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 not there, Android gives us several ways to save and recover photos.
In this article, you’ll see how to recover deleted Android photos in various ways to ensure you have more chances of recovering them. Let’s get started.
Note: Use the processes below at your own risk. Even though the following methods work and have less chance of causing issues, Google could update the functionality anytime. Also, missing a step could permanently delete a trashed image or make it more difficult to recover.
Google Photos verse Gallery for Photo Recovery
Google replaced the stock “Gallery” app with “Google Photos” a long time ago. Still, some manufacturers pre-included their gallery app, such as Samsung Gallery, HTC Gallery, and Moto Gallery, or incorporated the Google Gallery app into their customized OS for owners accustomed to the original.
Google does still offer and update the Gallery app within the Play Store, but most phones now include “Photos” as your default image browser and manager. You can also use the pre-installed Files by Google app, which manages internally stored images and photos, similar to the old Gallery app. This option allows you to delete images on the device only rather than everywhere, like in Google Photos.
The original Google Gallery app was designed for offline viewing and editing but could easily sync to the Drive or Photos and get included in your Google backups. However, Photos was a logical replacement because it offered far more capabilities, integration, and device compatibility. Sharing, editing, and device access offered more opportunities, such as sharing to or accessing images on Mac, emailing images, grouping images, searching for images based on image contents (not filename), and more.
Whether you have a gallery app or use Google Photos, here are the simplest methods to find and recover deleted images/photos.
Ways to Recover Deleted Photos on Android
There are several ways to potentially recover deleted photos on Android.
1. Check Your Trash Folders
You’ll want to check your internal Trash folder first, then access Google Photo’s Trash folder. When you delete a photo from your phone’s gallery, it is stored in the trash folder for at least 30 days unless you initially deleted it through Google Photos, which stores it in the “cloud” trash for 60 days.
New phones still save to an internal gallery, but you can’t access the images in app form unless you open the preview in the camera app, use Google’s Files app, or use a third-party gallery app. Images and photos get stored to “/storage/emulated/0/DCIM/Camera/” or something similar.
Even when using the camera’s preview option, all editing actions are Google Photos related. Furthermore, all device images in specific or custom locations get synced to Google Photos using the Photos app. Assuming that you recently trashed the image using anything but Google Photos, it should be in the device’s “Trash” folder.
Note: If you delete an image/photo through the Photos app, it deletes it from everything and can’t be recovered after 60 days. Deleting an image/photo through the Files or Camera app deletes it internally and can’t be recovered after at least 30 days.
How to Access Android’s Internal Trash Folder to Recover Images/Photos
- Open the Google “Files” app on your phone and tap on the “hamburger icon” (three horizontal lines) in the top left corner.
- Select “Trash” from the menu’s options.
- A list of all savable/deleted images and photos appears based on the days left before the deletion occurs.
- Select the ones you want to recover individually, or tap the circles next to “## days left” or “All Items.”
- Choose “Restore,” which turns blue at the bottom after selecting files.
Your chosen lost photos should now return to their original location for easy archiving, backing up, or syncing.
How to Check Google Photos Trash Folder to Recover Photos
When you sign into your Gmail account, you also sign into the Google Suite (your phone’s native Google apps). This means there is an excellent chance that your photos got saved through the Google Photos app. If a photo got deleted using Google Photos, it should reside in the “Trash” folder in the cloud.
Note: Any restored images from the Google Photos Trash folder also return to the device’s storage automatically. However, restored internal images not synced to Photos must sync to the Photos app to store them in the cloud.
Here’s how to check Google Photos Trash:
- Open the “Photos” app on your phone. then tap on “Library” at the bottom.
- Select “Trash” from the top section. You now see all images deleted from Photos. To manage them, continue to the next step.
- To view how many days are left to preserve an image/photo, tap on the item and then you can select “Restore.” The deadline relates to Google Photos, not internal storage files.
- To bulk-restore images/photos in Photos trash, tap “Select” from the top or press and hold any item to open the selection circles for each image.
- Tap on as many photos as you want to restore.
- Choose “Restore” at the bottom to recover the selected images.
2. Check Manufacturer’s Cloud Backup to Restore Trashed Images
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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Try 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!