3 Ways to Recover Deleted Photos from an Android Phone or Tablet

Last updated: Jan. 20, 2017

taking photos with Android phone

Oh no! So you just hit the delete button on your Android phone or tablet, and accidentally sent some precious photos or videos to the Trash.

Trash? How to access the Trash on Android? To be blunt — there is NO such trash bin on Android OS. When you select your pictures and tap the trash icon, your pictures are deleted and they can't be restored unless you have backups.

But does that mean you have to lose the files forever? Nope, there is still a chance to get them back. That's why we write this article.

We're going to show you three different techniques to recover deleted pictures on an Android device: via backups, use an Android photo recovery software, or send your device for recovery services.

Let's get started.

Precautions & tips

The moment you couldn't find your photos, stop using your Android device immediately. That means don't shoot additional pictures or videos, you should also not generate new data either. If your pictures were stored on a mass memory card, it's best to remove the card from your device and put it in a safe place — ensure it won't get any physical damage.

All these precautions are to avoid data overwriting. Technically, though you've deleted some items off your Android, the data will retain intact there on your device. If you continue to generate new data, it's possible that your old data will get written over thus become unrecoverable.

Next, follow the three techniques below.​

#1: Check if you have backups

In general, there are two different backup techniques you can use with an Android device: via Google Photos app, or via your device manufacturer's own backup software.

Restore via Google Photos

Google Photos is probably the best app to backup and recover any photos or videos. You can save your Android device's media files to your Google Photos library. All you need is to turn on the backup & sync feature on your device. This Google support article tells how. Also, you can use Auto Backup to sync your pictures and videos to Google Drive. If you've enabled the auto backup and sync feature on your Android phone/tablet, good luck for you. Just go to Google Photos or Google Drive, and you should be able to easily access your deleted pictures, videos even music.

Restore via device backups

Besides Google apps, many Android device manufacturers offer software tools for backup and sync purposes. For example, Samsung has Kies app, LG has an LG Backup (Sender) app, Sony Xperia also has a backup and restore feature. If you have ever synced or backed up your device before the photos got deleted, it's easy to restore your pictures. Simply go to your device provider's website and search for related support articles.

Don't have a backup? Try method #2 or #3.

#2: Use Android photo recovery software

Since Android phones or tablets have internal memory and support extended memory cards, the type of photo recovery tools you need to try depend on where your deleted pictures were saved.

If your photos were saved in the internal memory, try Dr.Fone (get PC version here, and Mac version here). It's one of the best Android data recovery software. We've tested it and it worked great to retrieve many types of data lost or inaccessible from an Android device.

Simply connect your Android phone or tablet to your computer. Then get Dr.Fone and install it on your computer. And then follow the step by step instructions as shown on the software to continue.

Get Dr.Fone for Android (PC)          Get Dr.Fone for Android (Mac)

If your photos were stored on a MicroSD card, try Stellar Photo Recovery — a robust digital media recovery program designed to rescue files deleted or lost from common flash cards. First, load your SD card into a card reader, plug it into your computer and launch the Stellar Phoenix software for a scan, then recover and save your pictures and videos.

Get Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery

#3: Send your Android device for data recovery services

Warning: do this only when the above two methods fail to retrieve your files. Also, you'll probably need to spend a lot of time finding a reliable service provider and pay fees that's probably much higher than your expectation.

We highly recommend you contact your device manufacturer's customer support first, see what advice they would give for your situation. Then do your own research and evaluate the best data recovery company to work with. Don't send your device right away to a remote center, unless you know what you're doing. Ideally, you should go for a local one that is close to the area in which you live.


Unlike Apple iOS which offers a "Recently Deleted" folder to recycle deleted pictures and videos (more on this iPhone photo recovery article), Android doesn't have this feature in its current version. When you delete some pictures or videos and can't find them anywhere on the device, it's definitely frustrating depending on how valuable these photos mean to you.

Fortunately, it's not impossible to recover Android photos provided that you act quickly and take the right steps. Hope you find the above three methods useful. Next time, remember to back up all your media files on a regular basis.

If you have any questions in the recovery processes, feel free to let us know.

Jessica Carrell

Jessica is the content manager at AnySoftwareTools. She is a lover of photography, technology, teaching, and learning. Recently she's keen on following news related to tech giants and SaaS startups in bay area.

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