How to Recover or Undelete a Photo on the iPad

You accidentally deleted a photo on the iPad. Now what?

 Screenshot of iPad

Have you accidentally deleted a photo on your iPad? It's easy for this mistake to happen, especially when using the select button to delete multiple photos at once. But unless you haven't updated your iPad in several years, and you accidentally deleted the picture within the last thirty days, you should be able to undo your mistake.  

Apple introduced the ability to recover a deleted photo with the iOS 8 update, which all iPads except the original can run.

Even if you have an iPad 2, which can no longer run the latest version of the operating system, you should still be able to follow these directions.

  • First, launch your Photos app. (Quick Tip: You can launch it quickly using Spotlight Search. This saves you from hunting for it.)
  • In the Photos app, navigate to your photo albums by tapping the Albums tab at the bottom of the screen. If you are already in an Album, you can get back to the main screen by tapping the Albums link at the top-left corner of the screen.
  • Choose the Recently Deleted album. This album will hold photos for up to 30 days before permanently deleting them from your iPad. Each photo will show how long until it is deleted permanently.
  • Tap the Photo you would like to restore in the Recently Deleted album and then tap the Recover button at the bottom-right corner of the screen.
  • A pop-up window will verify your choice. Tap Recover Photo to undelete the image.
  • You can also permanently delete photos by tapping the Delete button with a Photo selected. There is no going back from this selection, so only use it if you know you absolutely don't want the photo stored on your device.

Do You Need to Restore Multiple Photos?  

When you don't have an individual photo selected, tap the Select button at the top-right corner of the screen to enable multiple selection mode.

Tap the photos you want to restore and tap the "Recover" link at the top of the screen.

Hint: 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 their devices. The iCloud Photo Library service uploads photos to iCloud, which allows you to download the photo on another device like 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 them on each individual device.  This is important because photos you delete on one device may still exist on one of your other devices if you have My Photo Stream turned on in the iPad's settings.  

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

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