How to Recover Deleted Photos from Canon Camera

canon photo recovery
So you just hit the delete button on your Canon camera, or formatted the memory card, only to find that some precious pictures are gone?

Panic sets in. But don’t worry, because you may be able to retrieve those “lost” photos or videos, provided that you use the right Canon photo recovery software and follow the right steps.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to recover deleted pictures from a Canon camera.

Note: there isn’t a button or function in Canon that allows you to undo or undelete, but you can use the technique we’re introducing below to recover your Canon files.

Read on for more!

What Happens When Hit The Delete Button?

No matter you delete the pictures via your Canon camera or on a computer, the delete function doesn’t really get rid of the files immediately. What happens is that the data included in those files are now marked as available to be written over — meaning it just tells your camera (memory card) to write new photos or videos to space whenever necessary.

Formatting a Canon camera card is similar, it does not erase the data right away unless you continue using the same camera to take more photographs. The newly generated data can overwrite the old one. Once your lost photos are overwritten, it’s safe to say they are gone for good.

Why Deleted Pictures Are Still Recoverable?

As we explained above, although you no longer have access to your images from the camera, the data contained in those images are still intact there. If you haven’t taken any new photos (or saved new data to the memory card), it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll be able to recover the lost pics. Bottom line — it all depends whether your previously deleted files are overwritten or not.

The good part is that the overwriting activity can take quite some to occur if you use a secure digital (SD) or Compact Flash (CF) card. However, it’s extremely hard to tell whether overwriting has occurred or not.

What should you do now? Stop using your Canon for any further shooting!

It’s best to remove the memory card from your camera or computer (if it’s connected), set it aside and make sure it’s not going to suffer any physical damage. Next, go get a recovery software to recover pictures from your Canon memory card.

Canon Photo Recovery Software

It’s hard to say which photo recovery software is the best to retrieve Canon pictures, and it doesn’t really matter that much. As long as the software works to find and recover your deleted pictures, it’s good.

We like Stellar Photo Recovery because it’s powerful and easy to use. It also has both a Windows and macOS version so you can run the program on any PC or Mac. This program stands out of the crowd for several reasons based on our best photo recovery software review. It supports the recovery of a range of file formats including not only common image formats like JPG (JPEG), PNG, TIFF, and Canon RAW photo formats CR2, CRW.

Note: Stellar Photo Recovery is not free software, it has a trial version that allows you to scan for and preview your lost files, but you’ll need to pay $39.95 to buy a license to activate the Recover feature.

Canon Photo Recovery: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Get Stellar Photo Recovery and install the software on your computer.

Now connect your Canon camera (memory card) to the computer via a USB cable or a card reader. If your memory card is full-size, you can insert it directly into the card adapter on your computer.

Step 2: Open Stellar recovery software you’ve just installed. Click on the blue button located in the center to start.

Then highlight the drive your Canon memory card represents, select the file types you want to retrieve from the ‘Advanced Scan’ option (Pro tip: you can also recover RAW photos in the .cr2 or .crw format). Click “Scan” to initialize a scanning procedure.

Step 3: Preview and recover the found images.

When the scan is complete (you can also pause the process manually), preview the thumbnails of those photos to evaluate whether they are the ones you deleted. Then click the blue Recover button to save the files to the desired destination.

A Few More Things

1. When you find your photos got deleted or lost, immediately stop taking more photos or videos with your Canon camera. Also, avoid saving more files to the camera memory card.

2. For those of you who encounter memory card errors with your Canon camera, use a photo recovery software to retrieve the photos first. Then reformat the card by connecting it to your PC or Mac. After that, try the recovery tool to see if more pictures can be found as formatting doesn’t erase the data immediately. This article how to fix memory card not formatted error has more.

3. If your Canon camera or memory card can’t be recognized or detected, make it work first before you proceed.

4. When it comes to the last step, do not save the recovered photos back to your memory card to avoid partial data overwriting. Instead, save the files to your computer hard drive first, then transfer them to an external drive if necessary.

Did this Canon photo recovery guide help you get back the lost pictures? Let us know by leaving a comment below. We appreciate any feedback you’d have or any problems you encounter during the recovery process.

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  • Bianca

    My #1 rule is to always set the camera to not take photos without a card. I made that mistake ONCE.

  • Victoria

    I was shooting an anniversary party and was playing around with my Camera and accidentally formatted my disk and I thought I was hooped, these steps saved my butt and worked super well. Thank you!!!!

  • Heidi

    do i have to buy the ‘Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery v7.0-Mac-SOHO-EN’ to get my photos back?!?!?!?

    • Avatar photo
      AnySoftwareTools Team

      yes, it’s not freeware.

  • sherry

    Hi I accidentally reformat my canon t6i rebel and all my photos gone. do you think I can able to recover it?

  • Abdur

    I have taken some pictures without the memory card (Canon Powershot SX520 HS). Is there any way to recover them


    • Avatar photo

      It depends on whether your Canon internal memory can be recognized by your computer. If you connect your camera to your PC or Mac via USB, the computer detects it as a disk (like a storage card), then the data recovery solution introduced in this article would help. Otherwise, it’s unlikely, but try to contact Canon customer support.