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This article will show you how to retrieve your photos if you have accidentally (or not so accidentally) deleted them from iCloud. There are a few ways of doing so, depending on where you deleted the photos from and whether you had iCloud Photos enabled. Let’s get started!

How to recover permanently deleted photos from iCloud

To check whether iCloud Photos are enabled, go to Settings, tap on your name, tap on iCloud, tap on Photos – you will see whether iCloud Photos toggle is switched on or off. If iCloud Photos is switched off – there are still a couple of options. If it is on – let’s proceed with rescuing the photos.

We are sometimes able to recover photos up to 1 month ago, but there is no telling when the photos will actually be deleted, so the matter is very time-sensitive and we recommend using CopyTrans Cloudly as soon as possible. If interested, see our little guide on how CopyTrans Cloudly operates.

Check out our YouTube video and written instructions on how to retrieve deleted photos below:

  1. Download CopyTrans Cloudly and run it.
    Download CopyTrans Cloudly

  2. Type in your Apple ID and password:
    CopyTrans Cloudly login screen

  3. If you use two-factor authentication, you will need to allow the connection on your device.:
    Apple ID sign in requested

  4. Enter the code you received:
    Apple ID verification code
    Two-factor authentication screen

  5. Wait until your iCloud Photo Library is loaded. To retrieve permanently deleted photos and videos from iCloud, click “Rescue”:
    Retrieve permanently deleted photos from iCloud Photo Library

  6. Select which folder you want to recover deleted pictures to:
    Select folder to rescue the photos

  7. That’s it! Now you will just need to wait until all of the deleted photos and videos are downloaded on your PC.
    Rescuing photos: download in progress

iCloud Photos was disabled: how to recover my pictures?

Didn’t have iCloud Photos enabled on your iPhone? There are still ways to recover your photos! You can try to recover deleted photos from iPhone or search for iTunes/iCloud backups and save their contents. Choose the method you prefer:

If you never made any backups, you can go to your local iPhone repair shop and ask them whether they can extract deleted photos from an iPhone. They might be able to help you. If you think you might have your photos in some backup somewhere on your PC, scroll down to the end of the article to check.

How to get recently deleted photos back

Sometimes through a weird accident the photos you thought were deleted for good end up in your Recently Deleted folder, either in iCloud or on your iPhone. In fact, this would be the first thing to check. If your photos are there indeed, getting them out is child’s play.

  1. If you have your iPhone, go to Photos, tap Albums, scroll all the way down, tap Recently Deleted, tap Select, then select all the photos and tap Recover. Your photos are back where they used to be. Easy!
    Recover photos on iPhone

  2. If you don’t have your iPhone anymore, you can check whether you still have some photos in the Recently Deleted folder in iCloud. Go to iCloud.com and sign in to your iCloud. Tap on Photos, then select the Recently Deleted folder:
    Recently deleted folder in iCloud
    After that, select the photo you want to retrieve and tap Recover.
    Recover recently deleted photo from iCloud

  3. The drawback of the previous method (through icloud.com) is that you can’t select all the photos and recover all of them at the same time. Right now you can only select and download 1000 photos at a time. If you have thousands of photos that need rescuing, then it might become a hassle.
    Can't select and download more than 1000 photos in iCloud

    That’s where CopyTrans Cloudly comes in handy. Download CopyTrans Cloudly and launch it. Enter your Apple ID and password, wait until your library is loaded. Click Download, check Include recently deleted checkbox, and click GO!
    Download all recently deleted photos from iCloud
    All the photos from the recently deleted folder will be downloaded in one go.

BONUS: Recover photos from a local backup

You have tried it all and nothing helps? Even if your photos are gone for good from the Apple servers, there is still a chance they had been backed up to your computer and are still waiting for you in some godforsaken folder you had no idea existed. Luckily, we made a tool that runs an automatic backup search and pulls all the backups on your PC into a single list – CopyTrans Backup Extractor. The app will help you find iTunes, iCloud or 3rd party backups and extract them to your PC. You won’t even need an iPhone to operate it! You can download the app and run the search for free here:

Download CopyTrans Backup Extractor

After you have downloaded CopyTrans Backup Extractor, these are the steps to take:

  1. Install and run the program. If you need help installing the program, refer to the installation guide.
  2. Wait until the program finishes the automatic backup hunt.
    CTBE backup hunt
  3. You will see the list of all the backups on your PC. If you want to find iCloud backups as well, log in to your iCloud account with CopyTrans Backup Extractor.
  4. Choose the one that you think may contain your photos and enter the backup password in case it is encrypted.
    enter the backup password

    If you found yourself asking “What!? It had a password on it?”, see this guide by Apple that tells about encrypted backups on your iPhone. We also have a guide of our own with tips on how to remember your iOS backup password.

  5. After your password is validated, you will see the list of all data types available in the backup. Select Photos and click on Extract.
    data type list
    Select the folder you want to extract your photos to. Wait a bit…
  6. Got it! Your photos are waiting for you in the folder of your choice. You can now check whether your precious photos are among them. We hope they are!
    photos extracted result screen

Recover photos from iCloud backup

If the iCloud Photos feature was disabled on your device and the photos were not in iCloud – do not lose heart. It means that they would be included into an iCloud backup if you made one recently. You can discover and look inside your iCloud backup with CopyTrans Backup Extractor. Here’s how:

  1. If you haven’t done so already, download and install CopyTrans Backup Extractor:
  2. Download CopyTrans Backup Extractor

  3. Install and run the program. If you need help, refer to the installation guide.
  4. On the welcome screen, choose “Log in to iCloud for more backups”.

    Log in to iCloud with CopyTrans Backup Extractor

  5. Enter your Apple ID and password.

    Enter Apple ID and password to access iCloud backups

  6. If you have 2-factor authentication enabled, you will also need to insert a verification code sent to your device.

    enter the verification code

  7. There you are! after a short search CopyTrans Backup Extractor will display all your backups, both on PC and in iCloud. iCloud backups are marked with a cloud icon, while PC backups have a folder icon next to them. You can now extract files from backup to PC, following the standard steps.

    find iCloud backups with CopyTrans Backup Extractor

We want to believe this guide has proven useful to you. Do not forget to backup your photos from time to time to make sure you never get into this sort of a situation!

Avatar for Irina CopyTrans

By Irina CopyTrans

Irina is a marketing and tech-support specialist in charge of the English-speaking market, who dyes her hair in the color of her cats' fur (future cat lady detected) and enjoys sitting on her balcony on a rainy day reading books, watching TV shows, playing video games and drinking hot chocolate. With marshmallows.