How to Recover Deleted Photos on Android

There's rarely a worse feeling than opening your Gallery app to find that a treasured photo you had been saving is missing. Whether you accidentally deleted it or something happened with your phone and your photos disappeared, Android gives us multiple ways to save and recover photos.

In this article, we will show you how to recover your deleted photos. Unfortunately, there are times when your photos disappear forever, but those times are actually quite rare.

Check your recycle bin

The first thing to do is to check your Trash folder. When you delete a photo from your phone gallery, it is stored in the trash for 30 days. So assuming you recently deleted the image, it should be there.

Here's how to access your Trash folder:

  1. Open the Gallery app on your phone and tap "Pictures", then tap the three vertical dots in the upper right corner.
  2. Select "Trash".
  3. Your missing photos should appear in this folder.
  4. If so, you can easily recover them by tapping the restore icon in the lower left corner.

If your photo is not in this folder, don't worry, we'll help you keep looking.

Check Google Photos

Google Photos is a preloaded photo storage app on your phone. When you sign in to your Gmail account on your phone, you also sign in to Google Suite (the native Google apps on your phone). This means that there is a good chance that your photos have been 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 wifi, and the app is open. So if you're looking to use it as a backup option, periodically make sure that these requirements are met.

However, we will probably find your deleted photos in this application. Here's how to check:

Open the Google Photos app on your phone. Make sure to sign in to your Gmail account using the same username and password that would have stored your photos. This is especially important if you have 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 in to the correct account, your deleted photos will appear in the app. As you can see here, we managed to locate our deleted photos:

Although you may have to scroll 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 side and quickly scroll to that date. Assuming you've found the missing images, you'll want to retrieve them from your phone's gallery.

Here's how to grab a Google photo and save it to your phone's gallery:

Open Google Photos and tap on the image you want to recover. Next, tap the three dots in the upper right corner. If you want to share it with another app, tap the share icon at the bottom instead.

Now tap on the “Download” option from the menu that appears. If the download option does not appear, it may say something like "Remove from device". This means that Google Photos still detects this photo in your phone's gallery.

Hopefully your photo is now recovered and you are good to go. But, if you still haven't located the elusive image, there are other things to try. Don't forget to also check Google Drive; sometimes photos are stored there.

Check the cloud

Most phone manufacturers have some kind of separate cloud backup that can store your photos, videos, texts, files, etc. LG has LG Backup, Samsung has Samsung Cloud. So let's check the manufacturer's cloud for our missing images.

First, head into your device's settings (this should work no matter what cloud service we're looking for) and type "Cloud" in the search bar.

Note that other cloud services may appear that are also worth looking into.

From the list of options that appear, choose the closest storage service. In this case, the Samsung Cloud.

Now you will need to log in if you are not already. In our case, the login details are different from our Google account because the Samsung Cloud is entirely separate from the Google suite.

If you are using a Galaxy device, just click on Gallery. But, this option varies depending on your phone manufacturer, so select “Photos” or whatever option it gives you.

If your missing photos are here, you can recover them. Just press "Download".

One of the most 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 a problem if you're not careful or if you've had the phone for a long time.

Our best advice; search your email accounts for "LG", "Samsung", "HTC" or whatever manufacturer you use. When you register for the service, you receive a confirmation email. This will help you refine your username. Then you can simply reset your password.

At this point, we really hope that you have found and recovered your missing photos. But we're not done yet if you haven't. Let's continue to explore some methods that we have used in the past to recover lost images.

Check 'My Files' and your SD card

One thing we love about Android is the ability to customise; most models will take an external storage card for more space. If you have one, hope your deleted photos are there. But how to check?

Start by finding the "My Files" folder in your app drawer if you don't already know where it is. Once opened, you will see several folders. Tap on the 'SD card' option (in the screenshot below, it just says no card is inserted, so we know the external storage option is a wash). If an SD card is inserted, tap on the file and locate your photos.

If your pictures appear here, just tap the "Share" or "Download" icon to restore the photos to your phone's gallery.

Assuming you don't have an SD card, there's another folder here to check, and that's the "Pictures" folder. When you tap on this folder, you will see all your photo albums. Similar to the instructions above to recover your photos from the Trash, tap the three vertical dots in the upper right corner and tap "Trash". If they appear here, simply collect them as we did above.

Check Google Play

So this one might sound a bit strange, but believe us, it has worked in the past. If you're still with us, that means you haven't recovered your photos yet, so there's something else to try.

We will search for any third-party apps that save photos that you have already downloaded. Open the Google Play Store on your phone and tap the three horizontal lines in the upper right corner. In the sub-menu that appears, tap on "My applications and games".

Next, tap "Library" and start scrolling. In our search, we found several gallery apps, Shutterfly, photo timestamp apps, Dropbox, and even Instagram. All of these have the ability to store photos. All you have to do is download them, log in and search for your lost images.

If you think this method is tedious, it is. But if it's the only way to recover photos of your childhood dog, it's definitely worth a try. Of course, after you get the photo app, you'll need to sign in. Quickly search your email accounts for confirmation emails by typing the app name to narrow down the username.

Third Party Recovery Services

If you've ever searched for "How to Recover Deleted Photos on Android", you've no doubt seen the many advertisements for third-party services that promise to recover your photos. We won't go into too much of a review of these services here, as it really is a “buyer beware” situation.

We have tested various data recovery tools and have an article for Mac and Windows users here. But some of these tools will also work for Android devices. However, there are many websites that promise to recover your lost photos but don't actually work. So this method is definitely a “buyer beware” situation.

If an image is truly missing, there is no way to recover it. It doesn't matter what you are promised. So keep in mind that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Latest Thoughts

Hope you have now recovered your missing images. But, take it from the experts; sometimes you have to be really creative to recover deleted files.

Have you managed to recover your deleted photos using another method? Let us know in the comments below!

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