Where do permanently deleted photos go on iPhone?

Where do permanently deleted photos go on iPhone

As we use our iPhones to capture precious moments and store important documents, we also risk losing them due to accidental deletion or system errors. Sometimes, we may realize too late that we need a deleted photo or document, but where does it go after it’s deleted? Can we still retrieve it? Let’s explore where permanently deleted photos go on iPhone.

Deleted photos Location
Photos in recently deleted folder Accessible in the folder for up to 30 days before being permanently deleted
Photos permanently deleted from recently deleted folder Stored in the iPhone’s internal storage until overwritten by new data
Photos deleted with third-party recovery tools May be recoverable depending on the tool’s effectiveness and how much new data has been stored on the iPhone since deletion

The recently deleted folder

Whenever you delete a photo on your iPhone, it doesn’t get permanently deleted right away. Instead, it goes to the recently deleted folder, which is similar to a recycle bin on a computer. The recently deleted folder stores all deleted photos for 30 days before permanently deleting them.

The recently deleted folder is easily accessible in the Photos app. To access it, open the app and go to the “Albums” tab. Scroll down until you see “Recently Deleted” and tap on it. Here, you’ll see all the photos you’ve deleted in the past 30 days, along with the number of days left before they get permanently deleted. If you want to recover a deleted photo, tap on it, then select “Recover”. The photo will then be restored to its original location in the Photos app.

Permanently deleted photos

What happens to photos that are permanently deleted from the recently deleted folder? Contrary to what some people may believe, they don’t disappear from the iPhone’s internal storage entirely. Instead, they become invisible to the user and get marked for deletion from the internal storage.

This means that if you accidentally delete a photo and then realize you need it, there’s still a chance you can recover it using third-party recovery tools. These tools scan the iPhone’s internal storage for deleted data that hasn’t been overwritten by new data yet and attempt to recover it. However, there’s no guarantee that the recovery will be successful, and it’s best to not rely solely on recovery tools. The best way to ensure that you don’t lose important photos is to back them up regularly to the cloud or your computer.

Preventing accidental deletion

Accidentally deleting photos is a common occurrence, but there are ways to prevent it from happening. One way is to use the “Optimize iPhone Storage” feature in the Photos app. This feature automatically stores full-resolution photos in the cloud and keeps lower-resolution versions on the iPhone to save space. This means that if you delete a photo from your iPhone, it’s still stored in the cloud and accessible from any device that’s signed in to your iCloud account.

Another way to prevent accidental deletion is to enable the “Recently Deleted” album to show for up to 60 days instead of the default 30 days. To do this, go to “Settings” > “Photos” and scroll down to “Recently Deleted”. Here, you can set the time period for the folder to show photos, with options ranging from 30 days to 1 year.


Permanently deleted photos on iPhone don’t actually disappear completely. They may still be recoverable using third-party recovery tools, but it’s best to prevent accidental deletion in the first place by using cloud storage and optimizing storage settings. Remember to back up your photos regularly and check the recently deleted folder before permanently deleting any photos.

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