How do I Recover Permanently Deleted Photos on Mac - Complete Guide

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The risk of photo deletion on Mac is inevitable. Besides system crashes, technical glitches, software issues, physical damage, and malware attack, accidental deletion is a common threat to photos stored on Mac. Luckily, all Apple device users can retrieve deleted photos from the Trash folder within the next 30 days.

If you fail to do so, your deleted photos and videos will automatically be moved from Trash to the Recently Deleted album (where they will remain for some time). After that, pictures will be permanently erased from your Mac.


Tips to Recover Deleted Photos on Mac

Let's dive into some feasible options to bring back your deleted photos.


1. Photos Recovery from Apple iCloud

iCloud service gives you the liberty to store and sync photos across different Apple devices to restore deleted photos. In case of permanent deletion, simply log into your iCloud account and restore your lost pictures from there. Here are the steps for iCloud Photos recovery:

- Sign in to using your Apple ID and click open Photos in it.

- Next click on the Recently Deleted album in the sidebar.

- Select all the images you wish to recover.

- Hit the Recover button on the top-right corner to restore photos from iCloud.



2. Recover Your Pictures from Local Backup

Recover deleted photos on Mac is possible if you have set up Time Machine. The built-in backup feature can restore your deleted photos, even after you empty Trash.

Follow the instructions to recover deleted photos from Time Machine backup:

- Connect the Time Machine backup drive with your Mac.

- Click on the Time Machine icon from the Menu bar and select Enter Time Machine.

Tip: If the Time Machine icon disappeared from the Menu bar then follow the path:

Click on the Apple menu > System Preference > Time Machine and select Show Time Machine in the menu bar.

- Browse through the Time Machine from the timeline or use the up/down arrow keys.

- Choose the deleted files and click on the Restore button to place them at their original location.

- Wait till the process is over.


3. Use Terminal for Photos Recovery

Try recovering deleted photos with the Terminal command-line interface on Mac. Though, this option is moderately tricky and has some drawbacks, as it enables you to recover just one file at a time. Besides, you can't implement the method if you are uncertain about the file name you wish to recover.

To use Terminal, you must specify the exact deleted file name and location from where your photos were deleted.

Follow the steps below to get back your deleted photos using Mac Terminal:

Open the Terminal command line on Mac and navigate to Applications > Utilities > Terminal.

Enter the command line and retrieve your deleted photos by following these steps:

- Open the Terminal and type cd. Trash. Click on the Return button.

- Type mv deleted image file name../. Press Return.

- Type Quit and press Enter to close the Terminal.

- Now go to the Finder to access your restored photos on Mac.

- Click to know step-by-step how to recover image files from Trash using Terminal on Mac.

If you fail to restore deleted pictures from Trash, iCloud, or Time Machine, then surely your photos were permanently deleted. In this case, stop using the macOS to trim down the possibility of overwriting and increase the chances of retrieving your deleted photos. Only trusted data recovery software could retrieve permanently deleted photos.  


4. High Time to Download a Photo Recovery Software

Users swear by Stellar Photo Recovery for Mac, a reliable tool that can undelete permanently deleted photos in not less than 5 simple steps. The software can bring back your photos from all kinds of storage devices besides HDDs, SSDs, or SD cards. Its sophisticated graphical user interface (GUI) and several other elements like the ability to preview deleted photos, right before recovery, made photos recovery on Mac seamless.

The following steps demonstrate on Mac using Stellar Photo Recovery for Mac. Take a gander:

- Download and install Stellar Photo Recovery for Mac on your system.

- Run the software and select the Photos option under Multimedia Files and unselect all the other file types.

How do I Recover Permanently Deleted Photos on Mac

- Select the drive, volume, or external media from where you wish to restore your pictures and click Scan.

How do I Recover Permanently Deleted Photos on Mac

Pro Tip: If you don't find the desired images after the normal scan then enable the Deep Scan button for the comprehensive scan of the storage drive.

- Wait till the scanning process ends in order to Preview the recovered files.

- Select all the image files you have previewed and wish to retrieve.

How do I Recover Permanently Deleted Photos on Mac

- Click Recover to bring back your permanently deleted photos.

- Specify a destination folder for the recovered photos and click OK.



All the methods recommended in this blog are applicable to Apple Mac mini, iMac, MacBook Pro, or others. Each one of them will help you recover deleted photos on Mac. However, we suggest using the last method of photo recovery on Mac with a professional software.

Choose a reliable software like Stellar Photo Recovery for Mac because it can recover any file format from all kinds of macOS computers and drives. Simply download, install, and mount the software on your MacBook, iMac, or Mac Pro/mini and restore your permanently deleted photos. 

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