So, you have deleted a precious photo (or an entire folder of photos) from your phone. Or, even worse, you broke or reset your phone and lost them all. What can you do?
There are several ways to recover deleted photos on Android. They range from simple to more advanced, so hopefully there’s a solution that works for you. Let’s start.
1. Restore photos from the cloud
Most cloud and photo apps (not including Instagram) offer to back up your photos back up your photos back up your photos in the background. If this is enabled, then most likely your photo has indeed not been deleted.
Deleting a photo from your phone’s gallery app will not delete it from the cloud backup service. To get it back, just sign in to your cloud app and download it again. In Google Photos, open an image and choose Save to Device from the menu. For Dropbox, it’s Export > Save to Device.
If you deleted an image from your cloud backup, you can also restore it from there. Most cloud services use a recycle bin that allows you to recover any deleted file within a certain period of time.
In Google Photos, open the app and select Trash or Trash from the sidebar. Tap and hold on each image you want to recover, then tap Restore. Deleted files remain available for 60 days.
For Microsoft OneDrive, open the app and navigate to the Me tab > Trash. Select your files and click the Restore icon. OneDrive keeps deleted files for up to 30 days, although it may delete them sooner if your Trash is taking up more than 10 percent of your total storage.
With Dropbox, you need to sign in to your desktop to recover deleted pictures. You cannot do this in the app. Go to Files > Deleted Files, then select the ones you want to recover. They are available for 30 days after deletion.
Other cloud applications work in a similar way. Check the terms for your account to find out how long a particular app keeps your deleted files.
2. Recover photos from your SD card
What if you don’t copy your photos to the cloud? Your next hope is that you have saved your photos to your phone’s SD card.
You can connect your card to your desktop computer and use dedicated recovery software to try and recover your lost photos. But there are no guarantees.
Deleted files remain on the memory card only until they are overwritten with new data. Thus, as soon as you realize that you deleted photos by mistake, you should remove your card from your phone to reduce the risk of overwriting them.
If you’re wondering, if your phone doesn’t have a microSD card, this won’t work, unfortunately. You can’t use desktop software to scan your phone for deleted files because Android no longer uses the old USB Mass Storage protocol. For the same reason, restoring text messages is difficult.
Recover deleted images with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
The best free image recovery software is EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. You can download it for both Windows and Mac.
Install and run Data Recovery Wizard. Once it starts, it will show you all available drives from which you can recover data. This should include your hard drive and memory card.
Select your memory card and click Scan. The app will start scanning for any files it can recover. You can recover up to 2 GB of data at a time with the free version.
Scanning can take up to 20 minutes or more, depending on the size of the card and the amount of data on it. But you don’t have to wait for it to end.
Select Type in the left panel. Click the dropdown arrow next to Graphics and select jpg (or whatever file format your phone saves images in). All images that you can recover are displayed in the main window. Choose the ones you want.
Click Recover Now and select a location on your hard drive to save the images. They will be exported and saved in their own folder. Now you can copy them back to your phone.
3. Recover deleted photos on rooted phone
If you don’t use a cloud storage backup service or a memory card, recovering deleted photos from Android phone becomes much more difficult. Despite the claims of some online apps, it is not possible to scan the phone’s internal storage to recover lost files if the phone is not rooted.