Last update: Jan. 20, 2017
When it comes to recovering deleted or lost iPhone files, there are usually two solutions: check if you have backups, use iPhone data recovery software. While the former sounds no-brainer but you may forget to do so because we are often overwhelmed with the panic caused by data loss. Therefore, the first tip we have for you is fresh your mind, and see if you ever saved the data elsewhere.
If unfortunately that doesn't work out, then try an iPhone recovery tool. There are many software in the market boasting their capability of recovering iPhone data. That's why we're determined to test which software works as it says. And we narrow down the best iPhone data recovery programs, so you don't have to waste time searching around.
QUICK PICKS: 6 GREAT CHOICES
**Below, you'll find our detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to get each software and start recovering your lost iPhone data.
When Do You Need an iPhone Data Recovery Software?
Although regular backups are always the most efficient and safest way to avoid iPhone data loss, life is usually unpredictable especially in the digital age when you own several mobile devices. You may firmly believe in your iPhone's reliability and ignore the significance of data backup. Also, backup software or hard drive sometimes don't work. If that happens, you're leaving your countless photos, videos, contacts, notes, etc. at risk.
Here are a list of scenarios that you may need to use a third-party recovery software to get back your lost iPhone data:
- You accidentally deleted some photos and couldn't find them in the "Recently Deleted" folder.
- You lost some data after an iOS system update (to date, it's iOS 10).
- Your iPhone is locked, and you can't remember the passcode.
- You decided to jailbreak your iPhone but failed, and some data got wiped (note: iOS jailbreaking is illegal in some countries, don't do that).
- Your iPhone is water damaged or physical damaged, and you can't turn it on.
- Your iPhone is lost or stolen.
How to Choose the Best iPhone Data Recovery Software? Criteria in 2017
Our reviews are primarily based on the following five criteria: 1), security; 2), quality; 3), compatibility; 4), usability; 5), support. While it's hard to use standardized data metrics to measure each software and some factors may have more weight than others, we decide not to make things over complicated.
- Is the software safe to download? It's important because any downloadable software on the Internet should not contain any viruses or malware. We first download the installation file of each software and upload it to Comodo File Analysis to check if it contains virus or malicious processes. Once we confirm it's clean, we then install it on our PC and Mac for further evaluation.
- Is it powerful to handle different data loss situations? The best iPhone data recovery program should be able to deal with all kind of data loss whether it's accidental deletion or device inaccessibility. Fortunately, it's easy to identify based on the recovery methods the software offers. Usually, a good program contains three recovery modes: direct scan, extract iTunes backup, recover from iCloud backup (names may vary slightly in some software). Also, we take into account the number of file types it supports.
- Is it compatible with all iPhone models and your computer? No matter you are using an old iPhone 5 or the latest iPhone 7, the software should support it. Also, since a software program needs to run on a computer, ideally it should come with both a PC and Mac version, and should be compatible with the latest OS such as Windows 10 or macOS 10.12 Sierra. We knock out programs that have compatibility issues.
- Is the software easy to use? A great iPhone file recovery program should be not only powerful but also user-friendly. Usability can be easily evaluated based on human instincts, for example, whether the program has bugs, is it confusing to use, or whether it provides instructions to assist users, etc.
- Can you reach out to their support team for questions? Another factor we take into consideration is to see if the developer provides adequate technical or customer support. This is important because data recovery is sophisticated business, you may encounter various circumstances when you have no idea about how to proceed. A supportive team behind the product can give you a hand and solve your problems.
What's the Best iPhone Data Recovery Software in 2017? Top 6 Choices
Please note: all the alternatives recommended below have been tested to be virus-free and malware-free, rest assured. Feel free to install any of them on your PC or Mac. Also, all the software listed below are with GUI (Graphic User Interface) and are relatively easy to use. You should have no problems handling it all by yourself.
Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery for iOS
Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery for iOS stands out for its high performance and usability. With three simple but powerful recovery modes: "Recover iOS Device", "Recover iTunes Backup" and "Recover iCloud Backup," the software can quickly scan your iPhone, iTunes or iCloud and display all recoverable items in an easy-to-recognize manner. Best of all, it shows you the number of files you deleted and how many are actually recoverable — we found this super useful. Stellar Phoenix offers 24/7 customer support, and they can be reached via emails, live chat or phone calls.
iMobie claims PhoneRescue can recover up to 22 different types of files, which dwarfs many other alternatives. For example, it even recovers data from third-party apps such as What'sApp. If you are a heavy What'sApp chatter and for some reason the chat record or contacts lost, you should have no problem using PhoneRescue to find them back. With three different modes: "Recover From Device", "Recover From iTunes Backup" and "Recover From iCloud," you can use the program to handle almost any iPhone data loss situations.
Dr.Fone was the 1st iPhone data recovery. It also claims to be the most comprehensive data recovery solution on the market. Initially, the software had different versions for different iPhone models; later they integrated all of them into one. Built with three standard recovery methods: "Recover from iOS Device", "Recover from iTunes Backup File" and "Recover from iCloud Backup File," it's able to recover many types of files from all kinds of scenarios. The program is compatible with all iPhone and iOS device models.
FoneLab is another professional iPhone file retrieval application that is able to recover up to 19 different types of files created on all iOS devices including iPhone 4S/5/6/6S. The software supports file preview — which means you can actually "steal" some of the found pictures after the scan. It also comes with backup functions that enable you to restore items quickly and easily. You can use it on a Windows PC or an Apple Mac machine.
Leawo iOS Data Recovery
Leawo claims to be able to recover 12 types of data from iTunes or iCloud backup, and it includes four main recovery modes: "Recover from device", "Recover from iTunes backup", "Recover under DFU mode" and "Extract from iCloud Backup." Besides, you can also use the software to backup important data in case any future data loss. The Leawo support team is available to take email requests, as well as via Skype and phone support during normal business hours.
Tenorshare iPhone Data Recovery
What we like about the software is that besides scanning and recovering lost iPhone files, you can directly sync the recovered data back to your iPhone. This function saves you time, especially when you have recovered lots of items and wanted to use the data again on your phone. All the transferred files will be kept intact, according to what the software provider claims. Tenorshare has three recovery modes and can restore up to 20 different file types such as text/media content and third-party app data.
Disclaimer: this iPhone file recovery software review is based mainly on our own experience testing and using products available in the industry, and the expertise of iPhone experts with whom we consult. Meanwhile, we also refer to the information provided on the websites of respective software developers/owners. As such, the above recommendations are our own opinions and we don't intend to rank which option is the best. We encourage you to do your own research if necessary.
Influenced by the startup culture in the Silicon Valley, Jessica loves building things from zero to one and is keen on following news related to the Big Five tech giants and many SaaS startups.