Whether you accidentally deleted the wrong photo on your Mac or lost a handful of photos due to malware infection or physical damage, there’s no need to panic just yet. Luckily, there are a few effective solutions that can help you recover permanently deleted photos on a Mac. So even if you think that the images are gone for good, it’s possible that you still have a chance to restore them.
Read on to learn about the best 4 data recovery methods that can retrieve lost photos on your Mac.
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Where Do Deleted Photos Go on Macs?
Basically, there are two ways of storing photos on a Mac: either using the Photos app or simply by keeping them in folders. So the place where your deleted photos go depends on how you stored them:
- If you delete a photo from the Photos app, it automatically moves to the Recently Deleted section. You can access it by clicking Recently Deleted on the app’s sidebar.
- If you delete a photo from any folder on your Mac, it gets moved to the Trash. To find those photos, click the Trash icon on the Dock.
Once you delete the photos either from the Recently Deleted folder or from Trash, they get permanently removed from your Mac. But even in that case, there are a few methods that you can try out to recover the photos.
Try to Find Deleted Photos on a Mac
Maybe the photos that you are looking for aren’t really gone? It’s best to try to manually look for the photos on your Mac before actually moving forward with one of the data recovery methods.
So the first thing that you should do is check the Photos app:
If you were unable to find the needed photo in the Photos app, try using Finder on your Mac. Here’s what you should do:
How to Recover Deleted Photos on a Mac
If you are sure that the photos that you’re trying to find are definitely deleted, then one of these data recovery methods should help you recover the photos on your Mac. It doesn’t matter whether you want to recover deleted from a MacBook Pro or from a MacBook Air, these options will work on any computer.
However, not all of these solutions will work for video files, so in case you’ll also need to recover a deleted video, check out these recovery methods.
Method #1. Check the Trash Bin
It’s always a good idea to check Trash on your Mac before choosing a more complex data recovery method. However, this method should work only in two conditions:
- If you deleted a photo from any folder on your Mac (not from the Photos app).
- If you haven’t emptied Trash on your Mac after deleting the photo.
Here’s how to check the Trash for deleted photos on your Mac and recover them:
Method #2. Use Data Recovery Software
If your deleted photos are no longer in the Trash app or the Recently Deleted folder in the Photos app, the best option for you would be to use a specialized data recovery software to scan your Mac and try to recover the lost photos.
One of the most user-friendly and effective data recovery applications on the market is Disk Drill. It does an excellent job in restoring lost data on both Macs and Windows-based computers and can recover almost any photo format (JPG, TIFF, PNG, EPS, and others).
Here are detailed step-by-step instructions on how to recover deleted photos on a Mac with Disk Drill:
That’s it! Your lost photo has successfully been restored on your Mac.
Method #3. Recover From iCloud
If you use iCloud to store your photos, then you can use it to recover deleted pictures on your Mac.
But time is of the essence with this method since iCloud stores deleted files only for 30 days. Once the time has passed, the files get permanently removed and, therefore, impossible to recover from iCloud.
Here’s how to recover photos from iCloud:
Now simply go to the Photos Library folder, and the recovered photo should be back there.
Method #4. Restore From a Time Machine Backup
This method is suitable only for those who regularly use Time Machine to back up their Mac. Also, in this case, the data recovery results depend on whether you’ve backed up your Mac before deleting the photo. If not, then you won’t be able to find the deleted file on your latest backup.
Follow these steps to restore photos from a Time Machine backup:
You should be able to find the recovered photo in the folder where it used to be located before you deleted it.