I have an itunes backup that is only missing the Plist files and I want to know if it's possible to recover pictures from this backup? The backup isn't encrypted and programs for reading Itunes backups don't work because of the missing .PLIST files. The backup is complete and has Manifest.db but just missing the PLIST files. I can't seem to find anyone else that has the same issue as me.

  • There are two approaches you could take. 1) you could search on you backup drive for all picture files with something like "Find any File". 2) you could try another backup to a different target and try to figure out the makeup of a plist file and reconstruct. Please post a valid plist file so we can assess how difficult the reconstruction would be. Jul 21, 2019 at 19:45

1 Answer 1


If the backup isn’t encrypted, then the photo files themselves will be intact photo files, regardless of the missing metadata files. (An encrypted backup without the Manifest.plist and Manifest.db would be another, sadder, story.)

Decipher Backup Browser should be able to read the backup without the metadata. https://deciphertools.com/decipher-backup-browser.html If the backup has the Manifest.db, you should see a Camera Roll Gallery section. If there’s no Manifest.db (or it’s an old Manifest.db) use the “Camera Roll Recovery” or “Photo/Video Recovery” sections.

  • I tried the program and it found all the images there's just no thumbnails for any of the images. All that appears for each image is a camera icon. This is when I did camera roll recovery. Do I have to buy the program for the thumbnails to appear or is it not working properly? Jul 21, 2019 at 22:41
  • If all you see in the camera roll recovery is camera icons instead of thumbnails, that would indicate (most likely) that the backup was encrypted. DBB can find the files for what should be Camera Roll photos, but they're all encrypted (and there are no keys) so the thumbnail creation fails. If you select the Photo/Video Recovery section instead, do you see any items there? This scan searches for items that look like photo and video contents in the files, which would not show the encrypted or overwritten files. Was this backup recovered after being deleted on the hard drive?
    – jay_w
    Jul 22, 2019 at 16:38
  • I tried the photo/video recovery section and it found over 200 images except only about 30 of them actually had thumbnails. The backup wasn't recovered and it was just on my computer for a few months after I backed up my phone to itunes. The backup wouldn't be encrypted because I never enabled it. I went into photo app files and I found more images that had a small image thumbnail but the rest had a blank file icon with an X. Is purchasing the program the only way to access the photo app files pictures? Jul 23, 2019 at 8:31
  • It probably makes more sense to take this conversation with your specifics to email - can you shoot us a support message on our website? deciphertools.com/support.html
    – jay_w
    Jul 24, 2019 at 14:51

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