4 Tips to Help You Choose the Right iPhone Recovery Software

imyfone app

I know I shouldn’t, but on more than one occasion, I’ve ignored my iPhone’s pleas to add more storage to my iCloud backup. For some reason, I like to believe my iPhone is like a teenager—invincible. Nothing bad could possibly ever happen to it. Until it does.

You can lose or damage your phone, forget your password, run into a technical problem, or find yourself in another situation where just like that, your precious photos, videos, contacts, messages, and more are all gone, and you’re left scrambling to find a way to recover your iPhone data.

It’s not always easy to recover lost data. But, there’s still hope. You can restore your iPhone from a previous backup if you’ve backed up your data using iTunes or iCloud. Besides, there is another way to recover your iPhone data, which is using a third-party recovery tool. Your iPhone saves deleted files on a database called SQLite. Once you delete specific data it is still accessible, but it transitions from “Allocated” to “Unallocated”. As soon as you begin downloading new apps and creating new data, your “Unallocated” data cache is the first to be permanently overwritten. Depending on whether the “Unallocated” data cache is overwritten, and whether or not you’ve backed up your information, there are several different tools out there to help you with iOS data recovery.

However, there are many factors that go into selecting an iPhone recovery program. That’s why we’ve broken down your search criteria into these four major tips and reviewed five popular recovery tools, to help you choose the best iPhone recovery software.

Method: which type of iPhone recovery method do you need?

Your software can use several data recovery methods. These methods are the different approaches each software takes to scan and recover lost files. There are many factors that can impact your ability to recover iPhone data and the method that you need to be successful. Start by asking yourself:

  1. Have I backed up my information?
  2. Was it with iCloud or iTunes?
  3. Did I factory reset my iPhone?

These three questions can make a big difference when selecting an iPhone recovery tool. If the answer to the first question is no, then you’ll need to select a tool that can perform iPhone data recovery without backup by scanning your iOS device and searching for salvageable files.

If the answer is yes then you’ll be able to narrow down your search to any software that can help you restore the most recent iTunes or iCloud backup files. These files can be encrypted, so you need to make sure you’re selecting a software that can decrypt and restore encrypted files. Also, most recovery tools don’t support a restore of lost data back to a device because it may overwrite the current data on your device.  

Question three is a little trickier. There are many reasons why you would need to factory reset your phone, for example, an iOS upgrade that went wrong, jailbreak issues, virus attacks, and even for simple problems and bugs. When files are deleted from your iPhone, they are temporarily stored in your device’s internal database. Once you start saving new data to your phone, you begin to override those files. But when you factory reset your phone all of your data is erased and can’t be recovered, so you are unable to recover your data directly from the device.

So, in order to recover data from an iPhone after factory reset you can only rely on old backups that you made before the factory resetting. Some data recovery software will be able to restore deleted data to an iPhone through these backups.

Compatibility: both with your device and your computer.

Since almost all iPhone data recovery tools are desktop software, it’s important to make sure the software that you choose is going to work for your device—beyond your iPhone, this also includes iPod and iPad recovery—and your computer.

As new devices and iOS upgrades are released, recovery software companies are scrambling to keep their tools up-to-date. Or on the other hand, if you’re careful and have kept your device for a few years, some software may have phased out supporting your older device and its recovery.

And, while every iOS recovery program is compatible with iPhones and iPads, they may not be compatible with your Mac computer. So, the moral of the story is to always check and make sure the software you select works for all of your needs.   

Capability: determines what programs and information a software can recover.

Each type of iOS data recovery software has similar and different recovery capabilities. When we talk about capabilities, we mean the kind of data a tool can recover, the ways in which it can recover or export that data, and the software’s data recovery success rate. Because most iPhone data recovery software implements similar technology, they also have similar success rates.

When you think about capabilities, ask yourself, “What is my primary recovery goal?” Do you really need to recover your contact information? Were there irreplaceable photographs on your device? Whatever your primary goal is, make sure the software you choose is capable of retrieving that kind of data for you.

Another helpful feature is a preview. Being able to preview the data you’re going to restore or export is important because it ensures that you won’t grab the wrong data by accident. It can also save you a lot of time during the recovery process because you’re able to select exactly what you need versus recovering all of your data—which can take a long time. A good preview function can make all the difference, especially if you have several older backups of your data.

In some cases, you may want to recover your data and export it to an Excel, PDF, or other file formats. When you recover files directly to your phone, you may overwrite any current files. That’s why it’s nice to also have the option to export and manually add any data you want back onto your device or to simply keep it for reference.

Depending on your needs, pay attention to the different capabilities of each software out in the market.

Cost: will vary and include different features and licenses.

There are plenty of free iPhone data recovery software options, or even tools that offer a limited version of their software as a free trial. But more often than not, if your computer skills are a bit lacking then these free options will be too frustrating to use. It might be a good idea to select a software and try their free trial to check out its compatibility with your device, and then move to purchase a license so you’re not limited by the free version’s capabilities and methods.

Each software’s price and license options vary, so take a close look and decide which is best for you.

Recommendation: top 5 iPhone data recovery software

Now, that you know the top 4 considerations for choosing the right iPhone data recovery tool, here is a chart comparing the most commonly used options based on the factors you just learned about.

Methods

Compatibility

Capability

Cost

1. iMyFone D-Back iPhone Data Recovery

  • Recovery from iTunes backup
  • Recovery from iCloud backup
  • Recovery without backup file
  • Smart recovery—perfect for users who know little about technology
  • Fix iOS system

Windows OS: 10/8.1/8/7

Mac OS: Mac OS X 10.7 or later

Apple iOS: iOS 12, iOS 11, iOS 10, iOS 9, iOS 8, iOS 7

iPhone:

  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7 Red, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5
  • iPhone 4s and iPhone 4

iPad:
All models of iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad Pro and iPad

iPod:
iPod touch 6, iPod touch 5, iPod touch 4, iPod touch 3, iPod touch 2, and iPod touch 1

Can recover from:

  • Accidental deletion
  • Broken screen
  • Water damage
  • iOS Upgrade
  • Forgotten password
  • Bricked iPhone
  • Virus attack
  • Lost iPhone
  • Factory reset
  • More

Addresses problems like:

  • iPhone black screen
  • iPhone white screen
  • iPhone stuck in recovery mode

Can recover your:

Can export the extracted backup into:

  • CSV
  • HTML

Free Trial before Purchase

Basic License: $49.95
1 iDevice/lifetime

Family License: $69.95
2-5 iDevice/lifetime

Multi-User License: $89.95
6-10 iDevice/lifetime

Business License: $369.95
Unlimited iDevice/lifetime

Ability to customize your license for the number of mobile devices and PCs that you need.

Money-back guarantee

Customer support

2. Reincubate iPhone Backup Extractor

  • Recovery from iTunes backup
  • Recovery from iCloud backup
  • Recovery without backup file

Windows OS: Windows Vista, 7, 8, Windows 10

Mac OS: any OS X version from 10.8 and above, including macOS

Apple iOS: iOS 11, 10.3, 9, and older

iPhone:

  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone SE, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6S
  • iPhone 6 Plus and 6S Plus
  • iPhone 5s, iPhone 5, and iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 4s
  • iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G

iPad:
iPad

iPod:
iPod

Can recover from:

  • Deleted or missing files
  • Lost or broken iPhone, iPad or iPod
  • Failed iOS update (iOS 11, 10.3, 9, and older)
  • Forgotten restrictions passcode

Can recover your:

  • App data
  • Calendar
  • Call History
  • Contacts
  • iCloud
  • Location data
  • Messages
  • Notes
  • Photos
  • Recordings
  • Restrictions
  • Viber
  • Videos
  • WhatsApp

Can export the extracted backup into:

  • CSV
  • VCard
  • iCal

Limited Free Trial

Basic: $34.95
Only iTunes support

Premium: $69.95
iCloud and iTunes Support, 5 iCloud devices

Business: $299.95
25 iCloud devices

Money-back guarantee

Customer support

3. Enigma Recovery

  • Recovery from iTunes backup
  • Recovery from iCloud backup
  • Recovery from iOS device

Windows OS: Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10

Mac OS: Mac OS v10.7 to 10.12.4

Apple iOS: iOS 11, iOS 10, iOS 9, iOS 8, iOS 7, iOS 6

iPhone:

  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8,
  • iPhone 7 Red, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7
  • iPhone SE, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6
  • iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5
  • iPhone 4s, iPhone 4

iPad:
iPad

iPod:
iPod touch

Can recover your:

  • Calendar
  • Calls
  • Contacts
  • iMessages
  • Internet history*
  • Kik
  • Notes
  • Photos*
  • Text messages
  • Viber
  • Videos*
  • WhatsApp*

*Deleted data from these areas can only be recovered from an iTunes or iCloud backup.

Can export the extracted backup into:

  • XML
  • CSV
  • XLS
  • PDF

Limited Free Trial

Single license: $49.99

Multi-license:$59.99
Up to 3

Pro-license: $99.99
Up to 10

Money-back guarantee

Customer support

4. Wondershare dr.fone

  • Scan iPhone
  • Extract iTunes
  • Extract iCloud

Windows OS: 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP

Mac OS: X 10.13, 10.12 (macOS Sierra ), 10.11(El Capitan), 10.10 (Yosemite), 10.9 (Mavericks), 10.8, 10.7, or 10.6

Apple iOS: iOS 11, iOS 10.3, iOS 10, iOS 9, and former

iPhone:

  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
  •  iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5
  • iPhone 4s and iPhone 4

iPad:
All models of: iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad

iPod:

iPod touch 5 and iPod Touch 4

Can recover from:

  • Lost data after factory reset
  • Lost data due to iOS update
  • Device stuck and not responding
  • Data missing after jailbreak or ROM flashing
  • Device locked or forgotten password
  • Unable to synchronize backup
  • System Crash
  • Forgotten Password
  • Virus
  • Damaged
  • Stolen

Can recover your:

  • App documents
  • App photos
  • App videos
  • Calendar
  • Call history
  • Contacts
  • Messages
  • Messenger
  • Notes
  • Photos
  • Reminder
  • Safari’s bookmark
  • Video
  • Voice memos
  • Voicemail
  • WhatsApp messages

Limited Free Trial

Personal 1-Year License: $59.95
1-5 mobile devices and 1 PC

Personal Lifetime License: $69.95
1-5 mobile devices and 1 PC

Family 1-Year License: 63.92 
6-10 mobile devices and 1 PC

Family Lifetime License: $79.92
6-10 mobile devices and 1 PC

1-Year Business License: $399.00
Unlimited Mobile Devices 1 PC

Ability to customize your license for the number of mobile devices and PCs that you need.

Money-back guarantee

5. iMobie PhoneRescue

  • Recovery from iTunes backup
  • Recovery from iCloud backup
  • Recovery from iOS device
  • iOS repair mode

Windows OS: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, both 32bit and 64bit

Mac OS: macOS High Sierra, macOS Sierra, OS X 10.11, 10.10, 10.9, 10.8

Apple iOS: iOS 11, iOS 10, iOS 9, iOS 8, iOS 7, iOS 6, iOS 5

iPhone: 

  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8 (Plus
  • iPhone 7 (Plus)
  • iPhone SE, iPhone 6s (Plus), and iPhone 6 (Plus)
  • iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, and iPhone 5

iPad: 

  • iPad Pro
  • iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3, and iPad mini 2
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air
  • iPad 4

iPod:
iPod Touch 6, iPod Touch 5, iPod Touch 4, iPod Touch 3, iPod Touch 2, and iPod Touch 1

Addresses problems like:

  • iPhone black screen of death
  • iPhone white screen of death
  • iPhone continuous reboot and more

Can recover your:

  • Contacts
  • Kik
  • Line
  • Messages
  • Photos
  • Viber
  • WhatsApp
  • Other data

Limited Free Trial

Single license: $49.99

Family License: $69.99
Up to 5 computers

Money-back guarantee

Note: data recovery is always uncertain.

Data recovery is always uncertain. One thing to keep in mind is that even with the right software, you still may have trouble recovering your data:

Your iPhone recovery will go a bit smoother if:

  1. You have previously backed up your device. This usually makes it easier to get back lost data.
  2. It’s only been a few hours since you lost or deleted the files. The less time you wait to recover data, the less likely it is that you accidentally overwrote what you want to recover.
  3. You haven’t used the device since the data loss happened.
  4. You haven’t cleared your device’s cookies.

Your iPhone recovery will be a bit trickier if:

  1. You waited a long time to attempt recovery. The longer you wait to recover lost or deleted files, the more likely it is that you accidentally overwrote the data you’re looking to retrieve.
  2. After you lost or deleted your files, you continued using your devices.
  3. There are signs of failing and corruption on your iPhone.
  4. You’re looking to recover media data like audio and video files. These tend to be more difficult to recover.

Take your time evaluating your situation and reviewing each iPhone data recovery software that’s out there. Remember to consider the method, compatibility, capability, and cost of each tool. Check out the free trials to see if the tool you chose is the right one for you. And then, let the software of your choice do the work and recover your files.

Moving forward, take steps to be proactive about backing up your phone. Make sure to sync your iPhone to iTunes or iCloud before you download any new software. Create a routine or use the iCloud auto-backup feature. Pay attention to the notifications that ask you to create more space on your phone or in your iCloud, so your device can backup the data that you need.

By being proactive, you’ll be prepared when something seemingly catastrophic happens. And if it does, choose a data recovery software based on the above 4 considerations to pick up the pieces for you.

  • Amanda S

    I switched from iPhone to Android not so long ago and deleted some photos on iPhone to clean iPhone storage. Now i want to recover and transfer them to my android smartphone. Is there a way to recover my photos?

    • Hello Amanda, it will be difficult for you to recover photos from iCloud using iMyfone D-Back, since you have deleted many photos on iCloud. But you can still try to recover the photos directly from device (you may need to connect iPhone with computer) or from iTunes backup (if you have made some iTunes backup before). iMyfone D-Back will recover the photos to your computer and you can easily transfer them to your android smartphone.