JPEG Files Got Deleted or Corrupt? 3 Tips (& Tools) to Recover Them

Oh no, so you just came back home from a productive shooting trip, and you were about to enjoy the photography art, only to find some of the JPEG (or JPG) photos are gone or corrupt. What a bummer.

I've been there and personally experienced several situations when either I couldn't open several .jpg files or couldn't find them at all because I had accidentally deleted them off my digital camera.

Fortunately, these JPEG files are probably recoverable. I'm going to show you how to recover or repair them by relying on professional image recovery software.

Note: JPG and JPEG are basically the same formats, both of them are supported by the Joint Photographic Experts Group. We thus use them interchangeably.

What you'll need:

  • Your corrupted or damaged JPG files.
  • The device on which your images were stored.
  • A personal computer based on Windows or Mac OS.
  • Digital photo recovery software.
  • Internet access.

Recovering deleted JPEG images

The best tool I recommend is Stellar Photo Recovery — an easy-to-use program that is able to recover deleted or lost JPEG photos from many storage devices including digital camera, iPod, memory card, USB drive etc. The software performs read-only operations without modifying your original data, thus it's pretty safe to use. Best of all, you can preview the found images to "steal" your jpegs if they are there. The software comes with both a PC version (Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10) and a Mac version (OS X 10.5+) as well.

Follow this quick step by step guide:

  1. Download Stellar Photo Recovery software on your PC or Mac. Connect the device where your deleted JPEG photos previously located. Select the right disk drive and continue.
  2. Under Advanced Options, select the photo type (JPEG in this case) you want to recover. Then the program will start scanning the disk you select to look for recoverable items.
  3. Preview and recover found JPEG files and then save them to another drive. Done!

Repairing corrupt or damaged JPG files

Steps to repair are quite similar to the above jpeg recovery process.

If you are using a Windows PC, try Picture Doctor — like its name indicates, it's a powerful picture repair tool for fixing corrupt JPEGs (and Adobe PSD files) and restoring them to be like the originals.

Free Download Picture Doctor

If you are on a Mac machine, try JPEG Repair for Mac — another excellent utility developed by Stellar Phoenix. It has two main features: "Repair JPEG", "Extract Thumbnail". Try the former option first, if it doesn't work, turn to the extracting mode.

Get Stellar JPEG Repair for Mac Now


It's sometimes inevitable that we may lose precious photos either due to misoperation (deletion, card reformatting, etc.) or memory card errors, and when that happens, it's really annoying or devastating if those images mean the world to you. However, if you act quickly and take the right steps, it's often not impossible to get them back. I hope you enjoy this JPEG recovery guide. Don't forget to make several copies of all your photographs in the future.

Jessica Carrell

Jessica is one of the co-founders at AnySoftwareTools. She is a photographer, teacher, Apple advocate, and lover of learning. Recently she's keen on following news related to the big five tech giants and many SaaS startups in bay area.

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