erased from the device’s storage. Instead, the links to those photo files are removed from the iPhone’s file system index. The actual photo data remains on the iPhone’s storage until it gets overwritten by new data.

As long as you avoid using your iPhone too much after the reset, specialized data recovery software can scan the device’s storage and rebuild the file system index. This makes it possible to recover deleted photos, provided the photo data still exists and has not yet been overwritten.

How Does iPhone Photo Recovery Software Work?

iPhone photo recovery software works by scanning the raw data on your iPhone’s storage and looking for photo file signatures. When it finds these signatures, it can rebuild the paths and file system links to those photo files. However, this process becomes less successful the more you actively use the iPhone after the reset.

Here is a general overview of how iPhone photo recovery software restores deleted photos after a factory reset:

  1. The software scans the raw data on your device’s storage, looking for photo file signatures.
  2. When photo signatures are found, the file system links can be rebuilt.
  3. The software reconstructs the paths and filenames of the deleted photos.
  4. Once the file system links are restored, the photos can be recovered.

Advanced photo recovery software utilizes complex algorithms to comb through the raw storage data and extract maximum information. This allows for deep scanning to uncover photos that may seem unrecoverable.

Steps to Recover Deleted iPhone Photos After Factory Reset

If you have performed a factory reset on your iPhone and want to get your lost photos back, follow these general steps:

  1. Avoid using the iPhone – The less you use the iPhone, the better chance your photos can be recovered. Using the device creates new data that can overwrite your deleted files.
  2. Download iPhone data recovery software – Obtain a trusted iOS photo recovery program and install it on your computer. Top choices include iSkysoft, EaseUS, Stellar, and Disk Drill.
  3. Connect the iPhone to your computer – Use the iPhone’s USB cable and connect it to the computer where your recovery software is installed. You may need to put the iPhone in recovery mode first.
  4. Scan the iPhone with the software – Select your iPhone drive and scan it using the recovery software. This can take some time depending on storage size.
  5. Preview and recover photos – Once the scan finishes, preview the found photos. Select those you want to recover and restore them to your computer.

The best recovery results come from using the iPhone as little as possible after the factory reset before scanning it. This gives you the maximum chance of finding unsaved data.

Can You Recover Photos Without Software?

It is very difficult and unlikely for you to restore deleted iPhone photos after a factory reset without using data recovery software. The main issue is that you need specialized programs to rebuild the complex file system links to your photos.

You may be able to recover some very recent photos through iPhone backups. But if you don’t have a backup, software is necessary to rescan the device storage and rediscover photo data. This requires in-depth understanding of the iPhone’s complex file systems that only purpose-built software has.

Some methods that won’t work include:

  • Trying to find photos directly through the Photos app
  • Browsing for photo files using the iPhone’s file browser
  • Using basic data recovery apps that don’t do in-depth scans

While software has the best chance of restoring lost iPhone photos, it still doesn’t guarantee success. The results depend on factors like how much data has been overwritten.

iPhone Photo Recovery Software

Many third-party software companies have developed iOS data recovery solutions over the years. If you need to recover deleted photos from your iPhone after a factory reset, these are some of the top programs to consider:

iSkysoft Toolbox – iPhone Data Recovery

iSkysoft is a leader in iOS utility and recovery software. Their iPhone Data Recovery tool can restore lost photos, messages, contacts and more. It features advanced scanning to find residual data on your iPhone even after a reset.

  • 600+ file formats supported
  • Recovers data lost from reset, OS update, jailbreak, etc.
  • Advanced scanning algorithms
  • Easy-to-use interface

EaseUS MobiSaver

MobiSaver by EaseUS specializes in restoring lost data from iOS devices. It supports iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Key features include:

  • Deep scanning of iPhone storage
  • Extract photos, messages, notes, etc.
  • GIF preview of recoverable photos
  • Sorting by file type

Stellar Data Recovery

Stellar offers robust data recovery solutions for both iOS and Android platforms. Key capabilities of their iOS photo recovery include:

  • Scans storage sector-by-sector
  • Previews recoverable photos
  • Filters by image/video formats
  • Supports all iPhone/iPad/iPod models

Stellar also offers free demo scans so you can preview recoverable data before purchasing.

Disk Drill

Disk Drill features powerful deleted file recovery tools for desktop, mobile and more. Its iOS recovery capabilities include:

  • Recovers data after factory reset
  • Scans internal and external drives
  • Previews files before recovery
  • Protects data with Recovery Vault

Disk Drill receives high marks for its intuitive design and scanning/preview speed.

Top Tips for iPhone Photo Recovery

To maximize your chances of recovering deleted iPhone photos after a factory reset, keep these tips in mind:

  • Act quickly – The sooner you run a recovery scan, the better.
  • Avoid overwriting data – Don’t use the iPhone more than necessary before scanning.
  • Close open apps – This prevents new data from being generated.
  • Scan thoroughly – Do multiple deep scans if needed to find all recoverable files.
  • Preview before recovery – View found files before restoring to avoid duplicates.

Following these best practices will give you the optimal chance of getting back lost photos from your factory reset iPhone.

Can You Recover Photos After Restore?

Yes, the process for recovering deleted iPhone photos after a restore is virtually the same as after a factory reset.

Restoring an iPhone through iTunes or Finder effectively performs a factory reset and wipes the device back to default settings. Any photos not properly backed up will be deleted.

However, as long as you avoid overwriting the storage data, photo recovery software should be able to find deleted image files and restore them. The same precautions and recovery process apply.

Can You Recover Photos After Update?

It’s also possible in many cases to recover deleted photos from your iPhone after an iOS update.

Major iOS updates like upgrading to iOS 16 can sometimes corrupt photo files or change file system structures. This can make photos inaccessible even though they still exist on the device storage.

Using data recovery software, you can scan an iPhone after an update and restore photos that were lost or corrupted in the process. The most important thing is not to overwrite the storage before running a scan.

How Long After Reset Before Photos Are Gone?

There is no set timeframe after which deleted photos are guaranteed to be gone forever after a factory reset.

A lot depends on how much and what type of data is written to the iPhone’s storage subsequent to the reset. Photos and other files are not erased immediately – they simply become inaccessible as the file system links are destroyed.

Heavier iPhone usage after a reset increases the chance of older deleted files getting overwritten by new data. But recovery is still often possible even days or weeks after, unless the device storage has filled up with new data.

Can iPhone Backups Recover Reset Photos?

If you have a backup of your iPhone from before the factory reset, you may be able to recover some deleted photos from it.

However, keep in mind that iPhone backups through iCloud or iTunes often do not contain all your device data and photos. So relying on backups alone is unlikely to completely restore photos lost due to reset.

For maximum recovery, use photo recovery software to scan the actual device storage and extract as much recoverable data as possible. Then you can attempt retrieving additional photos from your last backup.

Can You Recover Photos Without iCloud Backup?

Yes, you can recover deleted iPhone photos without an iCloud backup.

As mentioned, iCloud backups are incomplete, so relying on them alone will not recover all lost data. The most effective way is to use a dedicated photo recovery app to directly scan your iPhone.

These apps work directly on the iPhone’s storage itself – they do not need any backups. So even without an iCloud backup, specialized software can often restore deleted photos by rebuilding file system links.

Can Factory Reset Photos Be Recovered From iCloud?

If you have iCloud Photos enabled, some deleted photos may be recoverable from iCloud after a factory reset.

iCloud Photos automatically uploads pictures from your iPhone to the cloud. So it can serve as a way to retrieve photos lost after a reset.

However, iCloud Photos is not a complete photo backup, so it will not have all your images. You should use photo recovery software to extract everything possible directly from the iPhone first.

Is iPhone Storage Erased After Factory Reset?

No, a factory reset does not immediately or completely erase all data from your iPhone’s storage. The storage is not wiped clean after a reset.

Instead, a factory reset erases the file system index on the storage. This index tells the operating system where photos, apps, and other files are located. When this index is wiped, those files become inaccessible.

However, the actual photo data still remains on the storage until it gets overwritten. By scanning this raw storage, recovery software can restore lost photos by rebuilding the file system index.


It is often possible to recover deleted photos from an iPhone even after a factory reset – provided the data has not been overwritten. Specialized iOS photo recovery software can scan the device’s raw storage and rebuild the paths to lost photo files.

To maximize success:

  • Avoid using the iPhone after the reset
  • Use trustworthy recovery software to scan the device thoroughly
  • Act quickly before storage data gets overwritten

With the right tools and technique, you have a decent chance of restoring your lost iPhone photos and memories even after a disastrous factory reset.