Losing files is a very unpleasant thing, especially when it is a working document or important photos. Online storage solutions often offer a way to restore deleted files, and iCloud is no different.

However, while the file-recovery process is a bit tricky in Apple’s cloud, it’s not impossible to do. So I’ve created this detailed step-by-step so you can have your files and photos back.

If you deleted a file that you previously saved in iCloud Drive and now need to recover it, please note:

  • Files are only available for restoration up to 30 days after deletion. After that they were gone forever;

  • Restoration can usually only be done on the computer via www.icloud.com. From iOS 11 and Sierra’s macOS, developers can create a feature called “recently deleted” in their applications and that’s all there is to it for the mobile device.

The first of these two caveats mean that you’re unlikely to be able to use iCloud Drive file restoration as a reliable backup solution because history can not recover from the beginning because there is a 30-day rule as described.

The second means that the odds are good if you access iCloud via the browser on your computer. If a user accesses icloud.com via iPad or iPhone, they will be directed to configure iCloud, open “Find my iPhone” or access “Find my friends”.

And the bottom line is that if you have not backed up and file restoration is your last hope, cross your fingers and go to iCloud.com. Here are the steps you need to take to get started.

Restoring iCloud Drive Deleted Files

Open your browser and connect to the iCloud website. You will need to log in with your Apple ID. Be sure to use the one associated with the iCloud Drive that hosted the file you want to restore.

After logging in to iCloud.com, click the “Settings” button:

Scroll to the bottom of the screen, under the “Advanced” section, and then click “Restore Files”:

The file restoration window will now appear. If you have many files stored in iCloud and have deleted many in the last 30 days, the site will need some time to bundle a list of files available for restore.

When this is complete, a list of deleted files will be displayed, and you will be able to see the previous location in iCloud Drive, the size and the remaining time until they expire.

To restore a file, click the box next to it (1), and then click “Restore” (2). You can select multiple files at this point, if necessary.

After the file has been restored successfully, iCloud displays a message confirming it.

Have you ever lost files on Mac or Windows? Tell us how you solved the problem in the comments below.

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