The most important thing is to immediately shut down the iPad and not use it any further until you’re ready to start the recovery process. Otherwise, you risk having your photos overwritten by the activities of the operating system.
Common Situations Where You Can Lose Photos on Your iPad
There are various ways to accidentally lose photos on your iPad. Depending on the situation, there are different fixes which might work for your case.
|Photos were deleted directly from the device||Fix 1: Check the Recently Deleted section in the Photos appFix 2: Use iTunes/Finder (depending on your macOS version) to recover your data from a backupFix 3: Use iCloud to restore your deleted photosFix 4: Restore from an iCloud backupFix 5: Use Disk Drill to restore your deleted photos|
|Operating system malfunction||Fix 4: Use an iCloud backup to restore your entire device to a previous working stateFix 2: Use iTunes/Finder (depending on your macOS version) to recover your data from a backupFix 3: Use iCloud to restore your deleted photosFix 5: Use Disk Drill to restore your deleted photos|
|Physical malfunction||Fix 5: Use Disk Drill to restore your deleted photosFix 6: Send your device to a professional data recovery center|
How to Retrieve Photos from an iPad
There are several approaches you can take when you need to recover deleted iPad photos. You can try the Recently Deleted section, use iTunes or Finder, and also try restoring through iCloud. If those don’t work, a good data recovery center should know how to recover deleted photos on an iPad.
Fix #1: Recently Deleted Section
If the operating system of your iPad is iOS 9 or a later version, you may be able to get your photos back through the Recently Deleted section. To do that, follow these steps:
- Open Photos
- Go to Albums
- At the bottom of the menu, tap on Recently Deleted
Recently deleted photos on an iPad are stored for up to 30 days. If your accident happened within that period, there’s a good chance you will find your photos in that location.
Fix #2: iTunes/Finder
You should also try using iTunes on your Mac. This is useful if you have a previous backup which may contain your photos. To do this, follow these steps:
- If you’re running macOS Catalina or a later version, start Finder. Otherwise, start iTunes.
- Connect your iPad to your Mac with a USB cable.
- Select your device in Finder/iTunes, depending on which one you’re using.
- Click on Restore Backup.
- You will be presented with a list of available backups. Either pick the most recent one, or the one that matches what you’re looking for most closely.
- Click on Restore.
Fix #3: iCloud Photos
Your photos could also be available in your iCloud account if you sync with it regularly. To see if you can recover them from there, simply follow these steps:
- Navigate to iCloud.com on your Mac
- Go to Photos
- Go to Recently Deleted from the sidebar
- See if your photos appear on the list. If they do, select the ones you want to recover.
- Click Recover
Fix #4: iCloud Backup
You may also have been using iCloud to back up your data, including your photos. Some people don’t remember activating the setting, so even if you believe that this is not relevant for you, you should still try to follow this process because there’s a good chance it will work. Keep in mind that this won’t work if you’re unable to turn on your iPad. To recover from iCloud, follow these steps:
- On your iPad, go to Settings -> General -> Transfer or Reset iPad
- Tap on Erase All Content and Settings, and tap on Continue to confirm. This will erase all data on your iPad, so make sure you have a recent backup!
- Once the iPad has been wiped, restart it.
- Go through the initial setup process until you reach Apps & Data
- Tap on Restore from iCloud Backup
- Sign in with your Apple ID
- You will see a list of all backups you can use for restoring your data. Choose the most recent one, or an older one if that’s the one that contains your needed data.
- Wait for the transfer to finish. Keep your device connected to a Wi-Fi network to speed up the process and to avoid incurring unwanted data charges.
- If you’re prompted for your Apple ID during the process, enter it
- Finish the rest of the setup procedure