I'm using iOS 11. I had around 5000 photos on my phone. I took the following steps:

  1. Took a local computer (on Mac) backup via iTunes.
  2. Did the factory reset & erased the entire phone.
  3. Restarted the phone with a fresh setup and took around 20 photos.
  4. After a few hours later I reconnected my phone to my Mac and restored the backup took in the 1st step

The fourth step might have overridden those 20 photos and I'm not able to recover those. I tried various softwares but nothing worked. Is there a way I can get back those photos or does iTunes took a backup before the restore?

  • If you backed up your photos, they should have been restored back to your phone. Try looking in the folder /Library/Application Support/iTunes, they might be in there somewhere.
    – Caio Mar
    Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 11:47
  • 4
    Which photos are missing? Just the last 20? If so, that's to be expected - they weren't in the backup, so there was no way to restore them from it. Restore doesn't merge, it replaces.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 14:07
  • Hmm...I was afraid of this! Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 2:50
  • 1
    @tetsujin: please, make an answer of your comment. Too many users are losing their documents on iPhone due to the lack of clear, simple information and warnings.
    – dan
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 11:55

1 Answer 1


The main thing to note is...
Restore does not merge old & new data. It replaces one with the other.

At restore, any information currently on the device will be erased.
This applies to any device, phone, computer etc. On a computer with a regular hard disk, forensic software may be able to recover some lost data. On a flash-based storage device, let alone one like an iPhone which uses hardware encryption, this data is gone forever.

This can be something of an issue if you have important data & need to restore from an earlier backup.

For photos etc, the simplest way to be able to re-merge afterwards would be to save them in Photos, or use Image Capture etc before restoring the older backup. You could then use iTunes to re-add them afterwards, in effect as 'new' data.

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