5 Easy Ways to Recover Deleted Photos on Mac

Jerome Peng
Last updated: Mar 12, 2024

From this guide, you will learn 5 ways to recover deleted photos from your Mac. Hope at least one of them works for you.

The Photos app is one of the most space-consuming apps on your Mac. If your Mac is running low on storage space, deleting identical, blurry, and old photos is a good idea. However, sometimes you may accidentally delete important photos. In this case, how can you retrieve deleted photos on Mac?

Don't panic. In this guide, we will show you 5 ways to recover deleted photos from your Mac. Read on to find out what they are.

5 Best Ways to Recover Deleted Photos to Mac

Method 1: How to Recover Deleted Photos on Mac Using Photos

If you deleted photos using the Photos app, they may still be on your drive and you can restore them using the Recently Deleted album. Note that you can only get back photos deleted within 30 days.

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Click the Recently Deleted album and enter your administrator password to view the deleted photos.
  3. Select the photos you want to restore and click the Recover button.
Restore Deleted Photos on Mac with the Photos App
Photos deleted from Smart Albums cannot be recovered.

Method 2: How to Recover Deleted Photos on Mac Using Trash

If you use the Finder instead of the Photos app to delete photos, you'll be able to restore them using the Trash, but only if you haven't emptied them from the Trash.

To optimize your Mac storage, the system automatically removes files that have been added to the Trash for more than 30 days. This means you can only get back photos deleted within 30 days.

  1. Click the Trash icon in the Dock.
  2. Find the photos you want to recover, Control-click them and select Put Back.
Recover Deleted Photos on Mac with Trash

Method 3: How to Recover Deleted Photos on Mac Using iCloud

Deleting photos from iCloud will also delete them from your device with iCloud Photos turned on. If you change your mind, you still have 30 days to restore them before they are permanently deleted from your iCloud.

  1. Go to iCloud.com and sign in to your account.
  2. Tap on Photos and you will find all the photos stored in iCloud.
    Restore Deleted Photos on Mac with iCloud
  3. Click Recently Deleted in the sidebar, find the photo you want to recover, and click Recover.

Related Article: How to Download Photos from iCloud to iPhone and Mac - 2 Ways

Method 4: How to Recover Deleted Photos on Mac Using Time Machine Backups

It is necessary to back up your Mac. If you happened to have backed up your Mac with Time Machine in the past few days, you have a chance to get back your deleted photos using the backups you created.

  1. Insert the disk with Time Machine backups to your Mac.
  2. Click the Time Machine icon in the menu bar and select Browser Time Machine Backups. Or, you can click the Apple menu > System Settings > General and select Time Machine in the right panel.
  3. Select the backup date, find the photo library where the original photos are stored, and click the restore button. (It‘s good to store the recovered photo library in a different folder than the Pictures.)

Method 5: How to Recover Deleted Photos on Mac with Data Recovery Software

If none of the above methods work for you, you can try a third-party data recovery tool.

Below are some free data recovery software for Mac:

  • Disk Drill
  • PhotoRec
  • TestDisk
  • Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery

It's important to note that these data recovery tools are better for recovering data from external drives such as USB flash drives and SD cards, provided you didn't do anything after deleting photos by mistake.

Bonus Tip: How to Quickly Clean Up Mac

In addition to photos, caches installed apps, and downloaded files can also take up a lot of disk space on your Mac. Clearing them manually is not that safe and quick. However, if you have BuhoCleaner in hand, things are much easier.

BuhoCleaner is an easy-to-use cleanup tool designed for Mac users that lets you delete unwanted files with one click. All scan results are tested multiple times to help you avoid the accidental deletion of files to the greatest extent possible.

DownloadFor macOS 10.10 and above
100,000+ Satisfied Users Worldwide

Here's how to clean up your Mac with BuhoCleaner:

  1. Download, install and launch BuhoCleaner.
  2. Click Scan and it will automatically scan your Mac for junk files.
  3. After the scan is complete, select and delete the unwanted files.
  4. To further clean up your Mac, navigate to other features such as App Uninstaller, Large Files, Duplicates, Disk Space Analyzer, etc.
How to Safely and Quickly Deleted Files on Mac

Final Words

We hope you have successfully recovered deleted photos from your Mac. It is recommended that you regularly back up your Mac with Time Machine to avoid the hassle of accidentally deleting files again.

By the way, BuhoCleaner is an easy-to-use Mac cleaner that helps you clean and speed up your Mac with just a few clicks. If you haven't tried it yet, try it now.

Jerome is a passionate enthusiast of all things Apple. He is expertise in crafting tech-related articles, with a portfolio of more than 100 articles covering various Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.