Ultimate Guide to Recover Deleted Photos on Mac for Free

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Accidental data deletion can be a major hassle, especially if that deleted data includes your personal and favorite photos. Fortunately, recovering deleted photos is possible on Mac, even for the permanently deleted ones. Here in this article, you'll find out different free ways to retrieve the deleted photos on Mac.

All the mentioned methods are available for MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, iMac Pro, Mac Pro, Mac mini. Let's get started.


It's best to stop using the drive or folder where your deleted photos were originally located. This will decrease the chances of overwriting.

Part 1. How to Recover Deleted Photos on Mac?

1.1 Recover from Recently Deleted Album

By default, the Photos app on your Mac automatically moves the photos you delete to an album called Recently Deleted. There, the photos are stored for 30 days. After this period, they get permanently deleted. So, if you have accidentally deleted your photos from the Photos app, then you can easily recover them from the Recently Deleted album within the 30-day grace period.

Follow these instructions to recover them:

Step 1. Open the Photos app on your Mac.

Step 2. Navigate to Albums > Recently Deleted.

Step 3. In that album, you will see the thumbnails of your deleted photos. Simply choose the photos that you want to recover and then click the Recover option to recover them. The selected photos will be restored to their original location/album.


After recovering the desired photos, you can free up space by clicking the Delete All button and permanently delete the remaining photos from the Recently Deleted album.

1.2 Recover Deleted Photos from Mac iPhoto

iPhoto is an old Photos app that was replaced with Photos by Apple in 2015. If you are still using the iPhoto app, then you will be glad to know that this app also has a dedicated album for deleted photos. In this app, that folder/album is called iPhoto Trash. If you have accidentally deleted your photos from the iPhoto app, then you can recover them from iPhoto Trash.

Step 1. Open iPhoto app on your Mac.

Step 2. Find and click on Trash displayed on the Sidebar of the app.

Step 3. Now press the Control button and click on the photos that you want to recover and then use the Put Back option to recover them.


1.3 Recover Deleted Photos from Trash on Mac

This is another way to recover your accidentally deleted photos on Mac. By default, everything you delete on your Mac is moved to Trash. If you want to recover the deleted photos, you will simply need to open the Trash and drag the desired photos to a location of your choice. Keep in mind that this method will only work if you haven't emptied the Trash. Follow these instructions:

Step 1. Open Mac Trash.

Step 2. Find the photos that you want to recover, select them, and then drag them to your Mac's desktop or any other location you desire. You can also choose the photos and right-click on them, then click on Put Back. The selected photos will be copied/restored.


Part 2. How to Recover Permanently Deleted Photos on Mac?

If you want to retrieve permanently deleted photos from mac after emptying the trash bin or the above methods don't work, try the following methods:

2.1 Recover Permanently Deleted Photos on Mac with AnyRecover

Using a professional data recovery tool is one of the best ways to recover any kind of deleted data. If you have emptied the Trash and cannot find a way to recover your deleted photos on your Mac, then it is highly recommended that you use AnyRecover for Mac. This powerful data recovery tool is capable of recovering any kind of data quickly and efficiently.


1,000,000 + Downloads

Features of AnyRecover

  • Recover deleted photos, videos, documents, as well as 1000+ other file formats easily on Mac.

  • Preview your deleted photos before recovering them. This makes selected photo recovery highly convenient.

  • Programmed with the latest data recovery technology, reconstructs every little piece to ensure all your photos can be recovered.

  • Data recovery via AnyRecover is 100% safe as your existing files don't get corrupted or damaged during the process.

  • You're able to recover 3 files for free with AnyRecover.

  • Recommended by various famous websites, including Cult of Mac, etc.

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Steps to Recover Deleted Photos after Emptying Trash Bin

Step 1. Install and open iMyFone AnyRecover on your computer. Then select Deleted Files Recovery mode.

anyrecover home mac

Step 2. Choose the location where you accidentally deleted the photos, then click on Next.

mac disc select

Step 3. Choose the file type you want to recover, check Photo. You can also check the All File Types to recover all your deleted files. Then click on the Scan button.

deleted file recovery select file type mac

Step 4. After scanning, a list of recoverable files will be there, just select those you want to recover and click on the Recover button. That's it!

all round recovery scan complete mac

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2.2 Recover with Time Machine

If you don't want to use a third-party data recovery tool to recover your deleted photos, then this is a recommended method. There is a possibility that your Mac has been making Time Machine backups automatically in the background. If that is the case, then you can recover your deleted photos from one of the Time Machine backups. Here are the steps to recover deleted photos with Time Machine backup:

Step 1. First, you need to make sure the Photos app is already closed. Then open Time Machine on your Mac.


Step 2. Select the latest backup and navigate to your photo library.

Step 3. Select the photo library and click on Restore. That's it!


These 5 solutions can help you restore the deleted photos on Mac. In case there's no backup file available after the deletion, try the data recovery tool mentioned in the post, you can retrieve your lost photos on Mac easily with the help of AnyRecover.


By Simon Marcus , to Photo Recovery

Updated: Apr 21, 2021

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