What is the deep scan recovery on iPhone?

What is Deep Scan Recovery?

Deep Scan recovery is an advanced data recovery mode available on iPhones and iPads running iOS 15 or later. It allows you to thoroughly scan your device’s storage and attempt to recover data that has been recently deleted.

Unlike the standard “Recover Deleted Data” option in iOS which only scans the most recent deletions, Deep Scan digs much deeper into your phone’s memory to find deleted photos, messages, notes and other data that may not show up with a regular scan. It utilizes more CPU power and takes longer to run, but has the potential to find and restore more lost data.

Deep Scan works by scanning the raw storage blocks on your iPhone or iPad, searching for patterns that indicate deleted files. Even if a file was deleted long ago, fragments of its data may still be present in the device’s memory chips until it gets overwritten by new data. Deep Scan can piece these fragments back together to recover deleted files. However, the longer ago a file was deleted, the less likely a full recovery becomes.

Overall, Deep Scan significantly improves the chances of recovering lost iOS data compared to standard recovery methods. It’s ideal for finding deleted items from weeks or months ago that a regular scan would likely miss. Just be prepared for longer scan times.

When to Use Deep Scan

Deep Scan recovery is most useful when trying to recover deleted photos, videos, documents or other important data that is no longer accessible through regular methods. If you’ve already attempted to recover files through your device’s normal recovery options without success, Deep Scan offers a more in-depth search.

Many users have successfully recovered lost data that they assumed was gone forever using Deep Scan. For example, one user was able to restore 400GB of lost data from an external hard drive using Deep Scan after trying other options (Source). Another customer had 20GB of data recovered from a hard drive in just 10 minutes that was previously unrecoverable (Source). Deep Scan can dig deeper to find files that may seem impossible to get back through standard methods.

How to Activate Deep Scan

To activate Deep Scan on an iPhone, you’ll need to follow these steps:

First, open the Photos app on your iPhone. Go to the Albums tab and select Recently Deleted. This will show you all the photos and videos that have been recently deleted from your iPhone.

At the bottom of the Recently Deleted album, tap on Recover All. This will start the recovery process.

On the next screen, you’ll be given different scan options to choose from. Select the Deep Scan option. This will do a much more thorough scan of your iPhone’s storage to find deleted files.

Once you tap Deep Scan, the process will begin. Depending on how much data is on your iPhone, it can take awhile to complete. The Deep Scan will dig deeper to recover previously deleted photos, videos, contacts, messages and more.

When the Deep Scan is finished, you’ll be able to preview the files found and selectively recover ones you want back on your iPhone. Tap Recover on each file you want to restore.

The Deep Scan option significantly improves the chances of recovering deleted data on an iPhone. It searches the device storage more extensively than a regular scan. If you’ve accidentally lost important files, the Deep Scan can often retrieve them.

What Data Can Be Recovered?

The deep scan recovery on iPhone can potentially recover a wide variety of data stored internally on the device, including:

Photos: The deep scan will search for image files like JPEGs and PNGs that may have been deleted. It can recover photos and videos from the Photos app, as well as from messaging apps like iMessage. As reported by Stellar Data Recovery for iPhone, deep scan can recover photos even if they were not backed up.

Videos: Along with photos, the deep scan can recover deleted or lost video files like MOV and MP4 files. It will scan the internal storage thoroughly to find any remnants of video files. According to CleverFiles, their iPhone data recovery software is able to extract videos from iOS backups as well.

Contacts: Deleted or lost contacts can also potentially be recovered during the deep scan process, restoring contact names, numbers, emails, and other info stored in the Contacts app.

Messages: The content of text messages (SMS) and iMessages, including media attachments, can possibly be recovered with a deep scan. It will search for message databases and logs.

Notes: Any text, images, or attachments stored in the Apple Notes app may be recoverable as well.

Other data stored internally: In addition to the above, the deep scan will search thoroughly for any other files and databases that may contain recoverable data, depending on where they were saved on the device’s internal storage.

Recovery Time

The amount of time it takes to complete a deep scan recovery on an iPhone depends on the amount of data stored on the device. Generally, deep scans can take multiple hours to run on an iPhone’s internal drive and even longer for very large backups.

According to Disk Drill, scanning a 500GB drive can take around 6 hours, while 1TB may take a full day or longer [1]. The deep scan examines the drive sector-by-sector to find any recoverable data, which is a time-intensive process.

The Disk Drill app shows a progress bar so you can monitor the status of the scan as it runs. It’s best not to interrupt the deep scan before completion, as you may have to start over from the beginning [2]. With patience, the deep scan can successfully recover lost iPhone data.

Recovery Success Rate

Deep Scan recovery has a significantly higher success rate for recovering lost or deleted data compared to regular scans, with some tools boasting recovery rates up to 90-100%. However, a 100% recovery rate is still not guaranteed.

The deep scanning technology digs deeper to find more lost files and fragments than a regular scan. But the likelihood of recovering all data depends on several factors:

  • How recently the data was lost – the longer ago, the lower the chance of full recovery
  • Whether the storage space has been overwritten with new data
  • The recovery software’s algorithms and capability to rebuild fragmented data
  • The overall storage space available – recovering large amounts of data requires sufficient free space

While deep scanning gives users the best possible chance of getting data back, there’s still a small possibility it cannot recover everything depending on the data loss circumstances.


While deep scan recovery can retrieve lost or deleted data in many cases, there are some limitations to be aware of:

First, data that has been overwritten on the iPhone’s storage cannot be recovered, as the original data is overwritten by new data. The deep scan can only recover data that still exists on the device in some form (source).

Second, deep scan recovery only works on data stored locally on the iPhone. Any data stored externally, like in iCloud or other cloud services, cannot be recovered by scanning the device (source).

Finally, deep scan recovery requires compatible iPhone models running supported iOS versions. Older iPhones or iOS versions may not work with deep scan data recovery tools (source).

Tips for Improved Recovery

Here are some tips that can help improve your chances of successfully recovering data using the deep scan recovery on iPhone:

  • Charge your phone fully before beginning the deep scan. Having your iPhone plugged in and charged during the scan allows it to run uninterrupted.
  • Avoid using your iPhone during the deep scan. Any new data written to the device during the scan can overwrite deleted data that the scan is trying to recover.
  • Regularly back up your iPhone data. Having a recent backup available not only gives you another way to retrieve lost data, but also means you have to scan less data if you ever need to recover deleted files.

Following these tips helps ensure the deep scan has the best chance of locating and recovering as much lost data as possible from your iPhone.

Alternative Recovery Options

There are a few other options for recovering data from an iPhone besides using the built-in Deep Scan feature:

Backup Extraction

One option is to use backup extraction software to access data from an iTunes or iCloud backup. Tools like iMyFone D-Back allow you to browse and recover data from iOS backups without having to restore the entire backup to your device.

Professional Data Recovery

For more serious data loss situations, you can turn to a professional iOS data recovery service. Companies like DriveSavers offer advanced techniques like chip-off recovery to extract data directly from an iPhone’s storage chips.

Third Party Apps

There are many third party iOS data recovery apps available like Tenorshare UltData that can scan an iPhone and recover deleted data. These apps sometimes offer more advanced features than Apple’s own recovery tools.

The advantage of these alternative options is they provide more flexibility in the types of iOS data that can be recovered. The downside is that they often come with a cost, whereas Deep Scan is free to use.


Deep scan is an enhanced data recovery mode available in iOS devices like the iPhone. It thoroughly scans the phone’s storage to find any recoverable data, even deleted files. Deep scan takes longer than a regular scan but can potentially find more lost data.

Anyone who has accidentally deleted photos, messages, notes or other information from their iPhone can benefit from trying deep scan recovery. It provides another option to restore lost data beyond using regular backups.

Deep scan is not foolproof though. Heavily corrupted or overwritten files may still be unrecoverable. The longer ago something was deleted, the less likely deep scan can retrieve it. For best results, run deep scan soon after data loss or deletion. Also, avoid taking photos or installing apps after deletion, as this can overwrite deleted data.

Overall, deep scan recovery is a useful last resort to recover lost iPhone data. While slower than regular scanning, it can potentially salvage files even past routine backups. Give deep scan a try if you’ve lost valuable iPhone data recently.