Restore photos from a re-set iPhone with no backup


Bad situation. Daughter's iPhone was re-set to factory settings without a backup, neither icloud nor iTunes backup.

2 years of photos gone.

Is there any hope of recovering the photos from the device?

Any advice very welcome...
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ken corningCommented:
Ain't cheap. But chat them first to see.
Do not waste your time. I don't think that more than 5 people in the world who can restore data from formatted iPhone. I was reading an article a few years ago that there are 2 in the US that can help with that, but I think you have to kidnap their kids and blackmail them.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
If the data recovery service doesn't work for you , then, no, no way to get the data back .

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Kyle SantosQuality AssuranceCommented:
It really pains me to hear about these situations and I wish Apple was more educational about situations like these and provided more assistance directly.

I know this is not helpful to the OP now, but for future reference, I wrote an article that can show you how to prevent something terrible like this from ever happening again.
The tl;dr version is
Go to your iPhone


Click your name (Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes, etc)



Change Storage Plan

Select 50GB for $0.99 a month.

Confirm the changes.

Then go back to Settings

Photos & Camera

iCloud Photo Library > Toggle ON

Check Optimize iPhone Storage

Upload My Photo Stream > Toggle OFF

iCloud Photo Sharing > Toggle ON

By following those steps you'll ensure that your photos are always saved in the cloud.
You can get up to 30GB free with Google Pictures or 50GB with one drive. iCloud should also have free storage.
Kyle SantosQuality AssuranceCommented:
Agreed, Bocevski.  Just beware
When it comes to the quality of images that are uploaded, the app gives you two options. You can choose an option to use the space that is available on Google Drive and upload full resolution images or simply allow the app to downsize the image and then save it in your Google Drive without consuming any space. This effectively means that you can upload unlimited pictures to your Google Drive account as long as you are willing to accept slightly shrunken images in resolution. Basically, Google reduces your images to a maximum size of 16 megapixels and video resolution to 1080p. For most of us, 16MP sounds not so bad and is in fact in line with what most of the smartphone camera are capable of shooting.

I do not believe iCloud does this to photos.  iCloud does offer free storage up to 5GB but that's usually only good for backing up your iPhone in case you ever need to restore the iPhone after a failure like the OP's.  5GB is not enough space for people who take hundreds, if not thousands of photos, with their iPhone.

50GB with one drive.
Unless I'm mistaken, its $1.99/mo for 50gb.

DropBox has mixed reviews, but this one seems pretty reliable on DropBox and Google photos after some extensive testing.
The main lesson for me is that I should confirm how applications I rely on to move data work as advertised. I do understand why Dropbox re-compress photos as it gives a large saving in storage and bandwidth, I wish they were as upfront about this as Google are.

Google says they will optimize your photos, if you don’t like this then you can pay money to store the originals. Dropbox on the other hand say “Don’t worry about losing those once-in-a-lifetime shots, no matter what happens to your iPhone.”
try, 50GB free
Shaun VermaakTechnical SpecialistCommented:
If some of these photos were posted to Facebook (I know you said no Cloud backup) you can use IDrive Facebook backup feature to download those photos.
Jackie ManIT ManagerCommented:
The internal storage of iPhone is encrypted on first use.

If you have not made any backup before your iPhone is factory reset, nothing can be restored as reset means to remove the encryption key permanently and all data inside the internal storage means nothing from the iOS of your iPhone. Sadly, it is a non-reversible process and no one can help you to recreate the encryption key.


The encryption adopted by Apple is of military standard and there is nothing which can be done by civilians' solutions.

Do not trust any claim from data recovery firms for recovery of encrypted storage which has been formatted with no backup of the encryption key. It is the same case for ransomware outbreaks and the data are just not recoverable by the technology today.

If you still want your photos back, get a new iPhone now and put the old iPhone in a safe place and technology advancement might help after a decade when there is super computer which can be leased using SaaS (Software as a Service) which can do decryption in a much shorter time.

If you continue to use the old iPhone, there is zero chance of data recovery.
Try Dr. Fone from Wondershare.
It might help.

There are less chances to recover all, but maybe some of the photos might be recovered.
If the photos are really precious, then be ready to spend some hours to try recover them.
Actually here is a list with such recovery software.
Jackie ManIT ManagerCommented:
I do not think you need to try all those data recovery software as they only assume you have deleted the contents from your iPhone, but not doing a factory reset.

Factory reset is a completely different story from deleting only a few photos.
Jackie ManIT ManagerCommented:
"iPhone was re-set to factory settings without a backup, neither icloud nor iTunes backup."

Answer needs to be relevant to the question.

No iTunes / iCloud backup = No need to try

Reasons already been made in my previous comment.

If it is so easy to restore data after a factory reset, it means Apple design of encryption is only a joke.

It is a decryption process without an encryption key and not just scanning a deleted photo from a file  storage for normal data recovery.
As with any quick formatting, undeletion Tools may work and recover large parts of the files. (link already mentioned) describes it - of course it is an advert, yes, but there is no doubt that it could work. I am no apple guy, or I would surely try to recommend a freeware (which might exist).
@Jackieman's "The internal storage of iPhone is encrypted on first use." - did you verify if this applies to you?
Just to be clear, undeletion works even on encrypted file Systems or encrypted single files - if the Software that does it is only smart enough and you can provide the encryption key.
Jackie ManIT ManagerCommented:

Factory reset is NOT quick formatting for sure.

It would be a privacy nightmare for Apple if data can be recovered by undeletion tool easily after an iPhone has been factory reset.

The encryption key is removed permanently when you factory reset an iPhone. You can try to recover the data by undeletion tool if you have an iPhone to play with.
I think this conversation here should stop because no one can help. Instead of acting experts in this field, it is sincere to say I do not know. I know that only once ex-Apple engineer restored deleted data from iPhone because the request was related to the court case for paedophilia charges and the guy could finish over 10 years in jail. Long story short in the article was mentioned that Apple rejected to restore the data, there were only two engineers in the US that could do it, one refused the job, the other one said that he was sorry he did it, and he will not do it again under any circumstances.
Jackie ManIT ManagerCommented:

It is only a lesson learned and backup should be made for any important data before they are gone forever.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
As we noted way back earlier, the photos are gone.
Guys. Is encryption even used? Don't take that for granted, we still don't know details like the IOS version.
Even if I inclined to believe the guys above are right, as I do not consider myself expert in IOS, but I have some success in data recovery over the years with Windows and Linux, it does not hurt to give it a try with some trial software. What is the problem? Don't expect to recover, but try and be happy if it happens to be successful at least for some photos.
Jackie ManIT ManagerCommented:
The problem is the developer of the data recovery software is a famous one for scam.

You are on bait if you install their trial and they will emotionally provoke you to buy a useless software after trial.

If you google for iPhone data recovery, you will find a dozen software with nearly identical user interface which claims to do data recovery for iPhone.

I suggest that you shall try the data recovery software on your own first before making recommendation of a third-party software which claims it can do something which the device manufacturer inclines to offer a solution.
Actually I have tried at least 5-6 such tools in the past, on iPhone, but never after factory reset.
I have never tried all from the above links.
And by the way, one of them was Dr. Fone and is not a scam, I tested it by myself.
In your link most of the reviews say is a scam, but one from "Richard Fencel " has a positive review. In my case was the same.
I do not claim that it might work in the above case, but definitely will not harm the PC or the mobile phone. If after scanning finds photos, then will also recover them.
My recommendation, based on my experience, is to try and post here the results of the scanning before any dollar is spent for full version.
I do not say that "mewtd" should buy the full version right away. I only recommend to use trial version and see the scanning result.
That means to try and the try does not hurt.
I would agree totally with you only if after the scan the shown results are not recoverable. That's why is important to try more than one such software as I always did also in Windows. Then you compare the scanning results.
You must know, that even in Windows with a full version recovery software , after scan and recovery state, sometimes the photos or videos may have the header corrupted and you get a file, but unreadable. I experienced that with trustfully software as R-Studio for instance, which recovered 80% of the data on NTFS encrypted after 1 week of different trials, but compared with other tolls too.
In this case, with iOS, I only recommend to try, more than one, look at results and before you buy, compare, eventually post here the scan results.
But be ready to spend time, more than you expect now.
What I say is: there is chance, but never the guarantee, even with full version, even if it is a trustfully software, not a scam.
Kyle SantosQuality AssuranceCommented:
Actually I have tried at least 5-6 such tools in the past, on iPhone,
I would be interested in reading about your methods on this!
anna smithCommented:
No backup, it has gone.
Or try to find a iPhone data recovery software to see how it works.
Get help from this guide:
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Thanks and sorry about the loss of data.
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