If you are wondering where deleted or ‘trashed’ photos are stored on your iPhone, there are a few things to keep in mind. When you delete a photo on your iPhone, it is not immediately erased from your device. Instead, it gets moved to a hidden album called ‘Recently Deleted’.
How Long are Deleted Photos Stored in the Recently Deleted Album?
Photos that you send to the Recently Deleted album on your iPhone remain there for 30 days before being permanently erased from your device. This gives you a grace period to recover any photos that you may have deleted by accident.
So in summary:
- When you delete a photo on your iPhone, it goes to the Recently Deleted album.
- Deleted photos stay in the Recently Deleted album for 30 days.
- After 30 days, deleted photos are permanently erased from your device storage.
How to View and Recover Deleted Photos
To view and recover your recently deleted photos on an iPhone:
- Open the Photos app.
- In the bottom right corner, tap on the Albums button.
- Scroll down and tap on the ‘Recently Deleted’ album.
- This will show you all your recently deleted photos.
- Tap on a photo to preview it.
- Tap Recover to restore the photo back to your Camera Roll or other albums.
You can recover multiple deleted photos at once by selecting them and tapping Recover. Keep in mind that as time passes, the deleted photos will be permanently erased so don’t wait too long to recover anything you may want.
Permanently Deleting Photos from Recently Deleted
If you have photos in Recently Deleted that you are certain you never want to see again, you can permanently delete them before the 30-day grace period is up:
- Open the Recently Deleted album.
- Tap Select in the upper right corner.
- Tap on the photos you want to permanently delete.
- Tap on the Delete button at the bottom.
- Confirm the permanent deletion.
This will immediately and irrevocably erase those photos from your iPhone storage.
Automatically Deleting Old Deleted Photos
If you don’t want to wait the full 30 days for deleted photos to be removed from your iPhone, you can change the setting:
- Go to Settings > Photos.
- Under the Recently Deleted heading, tap on Choose Duration.
- Select a shorter duration such as 1 Day or 1 Week.
With this setting changed, deleted photos will be permanently erased from your Recently Deleted album after 1 day, 1 week, etc. instead of the standard 30 days.
Preventing Deleted Photos from Going to Recently Deleted
If you want deleted photos to be permanently erased right away instead of going to Recently Deleted, you can disable that album:
- Go to Settings > Photos.
- Turn off the toggle for Recently Deleted.
With Recently Deleted turned off, any photo you delete will be immediately and permanently erased from your device with no safety net.
Clearing Out Space by Manually Deleting from Recently Deleted
If your iPhone is running low on storage space, one way to free up room is by manually clearing out the Recently Deleted album:
- Open Recently Deleted and tap Select.
- Select all photos.
- Tap Delete to permanently erase them.
This will remove all of your recently deleted photos at once, instead of waiting for the 30-day period to expire. Just be certain that there are no deleted photos you might want to recover before doing this.
Storing Deleted Photos Only in iCloud
An alternative to having deleted photos remain on your iPhone itself is to use the iCloud Recently Deleted folder:
- Make sure iCloud Photos is enabled on your iPhone.
- Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Photos.
- Enable iCloud Recently Deleted.
Now when you delete a photo, it will be stored in iCloud’s Recently Deleted folder for 30 days rather than taking up space on your device. You can browse and recover the deleted photos using the Photos app on any linked device or iCloud.com.
Permanently Erasing All Photos and Settings
If you want to permanently erase ALL photos and settings from your iPhone and reset it to factory default settings, you can use the Reset All Content and Settings option:
- Go to Settings > General > Reset.
- Tap Reset All Content and Settings.
- Enter your passcode if prompted.
- Confirm that you want to erase all content and settings.
This will permanently delete ALL your photos, including those in Recently Deleted, along with all your settings and other content. Your device will be returned to its original out-of-the-box state. So only use this option if you are certain you want everything erased.
Other Locations for Deleted Photos
In addition to the Recently Deleted album on your iPhone, deleted photos may be stored in a few other locations:
- iCloud Recently Deleted – If you have iCloud Photos enabled, deleted photos are stored here for 30 days.
- Photo Library on a Mac – If you sync your iPhone with a Mac using the Photos app, deleted photos may be in the Recently Deleted folder there.
- Other Devices – If you sync your photos across multiple devices, deleted photos may exist on those other devices in a Recently Deleted or similar folder.
- iCloud Backup – Deleted photos may be stored for up to 40 days in an iCloud backup.
So if you can’t find deleted photos on your iPhone itself, check iCloud and any linked devices or computers to see if you have a copy there that you can recover.
Third Party Tools for Recovering Deleted Photos
If you have permanently deleted photos from your iPhone and iCloud and have no other backups, there are third party apps that can potentially help you recover them from your iPhone storage. Some options to research include:
|Recovers up to 30 types of deleted iOS data including photos, messages, contacts, notes, etc.
|Recovers deleted photos, videos, WhatsApp messages, contacts and more.
|Dr. Fone – Recover
|Recovers deleted photos/videos from device storage or iTunes/iCloud backup.
These tools scan your iPhone’s storage and attempt to reconstruct deleted files so you can recover them. This requires connecting your iPhone to a computer. The apps offer free trials so you can test them out before purchasing. However, success is not guaranteed.
Preventing Accidental Photo Deletion
To avoid having to recover deleted photos in the future, you can take steps to prevent yourself from accidentally deleting important photos:
- Enable the Recently Deleted safety net on your iPhone.
- Back up your photos regularly to iCloud or other storage.
- Be careful when selecting photos to delete.
- Avoid clearing out all photos at once.
- Consider disabling Recetly Deleted if you never want to delete photos.
Following precautions like these will minimize the chances of losing any photos you want to keep.
When you delete photos on an iPhone, they get stored in a hidden album called Recently Deleted for 30 days before being permanently erased. You can view, recover and permanently delete those photos ahead of time if desired. There are also a few ways to configure how long deleted photos are retained. And if you accidentally erase any photos, there are recovery options available through iCloud, linked devices, backups and third party software. But idealy, you can avoid needing to recover deleted photos by taking some precautions against accidental deletion. Knowing exactly where deleted photos are stored and how long they persist can give you peace of mind.