How to Recover Deleted iPhone Photos in iOS 8

Lego figure with axe standing on iPhone with broken screen glass

Apple makes it easy to delete images from your iPhone so you can quickly clear out unnecessary photos to free up some space. The problem is that this process is sometimes TOO easy, which means you might delete a photo that you really don’t want to. Typically you’ll realize you’ve deleted a photo you actually wanted about 1.2 seconds after it happens, giving you a sick feeling and a wish to turn back time.

Luckily, if you’re using iOS 8 you can still save that picture by using the photo recovery feature in the newest version of the iOS Photos app. Here’s how to recover deleted iPhone photos.

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Accessing Deleted iPhone Photos

The premise here is pretty simple. If you delete a picture you didn’t mean to delete, you can quickly and easily bring it back from picture purgatory and put it back where it belongs.

First, open up the Photos app on your iPhone and tap on the Albums icon in the bottom right corner. Scroll down until you see the album named Recently Deleted and tap it.

Photo Albums screen in iPhone

You should now see image thumbnails, but unlike your other photos, these should all have a day counter at the bottom. This indicates how many days you have left to undelete the image. iOS gives you 30 days from deletion to come back and fix your mistake, and as the deadline approaches, this number will count down.

Recently Deleted photos screen in iPhone

Recovering Deleted iPhone Photos

To recover a single photo, just tap on the image to bring it into full size, then tap the Recover link in the bottom right corner. Tap the Recover Photo button and you’re all done! The photo will now be back in its original home.

Deleted photo with option to recover it on iPhone

To recover multiple photos, just tap the Select link in the upper right corner of the screen and select the images you wish to restore, then tap the Recover button.

Multiple deleted photos selected for recovery on iPhone

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Permanently Deleting iPhone Photos

Now that you know how to recover photos you deleted by mistake, it’s a good time to show you how to make sure a deleted photo is gone for good. As you already saw, deleting a photo doesn’t really delete it yet. So if you want to be certain a particular photo is really outta there, here’s how to permanently delete photos on your iPhone.

Choose a photo on your iPhone to delete. Once the photo is deleted, tap on Albums in the Photos app and scroll down until you see the Recently Deleted album and tap on it.

You should see the same image thumbnails we looked at above. Tap on the image you want permanently deleted to bring it up. Tap the Delete link in the bottom left corner to remove the image from your iPhone forever. Verify your choice by tapping on Delete Photo, and the process is complete. Unless you’ve synced that photo to another service or to an iOS backup, it’s gone forever.

Photo with option to delete it permanently

This method works just as well with videos, so fear not if you delete a video by mistake. If you’re looking to free up space on your iPhone by deleting images and videos, you want to make sure you remove them from the Recently Deleted folder as well to make sure you really have the space you need.

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