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

Last updated: Jan. 15, 2017

So you just came back home from a wonderful trip, and you were about to enjoy the photographs you shot, only to find some of the JPEG (or JPG) photos got deleted or became corrupt...what a bummer.

We've all been there. Personally I've experienced several times when I either couldn't open several .jpg files, worse yet I couldn't find them because I must have accidentally deleted them off my camera.

Fortunately, these JPEG files can be recovered. Today I'm going to show you how to do so by using third-party image recovery software.

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

What you'll need:

  • The digital device where your images were stored.
  • A personal computer (with Windows or macOS).
  • Digital photo recovery/repair software.
  • Internet access.

Recovering deleted JPEG images

We recommend Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery — an easy-to-use photo rescue tool that is able to recover deleted or lost JPEG photos from almost all storage devices including digital cameras, memory cards, USB drives, etc. The software performs read-only operations without modifying your original data, thus it's safe to use. Best of all, you can preview the found images to speed up the review process. Stellar Phoenix comes with both a PC (Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10) and a Mac version (OS X 10.5+, including macOS Sierra).

Here's a step by step recovery guide you may need:

  1. Download Stellar Photo Recovery and install it on your PC or Mac.
  2. Connect your storage device. Open the software and select the right disk drive.
  3. Under Advanced Options, select the photo type (JPEG in this case) you want to recover. The program will then scan your disk to look for recoverable items.
  4. Preview and recover found JPEG files and then save them to another drive. Done!

Repairing corrupt or damaged JPG files

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

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" and "Extract Thumbnail." Try the former option first, if it doesn't work out, use the extracting mode later.


It's sometimes inevitable that you may lose precious photos either due to mis-operation (accidental deletion, card reformatting, etc.) or memory card errors, and when that happens, it can be really annoying or devastating if those images mean a lot to you. However, chances are you can recover them as long as you act quickly and take the right steps. I hope you find this JPEG recovery guide helpful.

Once you retrieve your photos, don't forget to back up your photographs in the future.

Influenced by the startup culture in the Silicon Valley, Jessica loves building things from zero to one and is keen on following news related to the Big Five tech giants and many SaaS startups.

Leave a Comment