How To Recover Your iPhone Files, Photos, Contacts, Notes, SMS, Call History, Etc.

by Eric Pena on December 2, 2008

If for some reason, you lost some important information on your iPhone, whether from 3rd party applications, your photos, contacts, notes, SMS, call history, calendar, etc., and doing a restore from iTunes is futile, don’t give up yet! As long as you have performed a backup in iTunes recently, your data is safely tucked away in a database in your computer—but you need another tool that can read and extract the data so you can copy it back to your iPhone.

In case you want to know, your iPhone backups are located in your Mac (~Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup) or on a PC (c:\Documents and Settings\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup).

What You Need

Download and install the following:

DiskAid for Mac or Windows (requires a jailbroken phone to access the Root Folder)
iPhone Backup Extractor for Mac (not sure if there is a Windows equivalent)

Use iPhone Backup Extractor

(1) Open iPhone Backup Extractor

(2) Click Read Backups

(3) Select from Device Name or Date where you want to retrieve your backup data and click Choose.

(4) Select the Application where you want data be restored from or scroll down and select Other Files if you want to restore data from the built-in iPhone apps such as photos, address book, notes, SMS, etc.

In this example, we will extract the Notes backup to our computer so we need to select Other Files.

(5) Click Extract and select a folder where you want to extract the Notes data in your computer (remember this location).

Use DiskAid To Copy Backup Data To iPhone

(6) Connect your iPhone to your Computer.

(7) Open DiskAid.

(8) Click the pull-down at the bottom of the screen where it says Media Folder and select Root Folder (click Go Ahead when a warning window pops up).

For this example, we will recover data from our Notes application.

(9) Click User -> Library -> Notes.

(10) Click the Copy to Device icon above.

(11) Go to the folder where you extracted the Other Files backup files (in step 5) and select “notes.db“.

(12) Click Open.

(13) Click Replace.

(14) Check your iPhone to verify the recovered data.

(15) Do the same for the rest of your data that you want to recover.

Smile! :)

Note: If you want to save and read your iPhone text files (ex. SMS) on your computer, check out my post,
“How To Save and Read Your iPhone Text Messages On Your Computer”.


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laurel April 17, 2014 at 6:54 pm

I know another tool to recover deleted images from iphone, iPubsoft iPhone Backup Extractor. I have deleted some important photos from my iPhone by mistake; this tool helped me get back deleted photos in an easy way.

2 Dave West April 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm

You can also recover photos from iPhone backup via iOS Data Recovery.

3 osngeong June 13, 2014 at 5:22 pm

iPubsoft iPhone Backup Extractor is an all-in-one ios recovery software.

4 Smmhhyy June 16, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Simple guide to use iStonsoft tool to restore iPhone Files, Photos, Contacts, Notes, SMS, Call History, Etcdata.You can have a try.

5 James June 29, 2014 at 3:46 pm

I think this iPhone sms recovery may help you recover all data from iPhone, see:

6 yanthal July 1, 2014 at 10:38 am

Text Messages are stored in a Database format, and not as individual files. It’s unlikely that they will ever be “overwritten” in the sense you ask, but may well remain in the database tables either forever, or until such regular purge mechanism clears them out on a schedule.

So if you deleted messages, you can try two methods: You can use iTunes to recover deleted text messages from iPhone; You can try recover from iTunes with iPhone Data Recovery.
Read more:
How to Recover Deleted Photos from iPhone

7 Nicky August 1, 2014 at 12:25 pm

For most of us, photos and videos are the most important contents on our iPhone iPad. All we want is retrieving deleted photos or messages on iPhone, here are two quick guides about recover photos and messages on iPhone:
How to Recover Deleted Photos from iPhone and How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone .

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