There’s a million ways to lose your iPhone data, but while you’re searching online, in mild panic, looking for ways to recover deleted pictures or lost contacts, it may look like there is not a single way to get them back.
We store an impressive quantity of data on our iPhones every day: photos, music, videos, SMS messages and attachments, notes, reminders, call history, voice memos, Safari bookmarks, any many more. All of those can be deleted, either purposely or by accident, only to realize that it was a mistake – a moment too late. Unfortunately iPhone doesn’t have a “recycle bin” where your deleted data goes.
And, if you suffer a stroke of particularly bad luck, you may lose all your data at once: one moment you’re updating your iPhone, the next moment all you know is that the update has apparently failed, and your iPhone is now dead for all intents and purposes.
Sometimes people do stupid things, like reset their phone to the factory settings, without making a backup beforehand. Oops, all your data has now been wiped-out! Things can go wrong when attempting a jailbreak. People forget their screen lock passwords. Your phone can get lost, stolen or damaged. Sooner or later, your device will just die, with Apple logo screen of death or inaccessible system error.
If any of these happen to you, it’s important to immediately stop using the phone. Any operation can generate new data which can overwrite your lost data, making it harder to recover. That’s why you’re advised not to sync your iPhone with iTunes in this situation: you don’t want your backup data being updated. Set iPhone into the flight mode before attempting to recover data. Do not try rebooting continuously – that can only cause further data damage.
If you’ve ever synced your iPhone with iTunes, you can use iTunes backup to regain old data. iPhone has a build-in data recovery feature. It’s worth trying this data recovery tool when backup doesn’t exist. If that doesn’t work neither, you can use a third-party software to directly scan and try to recover data from your iPhone. There are even tools that can restore back your settings, that you have spent hours setting up.
iPhone hard drive is similar to your computer hard drive: the data is never deleted permanently, but only marked to be overwritten. Using the right tools, in many cases, you can get all your deleted or lost data back.