Trying to recover mistakenly deleted files, photos, and videos on your Android smartphone can be a major pain, but nonetheless, it can be done. Depending on which app you used to delete the photo, the method can vary from one device to another. However, you probably will be able to recover it if it hasn’t been too long since the deletion. In this article, we will look at how we can recover deleted photos in Android smartphones and tablets using the default Gallery app, Google Photos, and third-party applications. We will also tell you how to recover permanently deleted photos in Android.
Recover Deleted Photos in Android Smartphones and Tablets
The default Gallery app in most Android devices has a built-in recovery option. So if you use the pre-installed Gallery app as the default photo viewer in your device (like most people do), you should be able to recover your deleted photos more often than not. You should also be able to recover deleted photos if you use Google Photos as your default photo viewer. So today, we will show you how to recover deleted photos in Android using both those methods. We will also show you how to get back deleted photos in Android using third-party apps.
Method 1: Recover Deleted Photos Using Default Gallery App
Note: As with all things Android, the exact process might differ from one device to another, but the tutorial below should give you an idea about what to look for in your device.
- Open the default ‘Gallery’ or ‘Photo’ app on your Android phone. Now search for the ‘Trash’ folder by tapping on either the hamburger menu  or the ‘More’ option .
- On this device, the Trash folder can be accessed via the hamburger menu on the top-left. Tap on ‘Trash’ to see if your deleted images are still there.
- If you find your target image there, tap on that to select it or tap-and-hold to select multiple images. Now choose the ‘Restore’ button to restore or the ‘Delete’ button (trash can) to permanently delete it.
That’s it. You have successfully restored deleted images on your Android device using the default Gallery app.
Method 2: Recover Deleted Photos Using Google Photos
Note: Your deleted photos and videos in Google Photos will stay in your trash for 60 days before they are deleted forever. So to make this method work, you have to recover your deleted files within that time frame.
If you deleted photos from the Google Photos app and want them back, here’s how you can recover deleted photos using the Google Photos app on Android:
- Open Google Photos and tap on the ‘Library’ tab at the bottom. Now select the ‘Trash’ folder from the next page.
Note: On some devices, you might have to tap on the hamburger menu on the top-left to select the Trash folder.
- Locate the picture you wish to recover and tap on it. To recover multiple images, tap and hold one image and then tap on the other images you want to get back. Finally, tap on the ‘Restore’ button at the bottom. Confirm if asked.
That’s it. You now know how to recover deleted photos using Google Photos on Android. Do note that it will be back where it came from, so if it’s an old photo, you will have to scroll down quite a bit to see it.
Method 3: Recover Deleted Photos Using Third-party Apps
Many third-party apps can recover deleted files (including photos and videos) on rooted Android devices, and most of them charge a pretty penny for it. So if you have a rooted device and are ready to pay up, you can try out EaseUS MobiSaver (download). It can also recover images from non-rooted devices, but there’s a limit on how many you can retrieve if you don’t have root access.
Another notable photo recovery app is Disk Digger (free). It can recover lost photos and images from memory card or internal memory on non-rooted devices. Again, you need root to be able to recover every single photo, but there’s a ‘Basic Scan’ option that promises to recover at least some deleted files. Today, we will use it to try and recover deleted photos on my device.
- Install Disk Digger on your Android device. Fire it up and tap on the ‘Start Basic Photo Scan’ option on the home page. Once the scan is done, the app will tell you how many recoverable photos it has found. Tap on ‘OK’ to see the actual files.
- Once you get the list of recoverable files, either go through the list to pick your target image(s) one-at-a-time, or tap on the menu button (three dots) at the top-right and then tap on ‘Select All’. Now hit ‘Recover’ at the bottom to recover all the selected files.
- You can save the recovered files in the cloud, on the device or on an FTP server. If you choose local device, you will get options to select the exact folder. Once you make the choice, your recovered photos will be saved in the location of your choice.
You can recover as many photos as you want, but the free version will only scan cache and thumbnails. You’ll have to pay $3.99 for the premium version that will scan all locations and let you recover high quality images.
Can I Recover ‘Permanently’ Deleted Photos in Android?
Yes, you can recover ‘permanently’ deleted photos in Android and other platforms. That’s because the most important thing to remember about digital file storage is that even when you ‘permanently’ delete a file, it is not erased permanently from your disk. Instead, the operating system only erases references of that file and marks the space occupied by that file as empty, allowing other apps to write on top of that. The actual data belonging to the deleted file still remains on your device unless overwritten. This means that even ‘permanently’ deleted files are often recoverable with the right tool.
That said, you are unlikely to get back permanently deleted files if you deleted them long ago. That’s because as you keep using the device, the sectors used to store the ‘deleted’ file slowly but surely get overwritten, thereby reducing your chances of recovering it. So if you do happen to mistakenly delete a file, stop using the device immediately to increase your chances of recovering it. That means no more app installations, updates, gaming, streaming, etc. Shutdown your internet connection, phone connection, Bluetooth and get cracking trying to recover the file.
If you’ve merely deleted it from a photo viewer or files viewer app, it should still be in a trash folder within that app in most cases, so you should be able to recover it if it’s within the permanent deletion time frame. However, if it has been permanently deleted because the time frame expired or you manually deleted it for good, you will then need a data recovery software, whether on Android, Windows or other platforms. Many such tools are available for different platforms and across various price-points.
How do Data Recovery Software Work?
Data recovery programs work by scanning for files that have been marked as deleted by the system. As the space is freed up per byte, rather than per file, this can sometimes cause incomplete data recovery if some of the sectors containing the ‘deleted’ file is overwritten by new apps or by system files.
If you’ve deleted a file and now want to recover it, time is of the essence. If you leave it for too long, even the best consumer-level data recovery software may not be able to recover them for you. Of course, you can try forensic data recovery software, but that will cost you an arm and a leg and still might not retrieve your beloved photo or video in its entirety.
Is There a Way to Delete Confidential Data For Good?
Yes, there is. For starters, you can always use the ‘permanently delete’ option on your app to permanently delete the file from your device’s Trash folder and the cloud. Then, use an app that can ‘wipe free space’, which will intentionally overwrite on the sectors occupied by the target file to ensure that it cannot be recovered. Such digital file shredders intentionally overwrite on ‘free’ space on the disk to make the data unrecoverable.
Most reputable data wipers (‘wiping’ is a misnomer because data is never wiped, only overwritten) do this using a number of different erasing (overwriting) patterns. At the basic level, simple 2-3 pass random overwrites are enough for regular users. However, to shred state secrets and confidential business information, government agencies and business enterprises often use the Gutmann method or standards defined by the US Department of Defense (DoD), NATO, German VSITR, etc.
If you want to securely delete files on your computer or smartphone, I will recommend you use the free and highly efficient CCleaner on Windows (free), Mac (free) and Android (free). It offers all the above options, although, the latter ones take much more time and are only meant for the paranoid.
Easily Recover Deleted Photos on Your Android Device
So now that you know how to recover photos you deleted from your Android device, let’s hope that you can get back your precious memories that you might have mistakenly deleted. If you’ve permanently deleted photos or videos from your Android device, you might still be abel to recover them using a quality data recovery software. To prevent a future recurrence of something similar, make sure to back-up all data from your Android device to a trusted cloud service provider by following our tutorial. If someone you know uses an iPhone, you can share our guide on how iPhone users can backup their device for complete peace of mind.