Best Photo Recovery Software

Losing digital photos can feel a lot like losing precious memories, especially if the images were accumulated over such a long period of time that you don’t even remember them vividly anymore. Luckily, with the right photo recovery software, you can easily recover deleted photos in their original quality, and it won’t take you more than a few minutes.
last update icon Updated on:Sep 5, 2023
Emma Collins
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photo recovery software

Have you lost or accidentally deleted your photos? Chances are, you can still recover them with the tools we listed for you below. They can be used to recover photos on SD cards, USB drives, PCs and Mac computers. Read on and learn if the photos in your device are still recoverable and how you can proceed with the recovery.

Device Solution
📱 Android Phone The first thing that you should do is check if photos are in the Recently Deleted folder in your gallery. If they’re not there, try checking your Cloud backup. Now, if you’ve permanently deleted the photos from the gallery and your Cloud, that’s the time to use a data recovery tool. This process will require you to connect your Android phone to a computer and root the device. If the photos were on your phone’s SD card, simply take the card out and scan it separately with data recovery software.
💻 PC or Mac After ensuring that your photos are not in your trash and in your cloud storage, you can proceed with data recovery using third-party tools. There are data recovery tools out there for both Windows and Mac that you can install to recover your lost photos. Once installed, you can use these data recovery tools to perform a quick or deep scan of your drive or the partition where your photos were stored. The data recovery rate will depend on your storage’s physical condition and how your photos were lost in the first place.
💾 External Storage External storage devices like USBs and SD cards are also widely used to store photos. SD cards are used as electronic data storage for cameras and some mobile phones, while USBs are widely used to extend data storage or to share photos with friends. When you lose or accidentally delete your photos on these devices, they can still be recovered as long as they haven’t been overwritten. You will need to connect them to your PC or Mac and scan with data recovery software. In some cases, you will need to use a card reader for SD or memory cards if your device doesn’t have a built-in one.
🍎 iPhone Restoring photos from an iPhone is the most complicated among the devices mentioned. This is because of iPhone’s unique and strong security features that prevent users from accessing and modifying its hardware. Luckily, there are tools out there such as Disk Drill that can make the complex process of iOS data recovery simple. To recover your photos with it, you’ll need to connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC and scan it with Disk Drill. Then, you can recover the photos that are found during the scan. It supports Apple devices with iOS 5-16.

1. Disk Drill Photo Recovery (Windows & Mac)

disk drill photo recovery software

Disk Drill is a flexible data recovery tool that can be used to perform deleted photo recovery with just a few clicks. It features multiple powerful scanning algorithms that are automatically executed in the optimal order to deliver the best data recovery results possible. As such, Disk Drill delivers professional performance in a beginner-friendly package.

With Disk Drill, you can recover virtually all photo file formats you may come across from any storage device. Even from a formatted or corrupted storage device, this app can find your images using its advanced set of scanning algorithms. On top of that, it can also scan for RAW image formats that are exclusive to different camera manufacturers. You can even preview lost images to ensure that you’re recovering the right files.

Included with Disk Drill are multiple free disk tools designed to help you protect important files and keep your data better organized. Be it an internal or external drive, memory card, or other portable storage devices, Disk Drill can effectively attempt photo recovery and even reconstruct lost photos with missing metadata. All this and more makes Disk Drill the best software to recover deleted photos.

🔑 Key features:

  • An intuitive user interface;
  • Can preview found files before recovery;
  • Supports over 400 file formats;
  • Data protection tools included for free;
  • The ability to pause, save, and resume scans;
  • 500 MB free data recovery (Windows version only).


  • Beginner-friendly user interface
  • RAW photo recovery
  • Supports all common image file formats
  • Extensive knowledge base with tutorials
  • Recovers images from iPhone/Android devices (Disk Drill for Mac)

📛 Cons:

  • Can't fix corrupted photos or images.

💰 Pricing:

Disk Drill Basic Free
Disk Drill PRO $89.00
Disk Drill Enterprise $499
Competitive Upgrade 50% OFF

🏆 Best for: Disk Drill is the best software to recover deleted photos because it combines exceptional ease of use with the ability to deliver professional picture recovery results.

2. Recuva (Windows)

Recuva photo recovery

Recuva provides users with basic file recovery capabilities and support for most common file types. It owes much of its popularity to the fact that the free version can recover an unlimited number of photos without any major restrictions. In addition to performing picture recovery, Recuva can securely delete sensitive photos and other data using military-standard deletion techniques to make it absolutely impossible for anyone to ever retrieve them back—not even with the most advanced photo recovery tools out there.

With Recuva, you can recover photos from internal and external storage devices like hard drives and SD cards from digital cameras, among others. Enable the deep scan option to allow Recuva to find your photos with more advanced scanning options. After scanning your device, the app allows you to preview all photos scanned to make sure you are recovering the right pictures.

🔑 Key features:

  • Virtual hard drive support;
  • Deep scan mode;
  • Automatic updates;
  • Secure file deletion.


  • Clean user interface
  • Fast scans
  • Recovers an unlimited amount of data for free

📛 Cons:

  • Sub-par performance
  • Limited customer support
  • Stagnant development

💰 Pricing:

Recuva Free Available without Professional features
Recuva Professional $19.95

🏆 Best for: Even though it has been some time since Recuva was last updated, this photo recovery tool remains a solid option for addressing more straightforward cases of data loss.

3. Stellar Photo Recovery (Windows & Mac)

Stellar Photo Recovery

Stellar Photo Recovery is a purpose-built software to recover deleted photos, videos, and audio files from SD cards (Mini, Micro, SDHC, and SDXC), USB flash drives, hard drives, and other storage devices. It boasts a three-step recovery process that even complete beginners can complete without reading or watching a tutorial beforehand. The premium version of this photo recovery app can repair corrupted photos and videos, a feature that’s definitely worth paying for regardless of whether you’re a professional photographer or just a hobbyist.

Use Stellar Photo Recovery to scan and find all the common image formats, from .jpg, .png, .gif, to .bmp and more. What’s more, it also excels at restoring lost RAW image files from popular camera brands like Sony, Canon, Nikon, Samsung, and others. Its versatility also extends to drone and action cameras like DJI and GoPro.

🔑 Key features:

  • Repairs corrupted photos and videos;
  • User-friendly interface;
  • Can create sector-by-sector storage device images;
  • Lets you add your own file types.


  • Three-step recovery process
  • Supports many image and video file formats
  • Offers several ways to preview scan results

📛 Cons:

  • The least expensive version is rather limited
  • Slower scan speed

💰 Pricing:

Version type Windows macOS
Free version Preview only Preview only
1-year Standard Edition $49.99 $49.99
1-year Professional Edition $89.99 $79.99
1-year Premium Edition $99.99 $99.99

🏆 Best for: The most expensive version of this photo recovery software stands out with its ability to repair corrupted photos and videos. Just know that it takes some time to finish the job.

4. PhotoRec (Windows, Mac & Linux)

PhotoRec image recovery solution

PhotoRec is a versatile recovery tool that uses a menu-driven command-line interface to interact with users. As such, it’s not the right tool for casual users who are looking for an intuitive photo recovery program that doesn’t require an explanation. But if the lack of a graphical user interface doesn’t bother you, then PhotoRec can offer the ability to recover more than 480 file extensions in about 300 file families from hard drives, CD-ROMs, memory cards, and other storage devices.

PhotoRec ensures a safe scan and photo recovery process that uses read-only access to avoid data corruption. It can also successfully scan and recover photos even from formatted storage devices. Since it’s free and has no features locked over a paywall, you’re allowed to recover as many photos as you want.

🔑 Key features:

  • Runs on just about any operating system;
  • Works even with severely damaged file systems;
  • Distributed under GNU General Public License (GPLV v2+).


  • Completely unlimited and free picture recovery
  • Great performance

📛 Cons:

  • Lacks a graphical user interface
  • Can’t preview recoverable files
  • Not suitable for beginners

💰 Pricing: PhotoRec is completely free and open-source.

🏆 Best for: There’s a good reason why PhotoRec is one of the most popular apps to recover deleted pictures among photographers who are not afraid of the command-line: it gets the job done for free.

5. R-Studio (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

r-studio photo recovery tool

R-Studio is a professional-grade photo recovery solution with enough features to satisfy the needs of data recovery experts who recover lost and deleted photos and other files for living. Some of its most noteworthy features include advanced RAID reconstruction, built-in HEX editor, and the ability to recover data over a local network or the internet.

R-Studio excels in scanning and recovering photos from a wide range of storage devices, including hard drives, memory cards, USB drives, and more. Its features extend to handling corrupted photos. Its scanning algorithm also works to recover lost photos from formatted devices as well. To make sure you’re recovering the right images, R-Studio also allows you to preview your images before proceeding.

🔑 Key features:

  • Supports Windows, Mac, and Linux file systems;
  • Advanced data recovery algorithm;
  • Integration with DeepSpar Disk Imager.


  • Powerful features
  • Support for Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Can recover remote locations
  • Familiar File Explorer-style interface

📛 Cons:

  • Not intended for casual users
  • Expensive to unlock all features

💰 Pricing:

Product Windows macOS Linux
Free version Recover files less than 256 KB in size Recover files less than 256 KB in size Recover files less than 256 KB in size
R-Studio FAT $39.99 - -
R-Studio NTFS $47.99 - -
R-Studio $63.99 $63.99 $63.99
R-Studio Network $143.99 $143.99 $143.99
R-Studio Technician $719.20 $719.20 $719.20

🏆 Best for: R-Studio is difficult to recommend to beginners because it lacks the intuitiveness of Disk Drill. An inexperienced user could easily get lost in the vast sea of available options and fail to recover deleted photos. However, professionals and power-users shouldn’t hesitate to give it a try.

6. AnyRecover Photo Recovery (Windows & Mac)

AnyRecover Photo Recovery app

AnyRecover Photo Recovery is an outstanding photo retrieval program that specializes in getting back lost and deleted media files from a wide variety of devices, internal and external alike. It supports an impressive range of pictures, graphics, audio, and video files, and it was developed with some big brands in mind, including Sony, Canon, GoPro, Nikon, and more.

It also boasts advanced functionalities like an AI-powered photo restoration feature to fix blurry images. Before recovery, you can also freely preview all the photos AnyRecover scanned so you know which images you want to restore.

AnyRecover Photo Recovery is available for both Windows and Mac and works with a healthy repertoire of storage devices and data loss scenarios. It has a few downsides, however, including separate purchases per platform and a slightly more expensive Mac version. The free edition also leaves much to be desired.

🔑 Key features:

  • Capable of recovering a variety of multimedia files;
  • Works with a variety of big camera names;
  • Supports a long list of storage media and file types;
  • Can retrieve files from a lot of different data loss scenarios;
  • Includes a free version that lets you recover some files.


  • Decently priced, especially the Windows version
  • The trial version gives you access to all the features
  • Incredibly easy to use
  • Includes versions for both Mac and Windows

📛 Cons:

  • Windows and Mac versions need to be purchased separately
  • Mac version is more expensive
  • Free version only allows you to recover a very limited number of files

💰 Pricing:

Product Monthly Annual Lifetime
Windows $49.95 $59.95 $79.95
MacOS $59.95 $79.95 $89.95

🏆 Best for: AnyRecover Photo Recovery is a superb choice for users seeking a data recovery solution that’s developed with leading cameras in mind and is geared specifically towards the retrieval of lost and deleted multimedia files.

7. CardRecovery (Windows)

recover photos with cardrecovery

As its name suggests, CardRecovery is a deleted photo recovery application whose main purpose is to recover lost, deleted, corrupted, or formatted photos from various memory cards, including all types of SD cards, CF (Compact Flash) cards, xD-Picture cards, and others. At its heart is the so-called SmartScan technology, which can quickly locate and restore lost photos without moving, deleting, or otherwise modifying other data and potentially causing additional data loss. All the pictures it finds during a scan can be previewed before recovery to allow you to choose only the ones you want to recover.

Notably, CardRecovery specializes in scanning and recovering photos from digital camera cards. It even retrieves and displays all photo information in real -time during a scan, including the camera settings, shooting time, and the camera model used to take the photo. Incorporated in its algorithm is the capability to not just recover common image formats, but also RAW formats like Fuji RAF, Nikon NEF, Canon CRW CR2, and many more.

🔑 Key features:

  • Unique and exclusive SmartScan technology;
  • Supports almost all memory card types.


  • Limited to read-only operations
  • Step-by-step recovery wizard
  • Free trial available

📛 Cons:

  • Outdated user interface
  • Limited file format support

💰 Pricing:

Free trial Enable with limited functionality
Full version $39.95

🏆 Best for: AIf you intend to recover deleted photos only from memory cards, then CardRecovery is an affordable solution that delivers decent results thanks to its SmartScan technology.

Best Photo Recovery Software Compared

Disk Drill free photo recovery
Disk Drill
Stellar Photo Recovery
Stellar Photo Recovery
Usability Excellent Good Good Limited Good Good Limited
Trial recovery limit 500 MB Unlimited Scan only Unlimited Can only recover files less than 256 KB in size Scan only Scan only
Preview recoverable data
Data protection tools S.M.A.R.T. data analysis, Recovery Vault, and disk backup Disk imaging
OS support Windows & Mac Windows Windows & Mac Windows, Mac & Linux Windows, Mac & Linux Windows & Mac Windows
Price $89 lifetime license (Windows + macOS) $19,95/year $49.99/year Free $79 $79.95 $39.95

Additional Photo Recovery Solutions

EaseUS MobiSaver logo EaseUS MobiSaver - A comprehensive data recovery app for retrieving deleted files from your Android device, whether it’s photos, videos, SMS, contacts, or even WhatsApp conversations. It can rescue data from both internal memory and SD cards, though root access is required in order to maximize the program’s effectiveness.
Remo logo Remo Recover - With Remo Recover, you can recover lost or deleted files on Windows and Mac systems. Corrupted or damaged files can also be repaired within the application to ensure the recovered photos and videos are actually viewable. Instead of taking your SD card out of your camera, you can plug the camera in and recover files from it directly.
MiniTool logo MiniTool - In only three steps, you can scan and recover lost or deleted photo and video files from hard drives, SD cards, USB sticks and more. The easy to use interface makes this tool accessible even to casual computer users. With support for a myriad of photo, audio and video file types, Minitool will surely recover your files.

Advantages of Paid Photo Recovery Software

Considering that our list of the best photo recovery software applications includes several free options, you might be wondering what makes paid photo recovery software worth the price.

Well, there’s no straightforward answer because all paid apps for recovering photos are different, but there are certain advantages that totally free photo recovery software solutions often lack, including:

  • ☎️ Professional customer support.
  • 📄 A knowledge base filled with FAQs and user guides to assist with using the product.
  • ⏱️ Regular software updates and upgrades.
  • 🖥️ Polished user experience.
  • 🧰 Extra features.

Situations Where Image Recovery Software Can Help

Data loss can happen for many different reasons, and you should understand at least the ones that are most common so that you can better avoid them:

  • 🗑️ Accidental deletion: Human error is responsible for the majority of data loss. There is really no foolproof way to guard against accidentally making a mistake and deleting the wrong files from your system. The best advice we can offer is to be careful and double-check your work before hitting that delete button.
  • 👾 Malicious software: Viruses and other malware can lead to data loss and cause your precious photos to vanish in an instant. That’s why you should always keep your antivirus software updated and be cautious when connecting your computer and other devices to public networks.
  • ⚠️ Data corruption: Hard drives, memory cards, USB flash drives, and other storage devices can become corrupted due to software bugs, sudden loss of power, voltage spikes, physical hardware issues, unexpected interruption in normal processes, and a myriad of other reasons. In many cases, photos can still be recovered from them using the photo recovery software solutions described in this article.
  • 💽 Drive formatting: The number of images that have been lost after careless formatting is impossible to count, but we predict that the figure is in billions. While formatting may seem irreversible, the opposite is actually the case. With reliable image recovery software, you should be able to recover all lost images from an accidentally formatted storage device, but you need to act quickly enough and avoid writing new data to the storage device.
  • 🛠️ System crashes: Modern operating systems are remarkably stable considering how complex and capable they are. Still, they are not perfect, and system crashes still happen from time to time, usually at the worst possible moment. If you’re unlucky, a system crash may cause you to lose important photos, but image recovery software gives you a good chance of getting them back.
  • 📀 Partition loss: If you imagine your hard drive to be a cabinet, then partitions are individual drawers. To successfully retrieve files from them, your computer needs to know how they are organized, which is where the so-called partition table comes in. If this table gets damaged, partition loss may occur. But just because the partition itself is no longer accessible doesn’t mean that image recovery software can’t retrieve your images from it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on by 7 Data Recovery Team

To find your lost photos, you can try these quick steps to search for them:

  • Check your Recycle Bin (for Windows) or Trash (for Mac) folder.
  • Use the built-in search function by searching for the file name or the file extension (.jpg, .png, .bmp., etc.) of your photos.
  • Check your backup files in cloud storages such as Google Drive or iCloud, built-in programs like File History (Windows), Time Machine (Mac), or external storage devices.
  • Scan your device using specialized photo recovery software like Disk Drill, Recuva, Stellar Photo Recovery, and R-Studio, which all offer reliable data recovery for almost any image file format available.

Photo recovery apps are generally safe to use. Just make sure to download apps from their official websites to avoid malicious software. It is also recommended to research well-known software providers and check reviews from actual users to ensure their safety and compatibility with your device.

No, permanently deleted photos are not gone forever. The data from these photos remains intact but is hidden from the operating system. The space previously occupied by the deleted photos is marked as available for new data. Photo recovery software can scan your system and retrieve these deleted files unless the data has been overwritten.

Recuva and PhotoRec are among the most popular free apps for recovering deleted photos. These apps have positive user reviews and have been trusted by users for a while. They offer unlimited data recovery and support scanning for common photo file formats such as PNG, JPG, GIF, BMP, and more.

Here are the top 5 best photo recovery software solutions for Mac:

  1. Disk Drill - Best all around photo recovery software
  2. PhotoRec - Best open source
  3. Recoverit Data Recovery - Best simple utility
  4. R-Studio - Best for professionals
  5. Softtote Mac Data Recovery - Best underdog
No, it’s not possible to perform photo recovery online—at least not proper photo recovery. To recover deleted photos, you need to download and install a photo recovery application and grant it access to your file system, which is something you should never do with a website. You can, however, use various online tools to restore and digitally enhance corrupted pictures.

It’s certainly possible to recover photos from an Android device, but that depends primarily on whether or not you regularly back up your files. Most Android devices offer to routinely back up your photos via the cloud, allowing you to restore them any time they’re lost or accidentally deleted.

In case you don’t have a backup, you can connect your phone as a storage medium, or if your photos were stored on memory card - directly connect card to your computer, and let a data recovery program try to retrieve the photos for you.

Most data recovery programs offer a free trial version that allows you to recover a certain amount of data before charging you a subscription or a one-time fee. This is a great option if you’re trying to retrieve a relatively small number of photos. Although they’re quite rare, there are some apps out there with free versions that let you recover as many photos as you want without requiring payment.
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