How to Recover Deleted Photos on Android
There’s rarely a worse feeling than opening your Gallery app only to find that a precious photo you’ve been holding onto is gone. Whether you accidentally deleted it or something happened with your phone and your photos are gone, Android gives us several ways to save and recover photos.
In this article, we’ll show you how to recover your deleted photos. Unfortunately, there are times when your photos are gone forever, but those times are actually quite rare.
Ways to Recover Deleted Photos on Android
There are several ways to potentially recover deleted photos on Android, we’ll cover them starting from the simplest solutions.
Check Your Trash Folder
The first thing you’ll want to do is check your Trash folder. When you delete a photo from your phone’s gallery, it is stored in the trash folder for 30 days. So, assuming that you recently trashed the image, it should be there.
Here’s how to access your trash folder:
- Open the Gallery app on your phone and tap on the three vertical lines in the lower right-hand corner.
Note: Depending on the Android version you’re running, the Trash option may appear under the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner.
- Select Trash.
- Your missing photos should appear in this folder.
- If they do, you can easily recover them by tapping on the Restore icon in the lower left-hand corner.
If your photo isn’t in this folder, don’t worry, we’ll help you keep looking.
Check Google Photos
Google Photos is a pre-loaded photo storage application on your phone. When you sign into your Gmail account on your phone, you’re also signing into Google Suite (your phone’s native Google apps). This means there is an excellent chance that your photos are saved in the Google Photos app.
For the most part, Google Photos will only upload images to the drive when your phone is plugged in, connected to Wi-Fi, and the app is open. So, if you’re looking to use this as a backup option, periodically ensure that those requirements are met.
However, we’ll likely find your deleted photos in this app. Here’s how to check:
- Open the Google Photos app on your phone. Be sure to sign in to your Gmail account using the same username and password that would’ve stored your photos. This is especially important if you’ve performed a factory reset on your device. If you create a new Gmail account, your old photos will not appear in the app.
- Assuming you’ve signed into the right account, your deleted photos will appear in the app. As you can see here, we’ve successfully located our deleted photos:
Although you may have to scroll for a bit, Google Photos makes it relatively easy to narrow down your search. Let’s say you accidentally deleted photos from your vacation. Grab the pull tab on the right-hand side and quickly scroll to that date. Assuming you’ve found the missing images, you’ll want to recover them back to your phone’s gallery.
Here’s how to recover a Google Photo and save it in your phone’s gallery:
- Open Google Photos and tap on the image you’d like to recover. Then, tap on the three dots in the upper right-hand corner. If you’d like to share it with another app, tap on the Share icon at the bottom instead.
- Now, tap the Download option in the menu that appears. If the download option doesn’t appear, it may say something like Delete from device. This means that Google Photos is still detecting that photo in your phone’s gallery.
Hopefully, your photos are back in their rightful place, and you’re good to go. But, if you still haven’t located the elusive image, there are some more things to try out. Don’t forget to check Google Drive, too; sometimes photos are stored there.
Check the Cloud Backup
Most phone manufacturers have some sort of separate cloud backup that can store your photos, videos, texts, files, etc. LG has LG backup, Samsung has the Samsung Cloud. So let’s check the manufacturer’s cloud for our missing images.
- First, head over to the Settings on your device (this should work regardless of the cloud service we’re looking for) and type ‘Cloud‘ into the search bar.
- From the list of options that appear, choose the most closely related storage service. In this case, the Samsung Cloud. Of course, if you see other cloud-related search results, check those too.
- Now, you will need to sign in if you aren’t already. In our case, the login information is different from our Google Account because the Samsung Cloud is entirely separate from the Google Suite.
- If you’re using a Galaxy device, simply click on Gallery. But, this option varies depending on your phone’s manufacturer, so select Photos or whichever option it gives you.
- If your missing photos are here, you can recover them. Simply tap Download.
One of the more common issues with this method is remembering your login information. Each manufacturer prompts you to create an account when you first set up your phone. This can become an issue if you weren’t paying attention or you’ve had the phone for a long time.
Our best advice; search your email accounts for ‘LG,’ ‘Samsung,’ ‘HTC,’ or whatever manufacturer you’re using. When you sign up for the service, you get a confirmation email. That’ll help narrow down your username. Then, you can simply reset your password.
At this point, we really hope you’ve found and recovered your missing photos. But we aren’t done yet if you haven’t. Let’s keep exploring some methods we’ve used in the past to recover lost images.
Check the My Files Folder and Your SD Card
One thing we love about Android is the ability to customize; most models will take an external storage card for more space. If you have one, hopefully, your deleted photos are there. But, how do you check?
- Start by searching your app drawer for the My Files folder if you don’t already know where it is.
- Once it’s open, you’ll see several folders. Tap on the SD Card option, it simply says ‘Not inserted,’ if there isn’t one in this phone. If there’s an SD Card inserted, tap on the file and locate your photos.
- If your images appear here, simply tap the Share or Download icon to restore the photos back to your phone’s gallery.
- Assuming you don’t have an SD Card, there is another folder here to check, and that’s the Images folder. When you tap this folder, you’ll see all your photo albums.
- Similar to the instructions above for recovering your photos from the trash, tap on the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner and tap Trash. If they appear here, simply recover them just like we did above.
Check Google Play
So this one might seem a little strange, but trust us, it has worked in the past. If you’re still with us, it means you have yet to recover your photos, so there’s another thing to try.
We’re going to search for any third-party apps that save photos and that you’ve previously downloaded. Here’s what to do:
- Open the Google Play Store on your phone and tap on your profile icon in the upper right-hand corner.
- In the sub-menu that appears, tap My Apps & Games.
- First, you will see all of the applications on your device. Begin scrolling. In our search, we found several gallery apps, Shutterfly, photo timestamp apps, Dropbox, and even Instagram. All of these have the option to store photos. All you need to do is download them, sign in, and check for your lost images.
- To search all applications associated with your Google Account, tap Installed in the upper left, then tap Uninstalled. You may find a photo storage app such as Dropbox that isn’t on your phone but still houses some of your precious photos.
If you think this method is tedious, it is. But, if it’s the only way to recover photos of your childhood dog, then it’s certainly worth a try. Of course, after you recover the photo app, you’ll need to sign in. Do a quick search through your email accounts for confirmation emails by typing in the app’s name to narrow down the username.
Third-Party Recovery Services
If you’ve ever searched “How to recover deleted photos on Android,” you’ve undoubtedly seen the numerous advertisements for third-party services that promise to recover your photos. We won’t go too much into reviewing these services here because it’s truly a “buyer beware” situation.
We’ve tested various data recovery tools and have an article for Mac and Windows users here. But, some of these tools will work for Android devices too. However, there are a lot of websites that promise to retrieve your lost photos but don’t actually work. So, this method is definitely a “buyer beware” situation.
If an image is truly gone, then there is no way to recover it. No matter what you’re promised. So, keep in mind if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Frequently Asked Questions
We really hope you have recovered your missing photos. But if you have more questions, keep reading.
What do I do if my gallery app is missing?
Suppose you open your phone’s app drawer, and the gallery app is missing. Before you panic, it isn’t gone forever. Your device’s native photo app is a permanent fixture on your device.
1. To bring the app back to your app drawer, head over to your device’s settings.
2. Tap on Apps, then filter by Default Apps.
3. Scroll through the list and tap on your gallery app.
4. Next, tap Enable.
Does my SIM card store pictures?
Unfortunately, no. At one time, SIM cards would store a phone’s contacts, but not pictures. However, you won’t find much data stored on a SIM card these days.
As mentioned above, you may have an SD card which does save your photos as long as it’s set up to do so.
Hopefully, you’ve recovered your missing images by now. But, take it from the experts; sometimes, you have to be really creative to recover deleted files.
Have you successfully recovered your deleted photos using another method? Let us know in the comments below!