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How to recover deleted photos on iPhone without backup

Find the efficient ways to recover deleted photos from an iPhone without a backup. We cover iOS photo recovery tools to get pictures back without iCloud/ iTunes backup.

Elena Spencer Updated on Dec 26, 2023 3:38 PM

I've deleted a group of pictures on my iPhone and I didn't realize that some of them had not backed up either with iCloud or iTunes. Is there any way to restore these photos without backing up iPhone? They were taken 3 weeks ago.

Losing or accidentally deleting photos on the iPhone without them being backed up, or having Recently Deleted folder cleared, is such a frustrating situation that no one hopes to encounter. This post focuses on how to recover deleted photos from iPhone without backup, and shows you a bonus tip of how can you recover permanently deleted iPhone photos from iCloud.

Even if you don't have a backup, iOS Recently Deleted and a 3rd-party recovery tool may help you recover your deleted images.

When the permanent deletion of photos that were not backed up happens, first, one thing about the photo recovery you should note: to increase the chances of recovering photos straight from iPhone without backup files, you'd better turn on Airplane mode on your iPhone and use it as little as possible, since the deleted photos are not really gone from the gallery but waiting to be overwritten. Performing any task, like adding new photos, using other apps, etc., can write to the space and the deleted pictures will be gone forever.

That is to say, when you cannot find deleted photos from "Recently Deleted" album in Photos app, stop using the iPhone in no time. Then use a professional data recovery software application like iPhone Data Recovery to retrieve your deleted photos without backup or recover permanently deleted photos from iPhone after 30 days.

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How to recover deleted photos from iPhone Recently Deleted album

The obvious option is to look in the Recently Deleted album on your iPhone and recover any deleted photos for up to 30 days after you have deleted them, even you didn't backup your iPhone. You may be able to get back a single photo or multiple photos at once - unless you already permanently cleared them out using the Delete function within Recently Deleted.

To recover permanently deleted photos (not in the Recently Deleted folder) without backup or data loss, skip to the next option.

Steps to recover deleted photos from iPhone gallery without backup

Learn how to retrieve deleted photos that were not backed up through Recently Deleted album.

1. Open Photos app in iPhone, and tap Albums at the bottom.

2. Scroll down all the way to the Utilities section and tap Recently Deleted. If you're using iOS 16 or later, you'll be asked to use your Face ID to access your recently deleted photos.

3. Recover deleted photos to your iPhone.

  • To get back a photo you deleted, tap on it, then tap three dots at the lower right corner in iOS 17 or newer, and select Recover > Recover Photo at the bottom (or in iOS 16 or earlier, tap Recover > Recover Photo.)
  • To recover multiple photos, tap Select at the top-right corner, then choose the photos you want back, and next, tap on three dots and choose Recover [Number] Photos in iOS 17 or newer. For iOS 16 or earlier, tap Recover > Recover [Number] Photos.
  • To retrieve all deleted photos from Recently Deleted to the gallery, tap Select, tap three dots at the bottom and choose Recover All. Or in iOS 16 or earlier, tap Select > Recover All.

Recover permanently deleted photos without iPhone backup via a 3rd-party tool

What if you may delete the photos and then subsequently deleted them from the Recently Deleted folder, or your deleted photos were permanently deleted from your iPhone after 30 days? You wonder how to recover deleted photos after deleting from Recently Deleted, right?

Thankfully, there's still a good chance those pictures that haven't been backed up can be retrieved by using a robust file recovery named iPhone Data Recovery.

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It is primarily an easy service for recovering deleted or lost photos as well as other contents on iPhone with no backup files needed. It builds with advanced scanning engine that is able to run a full-scan through the iPhone's memory and show you the files that you can recover. Also, it provides you with Preview functions to see the deleted photos in thumbnails, and lets you restore the photos either individually or in batches.

The following tutorial includes the precise instructions on retrieving permanently deleted photos from iPhone without backup. The process doesn't require you to restore your iPhone to factory settings, so it will not affect or overwrite any current data.

Guide: How to recover permanently deleted iPhone photos without backups

Step 1: Connect your iPhone to computer

Once you install iPhone Data Recovery on your computer, run it.

In the absence of iPhone backup, you can only retrieve lost photos from iPhone's memory. So choose "Recover from iOS Device" mode on the left side of the interface, and then grab a USB cable to attach your iPhone to the machine.

Make sure to unlock your iPhone for a successful connection. Then click Start Scan button.

How to get back photos from iPhone without Backup

Step 2: Scan the iPhone's storage for permanently deleted photos

At this stage, the software will begin a deep scan around the database of your iPhone, in order to find the iPhone permanently deleted pictures from the photo gallery.

You can track the progress of the scan in the window. When the scan completes, the program brings up an intuitive overview of all types of files. And multiple categories listed on the left side guide you to locate the exact files quickly.

Step 3: Preview and choose the deleted photos for recovery

Now, it's time to choose the permanently deleted photos you need to restore. Click "Camera Roll" category under "Media" section from the left pane, then check the photos to be recovered on the right pane.

If you're only interested in browsing and restoring deleted photos without backup, you can go to the top of the right pane and select "Show Deleted Only" option.

How Can I Restore Pictures on an iPhone without Backup

[Also see: How to recover photos on lost iPhone without the iPhone]

Step 4: Start retrieving photos from iPhone directly without backup

Once your deleted photos are selected, press the Recover button at the lower right corner.

You will then introduce a pop-up window for designating the location where the recovered photos are saved. Finally, hit Recover button to get the deleted photos to your computer. Those photos will be saved in their original formats: JPG, JPEG, PNG, etc.

Retrieving Deleted iPhone Photos without Backup

Tip: To put the photos back to your iPhone's Camera Roll after the recovery, click the link to learn several ways. The simplest way is to use iPhone Data Transfer, which facilitates matters when transferring music, photos, movies and other media files between iPhones and computer.

This is how you can recover photos that weren't backed up from iPhone. Besides, as one of the best file recovery applications for iOS devices, iPhone Data Recovery tool offers "Recover from iTunes Backup File" mode, letting you to view and retrieve deleted photos without restoring your iPhone or erasing all data and setting.

Watch Video: iPhone photo recovery without backup

Bonus: How to recover permanently deleted photos on iPhone from iCloud?

You've saved your photos onto iCloud, but you find that when you permanently delete a photo from iPhone, it also removes from iCloud? This is because iCloud Photos is enabled, which simply mirrors exactly what you have on your iOS device. If you delete the photos from your iPhone's album, you can restore it from the Recently Deleted via icloud.com for 30 days.

Recover photos in icloud.com

  • Go to icloud.com on any web browser on your iPhone or computer.
  • Log into your iCloud account.
  • Click Photos pane to access your iPhone photo library synced with iCloud.
  • Click Recently Deleted. You can preview all your photos you've deleted accidentally.
  • Check the photo(s) you'd like to get back.
  • Hit Recover to have your photos retrieved from iCloud photo album.

Restore permanently deleted photos from iCloud backup

If you do have the backup of iPhone on iCloud, it is possible and easy to recover permanently deleted photos from iCloud after 30 days. However, this doesn't make sense if you've activated iCloud Photos which is not part of the iCloud backup.

Warning: Unless you're sure that the pictures are embedded within iCloud backup before deletion, it would be risky to perform the restoration process on iPhone since it will erase your phone data.

  • Tap on Settings > General > Transfer or Reset > Erase All Contents and Settings.
  • When you get to the "Transfer Your Apps & Data" screen, tap From iCloud Backup.
  • Enter your Apple ID and password.
  • Select the backup you want to restore photos after deleting from Recently Deleted.

It should take a while to recover your permanently deleted photos to iPhone using iCloud backup.

get photos without iCloud backup.


There's a lot more about how to recover photos on iPhone without any backup available by recovering from Recently Deleted, using iPhone Data Recovery, or from iCloud Recently Deleted photo album. You should also get back your deleted images from iCloud if you do have a backup. After recovery, you're then able to see your photos again in the gallery.

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