How to Recover or Undelete a Photo on the iPad

Yikes! Get acquainted with iPad's Recently Deleted folder

ipad photo
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Have you ever accidentally deleted a photo on your iPad? It's easy to make this mistake, especially when using the Select button to delete multiple photos at the same time. There's good news. The photo may not be permanently deleted; it may be in the Recently Deleted folder. 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.

Instructions in this article apply to all iPads (except the first generation) that run iOS 8 through iOS 12.

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.

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

  2. Tap Albums.

    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, 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, so 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, 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, 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.