5 Quick Methods to Recover Deleted Photos from Mac

🕔 8 minutes read It's simple to recover images that have been deleted and moved to the Mac Trash. However, if you've permanently erased the images or other items from your Trash Bin, things could be very different. To address this, we've put up a guide that will show you how to use Remo Photo Recovery Software to recover permanently deleted pictures from iPhoto, Photos, or other Mac libraries.

Photos take up a lot of storage space, and you may have duplicates as well. As a result, we eliminate unwanted or unnecessary images from time to time to maintain the Mac system clear of junk and needless storage.

However, while cleaning duplicates or junk data, a few of us may erase crucial images by mistake. To be honest, unintentional photo deletion accounts for a significant portion of all data loss cases recorded worldwide. So, let’s cut to the chase and get to know how to recover deleted photos on Mac. 

These procedures can be used for Mac OS Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, and other versions as well. The same approaches can be used to recover deleted images from a MacBook (Air, Pro).

Scenarios of Photo Loss and Recovery Options:

Data Loss Scenario What To Do?

Accidental deletion of important photos from the Photo app. To recover photos from Photo App you can use the app’s Recently Deleted Folder.
Accidental deletion of images from the Finder app. To recover accidentally deleted images from Finder App use Mac Trash Bin for photo recovery.
Deleted a few important photos and unknowingly emptied the Trash bin. If your Mac Trash hasn't been emptied, you can try to recover pictures using the Putback option, but if it has, you'll need to use Remo Data recovery software
Accidentally formatted a partition that consists of important photos. To recover important photos from the formatted partition use the Remo Data Recovery tool
If you have backed up the Time Machine recently but have lost some important images folder. You can use the Time Machine backup to restore deleted photos if you have lost an important image folder.
Accidentally deleted photos on a mobile device and now they are gone from the Mac laptop as well To recover deleted photos on a mobile device 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 in the top right corner

Where do Deleted Photos go on Mac OS?

Deleted images are transferred to the Mac Trash folder like any other deleted file in older Mac OS versions with the iPhoto application. The Mac Trash Bin is located on the Mac desktop.

Similar to the Recently Deleted items, recently deleted pictures and folders in the Trash folder remain for 30 days or until the bin is manually emptied. The picture will be permanently deleted after that.

Furthermore, many Mac users erase images permanently by using Command+Option+Delete. This is a tricky situation because you can't restore permanently erased photos from the recently deleted folder or Trash. In such circumstances, you'll need to use Mac photo recovery software, which we'll go over in detail in the next sections.

Solution 2: Recover Deleted Photos from Mac Trash

You can try to recover deleted photos from Mac Trash Bin if they were deleted from a different app or aren't in the Recently Deleted folder. Deleted photos on a MacBook or Mac are routed to the Trash folder in earlier iPhoto versions. All you have to do to get them back is:

  • Go to the Trash folder on Mac

 recover deleted photos on mac

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

 recover deleted photos on mac

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 your 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 Mac Using Time Machine Backup - MacBook (Pro, Air)

Use the steps below 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.

recover lost photos on Mac after update using Time Machine Backup

  • 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 images 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 tool will not only help you find and recover deleted images on your Mac if you don't have a backup, but it will also help you deal with more complicated data loss situations.

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

When all other methods listed above fail it is best to utilize a Mac Photo Recovery Software, that will help you recover photos even if they’re permanently deleted. Permanently deleting a photo, unlike normal deletion, is a complicated scenario that demands the use of specialized data recovery software. 

Remo Photo Recovery for Mac is the best example of Mac photo recovery software. Remo is the ideal combination of powerful recovery algorithms and the most user-friendly interface. These features make this tool the best option for recovering data from even the most difficult data loss scenarios. 

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.

Note: If you have SIP enabled on your Mac, you may need to disable SIP before installing the tool; if not, you can simply install the utility and follow the methods below.

  • 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. Users may also recover deleted photos from SD cards, and recover deleted videos from Mac, USB devices, and external hard drives because it supports all storage drives.

Additionally, Remo works seamlessly with all versions of Mac OS such as Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, and even older versions of Mac.


Hopefully, by using these five Mac deleted photo recovery methods, you will be able to effortlessly recover your important photos and save your priceless memories.

However, if you lose any photos on your Mac, you should use the Remo Recover application to recover them as soon as possible. The reason for this is that most of the manual procedures outlined in this article only work for the first instance of photo loss. As a result, you should start recovering deleted photos as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I recover permanently deleted photos from my Mac?

Using the procedures below, you can restore permanently deleted images from your Mac.

  • Install Remo Photo Recovery on your computer.
  • Select the drive with the deleted data once the app is launched.
  • To scan the drive, click Scan.
  • Preview the photos that have been recovered.
  • To complete the photo recovery, click the Save button.

How do I recover permanently deleted photos from iCloud after 30 days?

Restoring deleted photos from a local iTunes backup is your best option for recovering deleted photos after 30 days:

  • Connect your iPhone to your Mac via a USB cable.
  • Launch iTunes.
  • Choose your iPhone.
  • Select Restore Backup from the drop-down menu.
  • Choose a backup and wait for the process to complete.

How do I recover permanently Photos from iCloud on Macbook?

Yes, you can recover permanently deleted photos from iCloud on Macbook:

  • Login to iCloud Drive on iCloud.com.
  • Click the Recently Deleted option in the bottom-right corner of the window.
  • Select each file you want to recover and then click Recover.
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John Harris

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

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