I've been asked to help restore photos and videos from an iPhone 4S, after a reset. No iCloud backup. I see a lot of software that claims it can do this, and paying a fee is just fine. But does it deliver? Has anyone done this?

Ideally, I would like to dump the user accessible flash to an image file and use tools like photorec and magicrescue to carve the JPG files out. The video files are of lower priority.

What have all of you done to recover lost data on iPhones?


  • I've used the app iExplorer to access wonky iDevices. Disclaimer: No financial or other ties to Macroplant LLC - just a satisfied user.
    – IconDaemon
    Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 16:38
  • Can it scan for deleted files?
    – user2497
    Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 16:47
  • "iExplorer's disk mounting features allow you to use your iPhone, iPod or iPad like a USB flash drive. You can view your iPhone's photos directly in Finder or Windows Explorer like you would from any other digital camera. You're also able to get file system access to data contained within the apps or other directories on your device.". This looks useful. Did you access the user-flash directly, using this app?
    – user2497
    Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 16:52
  • I need a raw disk device exposed, not just a folder:/
    – user2497
    Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 16:58

1 Answer 1


iPhones are hardware encrypted.

If you reset the phone from scratch, everything that was on there before is gone.
Once the hardware key is erased, the data is not recoverable by any means.

That's what backups are for.... iExplorer et al can scour backups & the current phone system... but not encrypted, overwritten devices.

  • Well, damnit. I've heard tell I can boot it into DFU mode and use special software to scan the useraccessible part of flash. Is this correct? Is the key regenerated upon reset?
    – user2497
    Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 21:01
  • Probably what you've heard relies on the phone not having been reset. The keys are gone after a reset.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 6:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .