Undelete_jpgundelete_jpg is a program that recovers JPG images from SD cards and hard drives.


When deleting an image from an SD card, only the directory entry to the file is removed but the content still remains on the device. undelete_jpg recognizes that undeleted content and recovers JPG files. The recovered files may be corrupted because cameras write new files into deallocated device space, but undelete_jpg will try its best to output only valid JPG files.


A JPG file is comprised of a list of JPG markers such as SOI (start of image), SOS (start of scan), EOI (end of image), etc. More about JPG markers here. When possible, undelete_jpg uses mmap() to map the device content into memory, othererwise it uses read(). When reading through the content of the device, undelete_jpg uses memchr(), which is typically optimized with SIMD instructions, to detect SOI markers.

If it can it will use mmap, otherwise it will use read()

undelete_jpg is fast: on a Macbook Pro with a 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, undelete_jpg goes through a cached file at 10 GB/s. This is actually the memory bandwidth on this machine. The throughput is well over the read speed of typical SD cards (10MB/s up to 500 MB/s).


Run the following in your terminal:

git clone https://github.com/saintmarina/undelete_jpg.git
cd undelete_jpg
sudo ./undelete_jpg /dev/block_device


sudo is required for block device access.Recovered JPG files are written in the current directory.Ways to get device path is platform dependent. Follow section below for more detailed instructions.

How to get device path on macOS

To list all mounted drives and it's partitions on a macOS, run the following:

diskutil list

Find your device's path in the list. As an example, see what the list looks like on my machine.

From the example above the path looks like this:

sudo ./undelete_jpg /dev/rdisk2s1

Add r in the beginning of your device path. r stands for raw.

How to get device path on Linux

To list devices and their partitions on linux, run:

sudo fdisk -l

Find your device in the partition table.

As an example, see what the partition table looks like on my machine.

Example of running the program on linux:

sudo ./undelete_jpg /dev/sdb1

Other projects

PhotoRec is another opensource battle tested tool to recover all kinds of files, including JPGs.


This project is licensed under the MIT License.


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