5 Most Followed Methods to Recover Deleted Photos Mac – Mac OS X(Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave)

Photos tend to take a lot of space and sometimes you might have duplicates as well. Thus, to keep the Mac system free from junk and unnecessary data, we remove unwanted or redundant photos occasionally. However, while deleting duplicates or the jink data, a few of us might accidentally delete the important photos. Honestly, accidental deletion of photos accounts for a big percentage of data loss cases reported globally. So, let’s cut to the chase and get to know how to recover deleted photos on Mac. You can use the same methods even to recover the deleted photos from MacBook (Air, Pro).

Common Photo Loss Scenarios on Mac and their Recovery Solution:

Data Loss Scenario                                                                                            What To Do?

Accidental deletion of important photos from the Photo app. Use the app’s Recently Deleted Folder. 
Accidental deletion of images from the Finder app. Use Mac Trash Bin for photo recovery.
Deleted a few important photos and unknowingly emptied the Trash bin. Remo Data recovery software
Accidentally formatted a partition that consists of important photos. Remo Data Recovery tool
If you have backed up the Time Machine recently but have lost some important images folder. Use the Time Machine backup to restore deleted photos. 
Accidentally deleted photos on a mobile device and now they are gone from the Mac laptop as well Use iCloud’s recently deleted album.
Photos are deleted because of virus infection Data recovery software or Time Machine Backup can be used to recover lost photos from Mac

Where do my Deleted Photos go on Mac?

Recently in 2015, the iPhoto application was replaced by the Photos application. Unlike the old iPhoto application, in the latest Photos app, deleted photos are sent to the Recently Deleted folder. 

The Recently Deleted folder on the Photos app is a dedicated folder that just stores deleted photos. Here is how to find the Recently Deleted folder on the Mac Photos app.

  • Open Photos app > File > Select Show Recently Deleted

However,  photos in the recently deleted folder will exist only for 30 days. Beyond 30 days photos in the recently deleted album will be permanently deleted.

Solution 1: Recover Deleted Photos on Mac OS X Using the Recently Deleted Folder

In the latest Mac OS versions, the deleted photos are sent to the Recently Deleted folder. Following are steps to restore deleted photos on MacBook (Pro, Air), iPhone, or Mac.

  • Open Photos application
  • Go to File in the menu bar and select Show Recently Deleted option
  • In the recently deleted folder, you can see photos that are deleted with the amount of time that is left to recover the deleted photos.
  • Select the photos you want to recover and click on the Recover button on the top right corner

Where do Deleted Photos go on Mac OS?

In the older Mac OS versions, with the iPhoto application, deleted photos are sent to the Mac Trash folder just like any other deleted file. You can find the Mac Trash Bin on the Mac desktop.

Just like the Recently Deleted items, in the Trash folder also recently deleted pictures and folders stay for 30 days or until the bin is manually emptied. Beyond that, the photo will be permanently deleted.

Further, many users permanently delete photos on Mac using Command+Option+Delete keys. Now, this is a complicated scenario as you cannot use the recently deleted folder or Trash to recover permanently deleted photos. For such cases, you need to rely on a Mac photo recovery software that we will discuss in the upcoming segments.

Solution 2: Recover Deleted Photos from MacBook, Mac Trash

If the photos that you have deleted are from a different app or are not in the Recently Deleted folder, you can try to recover deleted photos on Mac from Mac Trash Bin. In older iPhoto applications, deleted photos on MacBook or Mac are sent to the trash folder. To recover them all you have to do is

  • Go to the Trash folder on Mac
  • Right-click on the deleted photo and select the Put Back option to recover photos from Mac trash

NOTE: If you want to restore photos from Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks or older versions, you need to open iPhoto and select Trash from the left column. Then, select the photos you want to recover and choose the Put Back option.

Mac trash recovery works only to recover recently deleted photos on Mac. To recover permanently deleted photos you must have Remo Photo Recovery software.

Apart from the above-discussed methods, you can also recover deleted photos on MacBook or Mac using Time Machine backup. However, this requires that you should have created a backup prior to deleting data.

Solution 3: Recover Deleted Photos on MacBook (Pro, Air) and Mac Using Time Machine Backup

Use the below-mentioned steps to recover deleted photos back from Mac using the Time Machine backup.

  • Connect your Time Machine backup disk to your MacBook or Mac. 
  • Go to finder and open the Time Machine application.
  • Once you open the Time Machine setup, the application will display all the available backup files. 
  • You can scroll through the backup files using arrow buttons or the scroll bar. The time and date of backup will be mentioned in the bottom right corner.
  • After selecting the right backup, navigate to the location, where the deleted photos used to exist. 
  • Select the photos and click on restore to recover the deleted photos on MacBook or Mac using Time Machine Backup.

In practice, most users are reluctant to create backup files but when it comes to data, either personal or professional backup is a must. Having a Backup is the smoothest way to recover permanently deleted photos on MacBook or Mac.

However, if you don't have a backup, the only way to recover permanently deleted photos from Mac is with the help of Remo Photo Recovery software for Mac. This professional tool will not only help you in finding and getting back deleted photos on Mac if you do not have a backup but also in complex data loss scenarios. 

Solution 4: Restore Deleted Photos on Mac from iCloud

If you use iCloud to store your pictures, then they can be recovered for up to 30 days after you delete them. Follow the below-mentioned procedure to recover deleted photos from iCloud.

  • Go to iCloud.com and log in with your Apple ID.
  • Go to Photos in iCloud.
  • Click on the Recently Deleted album in the sidebar.
  • Select the photos you want to retrieve.
  • Click the Recover button.

Solution 5: Recover Permanently Deleted Photos from Mac

Unlike normal deleting, permanently deleting a photo is a complex scenario and it needs sophisticated data recovery software. Remo Photo Recovery for Mac is the best example of an ideal Mac photo recovery software. Remo is a perfect combination of advanced recovery algorithms and the easiest UI. These attributes make this tool the best suitable solution to easily recover data from the most complicated data loss scenarios. Following are instructions on how to recover permanently deleted photos on Mac.

To increase Recovery Chances: You must stop using the storage device or the Mac system as soon as you realize you have lost some important photos. This step is necessary because macOS does not immediately erase the data from the storage drive after the deletion. It just makes the deleted space available for storing new data by deleting the logical links.

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Steps to Recover Permanently Deleted Photos on Mac:

  • Download and install Remo on your Mac

  • From the home screen select the Recover Photos option.
  • Select the drive where the deleted photos used to exist and select the Scan option

  • Once the drive is scanned, Remo will restore all the deleted photos and display them on the Recovery Window

  • From the recovery window, you can select the photos you want to restore back and save them

Since Remo can detect over 300 file formats that include all the RAW photo formats of all the popular brands makes Remo the best photo recovery software. Additionally, Remo also supports all storage drives so that users can even recover deleted photos from SD cards, USB drives, and external hard drives.

Additionally, Remo works seamlessly with all versions of Mac OS such as Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, and even older versions of Mac. Moreover, Remo can also recover deleted videos from Mac.


Hopefully, after following these five Mac deleted photo recovery methods, you will be able to get back your important pictures easily and your precious memories will be safeguarded. However, it is recommended to immediately perform mac photo recovery with the Remo Recover tool, as soon as you lose any pictures. The reason being most of the manual methods described in this article work only for the initial photo loss incident. This is why you should begin deleted photos recovery as soon as possible.

5 Most Followed Methods to Recover Deleted Photos Mac – Mac OS X(Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave) was last modified: December 3rd, 2021 by John Harris

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