How to Find and Recover Deleted Photos on Android

Google Photos app header logo

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Our smartphone cameras have made everyday photography a breeze, with most requiring nothing more than a point and tap to capture important moments. Not surprisingly, most people have gallery apps packed with pictures of friends, family, pets, food, vacations, and more. It can be terrible to lose those photos due to accidental deletion, device errors, bugs and glitches. How to Find and Recover Deleted Photos on Android.

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To find and recover deleted photos on your Android phone, you can check your cloud storage backup app like Google Photos to see if you can still save the picture. If you accidentally deleted photos from SD card or Android internal storage, you have to rely on recovery tools and services.


Recover deleted photos from cloud

Cloud storage backups are an excellent feature in a world where most of our data is now digital. As long as you remember to back up your files and photos, finding and recovering lost or accidentally deleted pictures should be quick and easy. We’ll use Google Photos as an example, but you can use many excellent photo cloud storage apps with recovery steps that should be similar.

If your primary gallery app is Google Photos, it will create folders for photos from any app like WhatsApp, Facebook and more. So even if you accidentally delete an image in another app, you might still find it in Photos. Open the app and look for the app folder. If the image is missing, check the recycle bin. Google stores backed up photos for 60 days and unsaved ones for 30 days. Go to Library Tab and tap container to find recently deleted photos.

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It may take a few minutes for a deleted picture to sync and show up in the app. If you can’t find a deleted photo in the Google Photos app, try visiting to see if the picture is still available. You can check those too container section in the left menu.

Using Google Photos to recover deleted pictures depends on whether you have cloud backup enabled on your Android phone. It’s not too late if you haven’t already, but you’ll need to use one of the other options on this list to find files that aren’t backed up.

To ensure your photos are backed up and linked to your Google account, open the Google Photos app and tap your profile icon in the top right. Go to Phone Settings > Backup and turn on fuse. Scroll down to Backup device folder to select the folders you want to save to the cloud. If you don’t have a Google One subscription, the 15GB of free storage may not be enough to keep photos in their original quality. In this case, tap backup quality and select memory saver.

How to recover deleted photos from your SD card or Android internal storage

The file or photo cannot be recovered once this “blank” space is overwritten. For this reason, it is best to put the phone in airplane mode to prevent it from downloading new data. And make sure you don’t take new photos or install new apps while trying to recover a photo.

You have to rely on third-party Android data recovery apps to find lost photos when you don’t have cloud backup. These apps work by looking at the “empty” storage space to recover deleted files. The best options are those that come with a Windows or Mac app so you can connect your phone without using it.

There are many good third-party Android recovery apps, like Android Data Recovery, Dr. Fone, Tenorshare and FonePaw. We’ll use FonePaw as an example since it can help recover files from SD card (without taking out the card from the phone and Android internal storage).

How to use an Android recovery app to find deleted photos

fonepaw welcome screen

Ankit Banerjee / Android Authority

Download and install the FonePaw app. You will be prompted to connect your Android phone and enable USB debugging. Go on the phone too Settings > About phone and tap the build number several times until a popup message says You are now a developer. Then go Settings > System > Developer Options and turn on USB debugging. Don’t forget to type To allow when the phone asks if debugging should be enabled. If you miss the pop-up, disconnect and reconnect your phone.

Fonepaw recovery file selection

Ankit Banerjee / Android Authority

You will receive an authorization (permissions) request on your phone to allow FonePaw to find and recover deleted files. When browsing photos, you can choose to authorize access to the phone’s storage only. click Scan authorized files. “I authorized‘ gives the app access to all permissions.

Recover Photos from Fonepaw

Ankit Banerjee / Android Authority

Wait for the app to finish its scan. Select the files you want to recover and click Restoration to restore them. Use the switch above to select Show only deleted items to find your missing files. If you still can’t find them, FonePaw has one Deep Scan Possibility. However, you can only use it if you have a rooted phone.

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frequently asked Questions

Yes, a factory reset will erase everything on your Android phone. You will lose all files, photos and other data that are not backed up to the cloud.