At some point you’re going to need to find a picture, document, or video on your phone that you intentionally or accidentally deleted. That’s where Tenorshare UltData comes to the rescue.
Tenorshare’s UltData software will help you recover pictures, videos, contacts, messages, call history, notes, calendar entries, and more from your iOS devices.
You can retrieve lost files from your phone, your iTunes backup, or your iCloud backup. If you sync your phone with iTunes on a semi-regular basis then you probably have a backup. Or if you sync your phone over-the-air via iCloud then you should have a backup there.
Installation of UltData
The software is available for Windows or Mac as a free limited-use trial.
For our test we used Windows 10 with an iPhone 4 and we reviewed version 184.108.40.206 of the software.
After downloading and installing the software it automatically launched a browser window to their site which was unnecessary but the rest of the installation went fine and there were no other surprises.
If you choose to run the program right away it will show you a screen where you need to connect your iPhone.
Connect Your Phone And Scan
Connect your iPhone and click on the Start Scan button. It scanned our iPhone 4 16 GB in less than a minute. Note that if you want to flip between tabs then you will see a warning that you have to re-scan in order to switch. As long as nothing changed the re-scan is even faster. But after we deleted a few things on the phone the re-scan took about the same time as the first.
Recover Data from iOS device
Once the scan is complete you will see several categories and checkboxes on the right side. This tab is showing you data on your iPhone that is semi-deleted.
Most file systems don’t delete your files right away – they only delete the pointer to your file. That way they can “delete” your data quickly without actually wiping it from the disk. As new files are added they will overwrite those orphaned files and essentially delete your data for good. That’s how this tool can find your deleted data – it’s just looking for those orphaned files that haven’t been fully deleted yet.
On this tab you can view your Call History, Contacts, Messages, SMS Attachments, Notes, Note Attachments, Safari History, Calendar Entries, and Reminders. There is a separate group where you can restore Photos, Other Photos (whatever that means), App Videos, Voice Memos, and Voicemail. And the last group shows you data that you can recover from certain iOS apps like WhatsApp, Messenger, and more.
We deleted a few files on the phone, re-scanned, and they showed up in the list of items we could restore so that’s good.
If you don’t want to bother picking and choosing individual photos, videos, or other items to restore you can simply select the checkbox next to the category you want to restore and it will put everything back. Then you can view it on your iPhone and see if you want to re-delete it.
The Photos section shows you a preview of the image so you can determine if you want to restore it. You can even double-click the photo and it will bring up the image in a separate window so that you can see it better.
I’m not sure what the difference is between “Photos” and “Other Photos” except that “Photos” seemed to be included in “Other Photos”. Check both spots if you’re looking for a particular deleted photo.
Videos are called “App Videos” and unfortunately there isn’t a preview so we couldn’t see what they were. You would probably have to restore them to find out.
Export iPhone Files
You can export your data to a couple different formats depending on the type of content. This would be useful if you didn’t want to put your files back on your phone and wanted them restored to your computer instead.
Microsoft Excel (xls), Simple Text File (txt), Extensible Markup Language (xml) are supported for all types. vcf, or Virtual Contact File, is only supported for the Contacts type which makes sense.
Since we were using the trial version we couldn’t test the export functionality. I’m not sure how many users would find XML to be a good choice for export but at least you have the option.
Recover from iTunes backup files
This feature is useful if you backed up your phone, deleted something, and then realized several days or weeks later that you need it back. If you were to use iTunes to restore the entire phone to that first backup point you would lose everything you had done since then. By using Tenorshare UltData you can restore only the files you need.
Before connecting our iPhone we noticed that this tab already showed a list of backup files from the iTunes backup folder. One of our backups had a lock icon on it signifying that the backup was encrypted. If you double-click on the backup it will ask you for your password to decrypt the file. If you don’t have the password you can use Tenorshare’s iPhone Backup Unlocker to try to gain access.
After selecting a backup file to use and clicking Start Scan, the interface is the same as the Recover Data from iOS device tab. Browse your backup file and select what you want to restore.
If you don’t see any backups in your list you can use the links at the bottom of this tab to import a backup from somewhere else or scan your computer to see if the software can find one.
Import Backup File
At the bottom of the tab there is a link next to “No backup file listed there? Please import backup file!” which essentially means that if you have your iTunes backups stored somewhere other than the default location (e.g., a USB drive) then you can import them by using this feature.
You could also use this feature if you use backup software to backup your computer to the cloud. Simply visit your backup vendor’s website, search for your iTunes backups, and then restore them somewhere on your computer. Then tell UltData where you put them and click Start Scan.
Find Deleted iTunes Backups
A second option is for people that aren’t quite sure where their iTunes backups are located. It will scan your hard drive and look for the appropriate iTunes backup file.
Recover Data from iCloud Backup Files
As expected, this feature is very similar to the others except that you need to sign in to iCloud in order for them to access your backups. It asks for your Apple ID and Password so that they can pull your backups down from iCloud. We don’t have any backups in the cloud so we couldn’t test this feature.
The cost is $49.95 for 1 PC for 1 year. You can also purchase a Family Pack for $69.95 which you can use on 2-5 computers forever. And their Unlimited license allows you to put it on as many computers as you want for only $349.95.Buy Now
The data recovery from within the iPhone itself was nice however we think the real value of this software is the ability to recover one or more files from a previous backup without having to do several tedious restores. Without using Tenorshare, that type of restore is going to be difficult for even an above-average user.
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