How many times have I told you? The photos you take with your smartphone (or tablet) must not remain on the phone's memory: you must store them regularly on your PC and make backup copies on external hard drives and memory cards. Alternatively, you can save them on a cloud storage service, so you can be sure they are always accessible.
You, on the other hand, have been doing your own thing, and now you're left with a dozen shots that you cared about so much that you've vanished into thin air. I beg your pardon? Is this the fault of an app that promised to delete useless files from Android and duplicates from the Gallery? It doesn't matter. The damage is done and you have to try to fix it. So roll up your sleeves now and find out how to recover photos on Android with the programs and apps I'm about to recommend. With a little luck, you might be able to restore all the lost photos.
Before you get down to business, though, one thing must be said: you can't work miracles! In other words, if the memory areas that housed your photos have been overwritten by other data, unfortunately nothing will be able to recover them: neither the resources I'm about to tell you about nor anything else. Is that clear? For the same reason, it is good to use the device as little as possible while waiting for photo recovery (to prevent other data from occupying the memory areas where there are photos to be recovered). Therefore, I would recommend you to use photo recovery programs from your PC first and then apps to use directly on your smartphone or tablet. That said, let's put the chatter to one side and get down to business!
Before explaining in detail how to recover deleted photos on Android using data recovery solutions, I want to ask you a very important question: on your smartphone or tablet do you use Google Photo (the online image management and storage service offered by Google)? Then I have a good news to tell you: when you delete a photo from the service, it is not permanently deleted from the device's memory, but is moved to the Trash, a temporary folder where it remains for another 60 days before it is permanently removed.
So, if 60 days have not yet passed since you removed the photos you now want to recover, you can take a look at the Google Photo Basket and, if the pictures are inside it, you can restore them without any problems.
To do this, open the application in question on your smartphone or tablet by tapping on the icon in the drawer, press the button with the three lines horizontally located at the top left and select the item Trash from the menu that opens. In the new screenshot, tap on the first photo you want to recover, select all the other images you are interested in and tap on the Restore item in the lower right corner.
Alternatively, you can also act as a PC by connecting to this web page and logging in, if necessary, with the Google account configured on your smartphone or tablet. This way, you can access the Recycle Bin of the web version of Google Photo and restore your photos from there.
Programs to recover deleted Android photos
If you want to find out how to recover photos on Android in the case of deleted photos from your device and you have a computer at hand, you can use the image recovery programs (and other file types) below. There are some for Windows as well as MacOS and Linux. I sincerely hope they can help you.
If your Android smartphone or tablet supports microSD, you can remove it from the device, insert it into the player connected to the computer and scan the contents with PhotoRec to try to recover the deleted photos.
In case you have never heard of it, PhotoRec is a free and open source software that allows you to recover deleted files from any type of drives: hard drives, USB sticks, SD cards, etc. It is compatible with Windows and MacOS and Linux but only for Microsoft home operating systems it comes complete with graphical interface. Note, however, that it will not work if the SD card of the device has been set as the main memory drive. It comes bundled with TestDisk, another free partition recovery software.
To download PhotoRec, the first step is to go to the program's website and if you are using Windows, click the Windows-64 bit link (if you are using 64 bit Windows) or the Windows link (if you are using 32 bit Windows) under TestDisk & PhotoRec x.x at the top.
Once downloaded, extract the ZIP archive obtained in any folder and start the file qphotorec_win.exe inside it. Next, insert the memory card of your Android smartphone into the reader connected to your PC.
Now, in the PhotoRec window that pops up, select the drive where you inserted the SD card from the drop-down menu at the top, click on the partition from which you want to recover photos (e.g., "SD card").
), select the FAT/NTFS/HFS+/ReiferFS and Free items at the bottom and click the File Formats button.
In the additional window that appears on the screen, press the Reset button, select the file formats you want to recover from the SD card (e.g. JPG and PNG) and click the OK button.
To finish, press the Navigate button, indicate the folder where you want to save the photos once recovered and click the Search button to start the scanning process. When you're done, you'll find all the photos recovered by the program in the folder of your choice.
If you are using macOS, to use PhotoRec, proceed as follows: After connecting to the program site, click the Mac OS X Intel link, extract the tar.bz2 archive that is downloaded to your computer to any folder and launch the photorec executable contained within it, right click on it and select Open from the menu that appears.
In the Terminal window that is shown to you, use the right arrow on your keyboard to select the Sudo option, press the Enter key (always on your keyboard) and type the password of your user account on macOS, so that you can start the application as administrator.
Next, insert the memory card of your Android phone into the SD card reader of your Mac, select the drive from which you want to recover photos, indicate the partition you are interested in, choose the file system with which it is formatted and indicate whether you only want to scan the space marked as free or check the whole drive thoroughly.
Finally, select the folder where you want to save the recovered images, press the "C" key on your keyboard to confirm your choice and wait for the procedure to be completed.
iReparo for Android (Windows/macOS)
Another great software you can use to recover deleted photos from Android is iReparo for Android. It is a Windows and MacOS compatible program that allows you to recover photos, videos, messages and other files deleted from smartphones based on Google's mobile platform.
It's charged (costs $49.95), but can be used as a free trial version, which allows you to check which files can be recovered with its full version.
To download the trial of the program, go to the official iReparo for Android website and click first on Windows or Mac (depending on the operating system you are using on your computer) and then on the Download button.
When the download is complete, if you are using Windows, open the obtained .exe file and, in the window that appears on your desktop, click the Yes and OK buttons. Then select I accept the agreement, click on the Next button four times in a row and, to finish, press the Install and Finish buttons.
If, on the other hand, you are using macOS, start the .pkg package that contains the program and, in the window that opens, click the Continue button twice in a row and then the Install button. Then type in the password for your macOS user account and complete the setup by first pressing the Install software button and then the Move button.
Now that, regardless of the operating system used, you see the software window, connect your Android smartphone or tablet to your computer and wait for it to be recognized by iReparo for Android. If it doesn't, take your device, go to Settings > Device Developer Options and select the USB debug option. If the Developer Options menu is not available, go to Settings > Phone Info and tap 7 times on Build Version or Serial Number to enable it.
Next, click on the Multimedia button in the program window, select the file formats for the photos you want to recover (e.g. JPG and PNG) and press the Next and Start buttons to start the scanning procedure.
When the process is complete, select the Gallery item from the sidebar of the software window and you will be shown the photos that you can recover. If you decide to buy the full version of iReparo for Android, you can select the thumbnails of the pictures you are interested in and export them to your computer by clicking the Recover button.
App to recover deleted Android photos
Now let's move on to the apps to recover deleted photos on Android: these tools are easy to use, even by those who, a bit like you, do not consider themselves exactly a "geek". Keep in mind, however, that they require the presence of the root on the device.
In case you're not aware of it, root is a procedure by which you bypass standard Android restrictions so that apps that need to access the deepest areas of the system can run. Everything is explained in detail in my tutorial on how to root on Android.
DiskDigger is one of the best free apps to recover photos on Android. It has an extremely intuitive user interface and it can do its job fast enough. Eventually, it is also available in a paid version (which costs 3.37 Euros), which allows you to recover other file formats as well, but you should not be interested in it.
To download it, visit the relevant section of the Play Store and press the Install button. If necessary, authorize it by also pressing the Accept button. Once the download and installation process is complete, open the app by pressing the Open button that appears on the screen or by tapping on its icon in the drawer (the Android screen where you will find the icons of all the apps).
Once you see the main screen of the application, tap on the Grant button to allow it to run with root permissions. Then select No, thank you in response to the invitation to purchase the Pro version and choose the unit from which you want to restore your photos - almost certainly the one with the largest capacity and bold name.
Then tick next to the JPG and/or PNG entry (if you want to retrieve screenshots as well), tap the OK button to start scanning the drive and press the Allow entry to give the app permission to access your photos.
As DiskDigger does its work, you will see the thumbnails of the recoverable photos appear on the screen of your device: put the check mark on the ones you want to restore, click on the floppy disk icon at the top right and select Save selected files locally from the menu that appears, to complete the operation.
Undeleter Recover Files & Data
In case DiskDigger fails to recover all the photos that you care about, you can try Undeleter Recover Files & Data, another data recovery app that is a bit slower than DiskDigger in finding files but still does a good job. It's free, but only in its basic version, which allows you to recover photos only, while to restore also documents, archives and other types of files you need to upgrade to the paid version, through in-app purchases (at a cost of 4.99 euros).
To download the application, visit the relevant section of the Play Store and tap the Install button. If necessary, authorize the download by also clicking on Accept. Once the download and installation process is complete, open the application by selecting the Open button that appears on the screen or tap on its icon in the drawer.
Now that you see the main screen of the app, tap the Next button first and then the Grant button to grant root permissions to the app. When you're done, tap the Next button again and select the drive to retrieve images from (e.g. Internal Storage). Then choose the file types to restore (JPG and PNG) and tap on the Scan button to start checking the device.
The thumbnails of the recoverable photos will automatically appear on the screen as the scan progresses: to restore an image, touch its preview, press on the button with the three dots vertically located in the upper right corner and select Save the file from the menu that appears.
How to recover WhatsApp Android photos
Interested in figuring out how to recover photos on Android that you received via WhatsApp and now deleted? Well, just know that you can do it using the programs and apps I told you about in the previous steps.
The procedures to do are pretty much the same, nothing changes, because the images received through the famous messaging service are stored on your device's memory just like the photos in the Gallery.
Alternatively, you can try to recover photos from the application's backups, provided that the last backup saved by WhatsApp on the Internet (on Google Drive, to be precise) or on your smartphone memory is prior to the date you deleted the images you want to restore. For full details, please refer to my specific guide on how to recover WhatsApp photos.
How to recover broken Android photos
Your Android device accidentally fell down, broke and you can't turn it on anymore? What a mess! But if the thing that worries you the most are the photos stored in it, know that maybe not everything is lost.
If you use an external memory card on your device to store photos and other data, you can try to recover the pictures stored on it by connecting the microSD to your computer and using special programs, like PhotoRec, which I told you about at the beginning of this guide.
If, on the other hand, you used Google Photo to store photos in the cloud, you can connect to the service with your account from another smartphone or tablet, and retrieve images saved on the Net from there, as I explained in my guide on how to retrieve photos from Google Photo, or, if you have deleted them in the past by mistake, you can try to restore them by following the instructions on what to do that I gave you in the dedicated step in the central part of this guide.
If then the device is not equipped with an external memory card, another way is to take it to service and request the recovery of the data contained inside, but I must warn you that this is an expensive operation and not always successful.
There are also other "tricks" suitable for this purpose. For example, you can try to bring the device back to life by replacing the battery. For more details, please read my specific tutorial on how to recover photos from a broken phone.