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How to get photos when an iPhone is lost or stolen

Alex Griffith Updated on Apr 14, 2022 5:37 PM

Have you backed up the photos in case the iPhone gets lost or stolen? If you're relying on iCloud or iTunes to manage your files, the pictures from lost iPhone could be retrieved back.

Apple's iPhone, like any other smartphone on the market, can inevitably suffer from being misplaced, lost or even stolen, and photos kept on iPhone are undoubtedly gone away with. We understand how miserable it is to start from the scratch when losing an iPhone which has been used for a period of time and populated with a lot of pictures and other data.

In the light of this unpleasant situation, Apple provides sensible resources for backing up iPhone to save you from the edge of disastrous data loss - iTunes and iCloud. If you're the one who have created backup for your iPhone before the time you lost it, then you are able to recover photos with all other files taken on the stolen iPhone directly from iTunes and iCloud in no time.

However, both iTunes and iCloud restoration are all or nothing that you cannot recover individual files from there. There will likely be times when you want to get only the pictures of the lost iPhone from iTunes and iCloud embedded backups, then you may need to grab a piece of iPhone photos extractor software to get this done.

What's Needed For This Project

iOS Data Recovery is the program that we'll download and use to restore pictures when the iPhone was lost or stolen. It's a reliable and comprehensive files recovering application without featuring any ads and bundled adware. It comes with a set of flexible features, one of which is the ability to restore almost everything from backup you made with iTunes and iCloud.

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To make the process of retrieving photos from iTunes & iCloud backup more intuitive, this article will involves two options in detail. Keep scrolling down to read the instructions below.

Option 1: Extract photos from iTunes Backup When iPhone Was Lost

Step 1: Run the program and choose iTunes recovery mode

After finishing the installation on your computer, launch the program and you'll see the user interface is structured with no cryptic buttons or options, but three recovery modes on the sidebar.

To retrieve the photos from iTunes backup when iPhone was stolen or lost, you just choose "Recovery from iTunes Backup File" mode, the program will immediately detects all the local iTunes backups on the computer and present them on the interface, like the screenshot below.

Step 2: Choose a backup to be scanned

From the list of local iTunes backups select the one you want to restore from and click the Start Scan button. The program will start make a scan of the backup.

Once the scan is done, it'll lead you to a screen that looks like the screenshot below. All the files are sorted in categories decently.

Step 3: Highlight the photos to be retrieved

In this step, select what photos you want to get. To do so, click the "Camera Roll", "Photo Stream" and "Photo Library" categories under "Media" section and then click the checkboxes under the photo thumbnails on the right pane.

Confirm the items you've highlighted, click the Recover button on the lower right position. This will bring up a dialog requiring you to choose a location for the extracted photos.

With all things done, hitting the Recover button in the dialog box will get the retrieving process started - all the photos will be extracted from iTunes backup and go into the designated folder on your computer. [Learn more about 5 Best iPhone Data Recovery Tools]

Tip: Apple has its own way to restore your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch from a backup.

Option 2: Get Photos from Backup in iCloud When iPhone Was Lost

As long as you have synced your iPhone with iCloud before your iPhone was stolen or lost, another feasible solution offered by this software is to access iCloud backup and extract the photos.

Step 1: Sign up for iCloud account

Move your mouse cursor down on the left hand side of the startup interface, you should see a "Recover from iCloud Backup File" mode. Press on it, then enter into your iCloud account with Apple ID and Password accordingly.

Step 2: Download an iCloud backup

After successfully signed in, you'll be presented with a list of iCloud backups of the lost iPhone, among which choose one that you want to download.

Next, click the Download button and move on.

Subsequently, a tiny window appears asking what file types you want to download.

In this case, make sure "Camera Roll", "Photo Library" and "App Photos" options are checked. Then, press the Next button and the selected files will be downloaded soon.

Step 3: Select what photos you wish to retrieve

Once downloaded, it will list all files on the window, sorted by categories.

Since you're going to bring back the pictures, you can click the "Camera Roll" category under "Media" section on the sidebar, all the photos housed in it should be then displayed as thumbnails on the right pane of the screen.

And now all you need to do is select which photos you want to bring back by ticking the checkboxes.

Once you are done with highlighting the pictures to be retrieved, press the Recover button at the lower of the interface and then, a dialog window for output folder selection pops up.

In the pop-up, you can either specify a destination path for the retrieved photos or use the default folder given by the program.

When you are done with everything, hit the Recover button to start restoring photos via iCloud backup. Sit back and wait until the whole process completes.

Once done, go to the folder, you'll see the retrieved iPhone photos stay intact.

Apple Route: Retrieve Photos from iCloud After Losing iPhone

Unlike the way mentioned above, here you will need a new iPhone or an iPhone from your friend to extract your photos from iCloud backup. Make sure you back up the data on the device prior to performing the process.

  • Turn on the device and erase all of its content before restoring from your backup.
  • When you reach the Apps & Data screen, tap Restore from iCloud Backup.
  • Sign in to iCloud account
  • Choose the latest backup entry from the list of archives available.

Wait until the iCloud restoration process is complete, be sure to pull the recovered photos off the iPhone and save onto computer, then repeat the steps above to restore your new iPhone (or your friend's iPhone) from the backup you just made to let everything go back to normal.


iOS Data Recovery is all that easy to get photos from an iPhone backup synced with iTunes and iCloud after you lost the iPhone. As you can see in the main interface, it also includes a function that helps you recover photos from iPhone memory if you have the device in hand. Overall, It is a piece of robust software that can handle files recoveries under various disastrous scenarios.

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