Recover Deleted Photos on Mac in 5 Ways (2024 Solutions)

If you are looking for a way to recover deleted photos from Mac, we can help. We have four tips on how you recover deleted photos from your Mac, including everything you need to know about where deleted Mac photos go and various ways to get them back.

Table of Contents

how to recover deleted photos on Mac

How to recover deleted photos on Mac

  1. 1. Open Photos.
  2. 2. Select Albums from the column on the left, and double-click Recently Deleted (in older versions of Photos you'll find Recently Deleted along the top).
  3. 3. You'll see thumbnails of photos and videos you've deleted, well, recently, with a caption under each one indicating how long it's got left...

Quick Access to Photo Recovery on Mac

Whenever you lost Mac photos or pictures, you can bring them back easily. This page offers 5 effective methods to recover deleted photos on Mac. It is easy to restore Mac photos, whether you have a backup or not. Choose a Mac picture recovery solution that fits your situation.

  1. Method 1. Recover Permanently Deleted Pictures on Mac (Recommended)
  2. Method 2. Restore Deleted Pictures Mac Using the Photos App (Within 30 Days)
  3. Method 3. How to Retrieve Deleted Photos from Mac Trash
  4. Method 4. Recover Deleted Photos on Mac with Time Machine (Don't Empty It)
  5. Method 5. Recover Deleted Mac Photos from iCloud

If you deleted pictures from your Mac hard drive or other storage media, you deleted these photos permanently. But you can get them back with the best Mac photo recovery software to recover deleted pictures on Mac. Get more Mac photo recovery details using the first method.

Method 1. Recover Permanently Deleted Pictures on Mac

Support macOS 10.15 ~ 10.9

If you have lost photos from a Mac hard drive, you cannot restore them from the Photos app or the Trash. You only need the best Mac photo recovery tool, like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac. With it, you can easily recover deleted pictures in different image file formats, including JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF/TIF, BMP, PSD, ORF, RAF, MRW, RAW, and more.

How to recover deleted photos on Mac:

Apply this software to restore your deleted pictures or photos on a Mac hard drive or external storage devices like a USB, SD card, or external hard drive on your own.

Note: You can create a backup by clicking the "Disk Backup" on the left first and then recover from the backup image, it can prevent further damage to the photos in Mac Library, making it safer and more reliable.

Step 1. Search for lost photos

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac, hover the mouse over the system drive where the Photos Library is, and click "Search for lost files".

select a location and scan for lost Mac pictures

Step 2. Find pictures from the library

After finishing the scan, click "Photos" under the "Path" tab. All your lost photos will list here.

select the photos from Mac library

Step 3. Recover photos from the library

Double-click to preview the photo, select the right one and click "Recover" to save the images to another secure location on your Mac.

recover lost photos from Mac library

This Mac picture recovery software fully supports Mac HFS+/FAT/NTFS/NTFS5 file system on macOS and Mac OS X. What's more, it works great in helping solve the following problems:

  • Recover deleted photos, music files, and other multimedia types of data.
  • Recover a recently deleted photo with original name and path.
  • Recover photos from SD card on Mac, Compact Flash cards, USB memory sticks, PC hard drives, etc.
  • Restore photos from partitions that have been lost, overwritten, or damaged by a virus on Mac hard drive.

Also read: How to Recover Permanently Deleted Photos on iPhone

If you find this information helpful, please share it with others on social media to assist them in overcoming this common challenge.


Method 2. How to Recover Deleted Photos on Mac Using the Photos App

The Photos App is a built-in tool on Mac to classify and manage pictures and photos. If you accidentally deleted photos on the Mac Photos app, don't worry. The Photos App will save your deleted items in the Recently Deleted album for 30 days.

You can directly recover the deleted photos from the Photos App:

Step 1. Open Photos.

Step 2. Select Albums from the column on the left and double-click "Recently Deleted" (in older versions of Photos, you'll find Recently Deleted along the top).

recover mac deleted photos with Photos app step1

Step 3. You'll see thumbnails of photos and videos you've deleted recently, with a caption under each one indicating how long it's left. Select the photo(s) you want to get back.

Step 4. Click "Recover" at the top right. (If you want to save space and you've just deleted a bunch of large files, and you're certain you won't want them back, you can also click Delete All.)

restore deleted photos from mac with Photos step 2

Then you can return to the original album in Photos to check and use the recovered photos again.

Find Recently Deleted Folder/Photos on Mac

How to Find Recently Deleted Folder/Photos on Mac

If you can't find the recently deleted photos on Mac and need to recover the pictures, find solutions here. Read more >>

Method 3. How to Retrieve Deleted Photos from Mac Trash

If you happen to deleted or remove photos from the Mac hard drive or desktop to the Trash, you know that you can directly undo empty Trash and restore deleted photos easily.

Step 1. Open the Trash Bin icon on your desktop, and you can see all the deleted pictures there.

Step 2. Find the images or pictures you want to recover, drag them to the desktop. Or right-click on them and select the "put back" option to recover deleted photos on Mac from the Trash. The photos will return to their original location.

restore deleted files from mac trash

Method 4. Recover Deleted Photos on Mac with Time Machine

If you have created backups of the deleted photos with Time Machine, follow this method! Your photos, images, and pictures are all safe. And you can simply follow the steps below to restore the lost photos.

Step 1. Connect the Time Machine backup disk to your Mac and click the "Time Machine" icon at the Status menu on Mac. You can also click "Finder", and then open the "Time Machine" application.

recover deleted photos with time machine - 1

Step 2. On the bottom and the right corner of the screen of Mac, scroll the Timeline to find the date when you did a backup of photos. 

You can also click the up arrow next to the Time Machine window to find the right backup version. You can double-click a photo or picture to check if they are your lost photos.

select the time machine disk to find deleted mac photos

Step 3. Select wanted photos and click "Restore" to retrieve the old versions of overwritten photos.

retrieve mac photos with time machine

Method 5. Restore Deleted Mac Photos from iCloud

Most people backup Mac to iCloud as the central repository for their digital lives, including everything from calendars to photos. iCloud Photo Library can save all the images you take with your iDevice, or upload to your Mac from a memory card, and send them to all your devices so you can view them anywhere.

Steps to restore Mac photos from iCloud:

Step 1. Go to in any web browser (you might need to sign in).

Step 2. Click "Photos". Then, click "Albums" at the top.

Step 3. Click the Recently Deleted album.

Step 4. Select the photos you want to restore and click "Recover".

recover deleted photos mac from icloud


Still curious? Click here to learn about How to Recover Deleted Photos on Mac After 30 Days.

Additional Tips - Reasons Leading to Mac Photo Loss

Pictures, photos, and images could be easily lost on Mac and other devices for various reasons. Here are the common causes of Mac image loss:

Causes Details
Careless deletion Directly drag photos to the Trash and restart Mac.
False operation Permanently deleted photos by using "Option + Command + Delete" hotkeys.
Virus attack Your Mac was infected with a virus.
Formatting hard drives Unexpected formatting happens during Mac device installation, system update, and more.
Other accidents A sudden power-off or software failure occurs during the writing process.

How to Avoid Mac Photo or Data Loss

Many cases can cause Mac data loss. The easiest way to protect your data is by creating a Mac backup. macOS's Time Machine is a great built-in utility to handle backups automatically. 

Back up Mac data with Time Machine:

Step 1. Connect an external hard drive to your computer or MacBook

Step 2. Go to "System Preferences > Time Machine > Select Backup Disk".

Step 3. Select the location where you want to save the Time Machine backups and click "Use disk".

Step 4. Tick the "Back Up Automatically" option to set Time Machine back up everything on your Mac automatically.

backup mac photos with time machine

Also Read: How to Backup Mac without Time Machine


These five solutions above can help you recover deleted photos from Photos App, Trash bin, Time Machine, or Mac hard drive/storage devices with Mac file recovery software. By the way, it's always better to have a backup of all your essential data to avoid data loss due to accidental deletion or other reasons. If you don't have any backup, the EaseUS Mac data recovery tool can always do you a favor.

Many Mac users have proved the efficacy of the tool. If you want to resolve the Mac files recovery issue, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms!


How to Recover Permanently Deleted Photos on Mac FAQs

If you still have some questions about Mac's photo recovery, check the quick answers below to help yourself out:

1. Is it possible to recover deleted photos after deleting them permanently?

Images that have been irreversibly deleted can still be recovered with the aid of picture recovery software, even though they are difficult to retrieve from the Recycle Bin on Windows or Trash on Mac.

2. Where do permanently deleted photos go Mac?

The Recently Deleted album shows in the sidebar when you delete a photo. Open the album to see recently removed objects and restore them to your Photos collection. On your Mac, select Recently Deleted from the sidebar of the Photos app.

3. Is there a way to recover permanently deleted files on Mac?

Save for independent data recovery programs, Time Machine is the only integrated tool that you can rely on to restore completely erased files. The Mac's backup tool is called Time Machine. The chosen files are saved to a backup disk. Documents, films, and pictures that you've lost can be restored from backup copies.

4. Does Apple store permanently deleted photos?

Videos and pictures that you remove are kept for 30 days in your Recently Deleted album. They will be permanently removed after 30 days.

Was This Page Helpful?

Updated by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is a senior editor and data recovery specialist of EaseUS. He mainly writes articles and how-to tips about data recovery on PC and Mac. He has handled 10,000+ data recovery cases and is good at data recovery of NTFS, FAT (FAT32 and ExFAT) file systems, and RAID structure reorganization.

Read full bio

Written by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working at EaseUS for over ten years, starting as a technical writer and moving on to being a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over ten years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

Read full bio

Product Reviews

TrustScore 4.7 | 59 reviews
  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is a powerful system recovery software, designed to enable you to recover files you’ve deleted accidentally, potentially lost to malware or an entire hard drive partition.

    Read More
  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we have seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past.

    Read More
  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro has a reputation as one of the best data recovery software programs on the market. It comes with a selection of advanced features, including partition recovery, formatted drive restoration, and corrupted file repair.

    Read More