How to Recover Deleted iCloud Files

By Michael Grothaus •  Updated: 05/19/22 •  4 min read

Yes, you can recover deleted iCloud files. Here’s how…


iCloud Drive is Apple’s online storage solution. In other words, iCloud Drive is Apple’s version of Dropbox. However, as with all things Apple, iCloud Drive is rather minimalist when compared to other online storage solutions.

This isn’t to say it’s bad by any means. As a matter of fact, thanks to iCloud Drive’s minimalism, many users find it easier to use than the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive.

But that minimalism can cause some anxiety for some users, particularly when an iCloud Drive file gets deleted when it wasn’t meant to. That’s because there’s no obvious way to recover a deleted iCloud Drive file. However, you can do so…you just need to know where to look.

Here’s everything you need to know about recovering deleted iCloud Drive files…

How to Recover Deleted iCloud Files
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What Kind Of Files Can You Store On iCloud Drive?

iCloud Drive can store virtually any kind of file. This means it can store Word documents, photos, music files, movie files, PDFs…you name it.

Pretty much the only limitation to storing files on iCloud Drive is the storage limit. 

Every user with an Apple ID gets 5GB of iCloud storage, all of which can be used for iCloud Drive if you aren’t using it for other things. But Apple also allows people to upgrade their iCloud storage.

Right now iCloud users can increase their iCloud storage by an additional 50GB, 200GB, or 2TBs. That additional storage is shared across all your iCloud services–but you can use all of it for iCloud Drive if you don’t have other things taking up your iCloud storage.

What Devices Can You Access iCloud Drive From?

The great thing about iCloud Drive is you can access it from virtually any device. iCloud Drive is built into the macOS Finder software on a Mac, and it’s also accessible from the Files app on iPhone and iPad.

But you can also access your iCloud Drive from any computer with an Internet connection and a web browser. This means iCloud Drive is accessible on Windows PCs and even Linux computers.

To access your iCloud Drive via the web browser on any computer, do the following:

  1. Open the web browser.
  2. Go to www.icloud.com and log in with your Apple ID.
  3. Click the iCloud Drive button.

On the next screen you’ll see all the files in your iCloud Drive. This may be individual files or folders containing more files.

Why Do Files Get Deleted From iCloud Drive?

The good news is that your iCloud Drive files shouldn’t get deleted through an iCloud error. We guess it’s possible, but we’ve never heard of this happening.

iCloud Drive files usually get deleted because the user chooses to delete them. However, sometimes after the user deletes the file, they realize they need it again.

The question is: can they get the melted iCloud Drive file back? The answer is: yes–if they act quickly. But do keep in mind if you permanently deleted iCloud Drive files already, Apple says they are not recoverable.

How Can You Recover Deleted iCloud Drive Files?

Apple has two ways to recover iCloud Drive files. You should check out both of these methods when you want to recover a deleted iCloud Drive file because the deleted file may appear in one method and not the other.

Method #1

  1. Open your web browser.
  2. Go to www.icloud.com and log in with your Apple ID.
  3. Click the iCloud Drive button.
  4. Click the Recently Deleted button in the lower right corner.
  5. Select the files you want to recover then click the “Recover” button.

Keep in mind you must use this method within 29 days of originally deleting the file. After that time the files are auto-deleted permanently.

Method #2

  1. Open your web browser.
  2. Go to www.icloud.com and log in with your Apple ID.
  3. Click your name and then click the Account Settings button from the drop-down menu.
  4. On the next screen, scroll down and click “Restore Files”.
  5. Select the files you want to recover then click the “Recover” button.
  6. In the window that appears, select the files you want to restore and then click the Restore button.

Again, keep in mind you must use this method within 29 days of originally deleting the file. After that time the files are auto-deleted permanently.

And check out Do AirPods Have USB-C?

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Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.
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