What does attempting data recovery mean on iPhone?

Data recovery on iPhones refers to the process of retrieving lost or deleted data from an iPhone. This data may include photos, messages, contacts, notes, and other personal information stored on the device. Recovering this data is important for several reasons:

First, iPhones contain a large amount of personal and irreplaceable data. Photos and videos capture important life events and memories that cannot be recreated if lost. Messaging history provides a record of conversations that may have sentimental value. Contacts and notes represent valuable reference information that would be inconvenient to lose.

Second, accidental data loss is common on iPhones. Dropping the device in water, experiencing a cracked screen, forgetting a passcode, or even updating the operating system can cause data to be deleted or inaccessible. Without data recovery, this information could be lost forever.

Finally, recovering data from an iPhone may be necessary in extreme cases like device theft or malfunction. Data recovery provides a way to regain access to important information even when the device itself is inaccessible or reset to factory settings.

In summary, attempting iPhone data recovery is often the only way to restore lost files and memories. For many users, this data is precious and irreplaceable, making data recovery capabilities essential.

Common Reasons for Data Loss

There are several common reasons why iPhone users might experience data loss:

Accidental deletion is one of the most frequent causes of data loss. It’s easy to accidentally delete important photos, notes, or other files on an iPhone. With a quick swipe or tap, data can be permanently erased if there is no backup.

iOS updates can sometimes cause issues that result in data loss. For example, bugs in a system update may cause crashing and device resetting, leading to data being wiped out.1 Updating without having a current backup is risky.

Water damage is another common culprit. iPhones are vulnerable to liquid, which can short circuit the device and make data inaccessible or even lost altogether. Things like dropping an iPhone in water, spills, etc. can all lead to data loss.

Hardware failure can also result in irretrievable data loss. Issues like a faulty logic board, bad sectors on the drive, or physical damage can all prevent access to data stored on an iPhone.2

Backup Options

There are a few different backup options available for the iPhone, which can be helpful when attempting data recovery:

iCloud Backup

iCloud backups automatically save a copy of your iPhone data to Apple’s cloud storage. This includes settings, photos, messages, and more. To enable iCloud backup, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup and turn it on. Your iPhone will back up daily when plugged in, connected to WiFi, and with the screen locked [1].

iTunes Backup

Connecting your iPhone to a computer with iTunes and selecting “Back Up Now” will create a backup of your iPhone data locally on that computer. This can be helpful if you don’t want to rely solely on iCloud storage. Make sure to encrypt your local iTunes backups for added security [2].

Third Party Apps

There are third party apps available that can back up your iPhone data either locally to your computer or to cloud storage services. These apps may give you more flexibility and options for iPhone backups beyond Apple’s tools.

Attempting Data Recovery

If your iPhone is lost or damaged and you did not have a recent backup, you may still be able to recover your data through various methods. The most common ways to attempt iPhone data recovery include:

Using Backups to Restore Data

If you had an iCloud or iTunes backup, you can use it to restore your data onto a new or replacement iPhone. Connect the new iPhone to your computer and launch iTunes. Under device preferences, select to restore from the latest iCloud or iTunes backup [1]. This will transfer your contacts, messages, photos, app data and settings.

Using Data Recovery Software

There are many third party apps like iSkysoft and EaseUS that can scan your iPhone and recover deleted files. Connect your iPhone to your computer and launch the data recovery app. It will scan the device and allow you to preview and selectively recover lost data.

Sending to a Data Recovery Service

For significant data loss without a backup, a professional data recovery service may be able to recover data directly from the iPhone’s storage. Services like DriveSavers and Secure Data Recovery can attempt recovery, but it can be expensive and success is not guaranteed.

iCloud Backup

iCloud automatically backs up your iPhone data daily when your device is connected to WiFi, plugged in, and has the screen locked. An iCloud backup includes most of your iPhone data like photos, messages, contacts, calendars, device settings and more. Some data that does not get backed up includes content purchased from iTunes and the App Store, Apple Pay information and Touch ID settings.

To restore your data from an iCloud backup, you will need to erase your iPhone first. On the Apps & Data screen during initial setup, tap “Restore from iCloud Backup” and sign in with your Apple ID. You can then choose the specific backup to restore from if you have multiple backups. The backup data will get downloaded from iCloud and restored onto your iPhone (Source).

If you restore from an iCloud backup, your iPhone data will match the state of the backup you chose. Any data created or changed after that backup was made will be erased during the restore process.

iTunes Backup

The iTunes backup process allows you to backup your iPhone data to your computer using the iTunes software. When you connect your iPhone to your computer and initiate a backup, iTunes will back up a variety of data from your iPhone [1].

Some of the key data that gets backed up includes:

  • Photos and videos
  • Contacts
  • Calendars
  • Call history
  • Messages
  • Settings and preferences

To restore your iPhone from an iTunes backup, you will need to connect your iPhone to the computer you used to create the backup. Open iTunes and follow the onscreen steps to restore your device. This will erase your iPhone and replace its contents with the data from your iTunes backup [2].

Restoring from an iTunes backup will overwrite your current iPhone data, so make sure you have a recent backup available before erasing your device.

Third Party Apps

There are several third party applications available for iPhone data recovery that have proven effective at retrieving lost or deleted data. Some of the top options include:

Dr. Fone by Wondershare – This data recovery tool has excellent reviews and touts the ability to recover up to 18 types of data from iOS devices, including contacts, messages, photos, videos, and more. Pros are that it has a high success rate of recovery and intuitive interface with both Windows and Mac versions. Cons are that it’s not free and lacks more advanced features of highest end software.


EaseUS MobiSaver for iOS – With the ability to recover over 20 file types from iOS devices, MobiSaver gets strong reviews for photo and video recovery abilities. Pros are a straightforward process, simple to use interface, and reasonable pricing. Cons are that some advanced recovery features are only in Windows version.


FoneLab iPhone Data Recovery – Focuses specifically on iOS devices and boasts of powerful scanning and recovery of lost data by type (photos, messages, contacts, etc). Reviewers mention ease of use, thorough scanning, and fast recovery. Downsides are it lacks business or enterprise features of higher end solutions.


Overall, most top third party apps like Dr. Fone, EaseUS, and FoneLab provide effective iPhone data recovery capabilities for average users, with differences in specific features, device compatibility, and pricing.

Data Recovery Services

For iPhone users who have lost crucial data and have exhausted all other options, professional data recovery services may be able to help retrieve lost files. Reputable companies like DriveSavers and Ontrack specialize in retrieving data from Apple devices when it seems irrecoverable.

These services offer forensic-level data recovery using specialized tools and techniques. The process involves taking apart the iPhone and accessing the memory chips directly to scan for recoverable data. This is often the last resort when DIY attempts and backups have failed.

Costs range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on the service level. The process can take days or weeks from initial evaluation to getting the recovered data. Success rates vary depending on factors like water damage and condition of the device.

Data Recovery Success Rates

Success rates for iPhone data recovery can vary substantially depending on the specific circumstances and method used. According to Datarecovery.com, professional data recovery services can achieve up to a 97% success rate, even for permanently damaged devices, by leveraging specialized tools and techniques like chip-off forensics. However, DIY recovery using third-party apps or backups often have lower success rates around 30-50%.

Some factors impacting success rate include:

  • Cause of data loss – Software issues have higher recovery rates than hardware problems.
  • Backup availability – Having an iCloud or iTunes backup makes recovery more likely.
  • Device condition – Damaged or waterlogged devices are harder to recover from.
  • Method used – Advanced forensics by pros score higher than basic consumer tools.

Overall, iPhone data recovery certainly isn’t guaranteed, but utilizing professional-grade tools and expertise can significantly improve the odds. Those without backups should still at least attempt DIY methods, as inexpensive software has helped many users recover lost data.


The ability to recover your lost data
is a lifeline when your
iPhone meets an untimely demise.
From hardware failures to lost devices and accidental deletions,
recovery is possible with the right tools. The first step is always attempting
the automated methods like iCloud and iTunes backup restores. With
consistent backups via these platforms, most data can be recovered
seamlessly. If that fails, third party apps and professional data
recovery services can further assist – often with high success rates. Data loss is unavoidable, but by understanding your options,
recovery is within reach. Just remember that regular backups via
iCloud, iTunes or both remain the most reliable and hassle-free option.