Oh no! Deleting iPhone Photos

OK I’m an idiot, when you delete photos with your iPhone, they live for 40 days or so in your deleted folder which is great. But when I just took an old iPhone out and it started to sync again, it left 1,000 duplicated in there. So I started deleting things on my Mac iCloud Photo Library. But I accidentally put some photos I actually needed there. And two click later, I had irrevocably deleted them. Yuck!

So what’s a person to do?

  1. First immediately cut off internet access to your Mac and your iPhones. This can save the delete instructions from going all the way down the pike. In my case, it was too late, when I looked at iCloud.com, the photos were gone already.
  2. But my iPhone still had 1,000 or so photos left, so something had been saved. Recover those photos by moving them into the “Restore” category, then dock it to your Mac and use Mac Photos to copy those files out with import and then for safety also export them somewhere in case the sync eats them later.

But I still had some photos I had lost. So what to do, going through the internet, there are host of products that report that they will save you:

  1. iCloud Backups used to also backup photos, but if you are using iCloud Photo Library, backups no longer contain photos, so when I used Syncios Recovery it showed no photos there at all.
  2. As an aside, Syncios does not get along with two factor authentication, so you have to turn that off first. Remember to turn that back on when all is done
  3. However, you can use it to get into your iPhone and it turns out that it will try to recover photos that you’ve deleted. Now in my case, this didn’t actually work. It didn’t seem to find any new photos.