How to Recover or Undelete a Photo on the iPad

Yikes! Get acquainted with iPad's Recently Deleted folder

What to Know

  • Open Photos and go to Albums > Other Albums > Recently Deleted, tap the photo to restore, and tap Recover > Recover Photo.
  • To recover multiple photos, tap the Select button located in the upper-right corner of the Recently Deleted screen and tap each picture.

This article explains how to recover a deleted photo on iPadOS 14, iPadOS 13, and iOS 12 through iOS 8.

How to Retrieve a Deleted Photo

The Recently Deleted album holds deleted photos for 30 days before permanently deleting them from the iPad. Each photo is labeled with the number of days before it is permanently deleted.

Apple introduced the Recently Deleted folder in the Photos app with the iOS 8 update, which runs on all iPads except the original. Even if you have an iPad 2, which no longer runs the latest version of the operating system, you can still recover deleted photos as long as you updated your iPad to run iOS 8 or later.

  1. Tap the Photos app on the iPad Home screen or launch it quickly using Spotlight Search.

  2. Tap Albums at the bottom of the screen. In recent iPadOS versions, it is located in the left sidebar.

    Albums button in Photos on iPad
  3. In the Albums screen, go to the Other Albums section, then tap Recently Deleted.

    Recently Deleted button in Photos on iPad
  4. Tap the photo you want to restore.

    Chosen photo from Recently Deleted album
  5. Tap Recover and then tap Recover Photo to undelete the image.

    Recover Photo button in Photos on iPad

You can also permanently delete a selected photo by tapping the Delete button. There is no going back from this selection. Only use it if you know you definitely don't want the photo stored on the device.

How to Recover Multiple Photos 

Instead of selecting a single photo, tap the Select button located in the upper-right corner of the Recently Deleted screen to enable the multiple selection mode. Tap each photo you want to restore and then tap the Recover link at the top of the screen. You can also permanently delete multiple photos using this method. 

Do You Have My Photo Stream Turned On?

Apple has two photo-sharing services for its devices. The iCloud Photo Library service uploads photos to iCloud, which makes it easy to download the photo on another device such as an iPhone. When you delete a photo from your iPad or iPhone, it also deletes it from iCloud Photo Library.

My Photo Stream is the other service provided by Apple. Instead of uploading the photos to a library of files on iCloud, it uploads them to the cloud and then downloads the photos on each device automatically. This is important because photos deleted on one device may still exist on one of your other devices if you have My Photo Stream turned on in the iPad settings.  

If you cannot locate a deleted photo in the Recently Deleted album and have My Photo Stream turned on, check your other devices for a copy of the image.

Was this page helpful?