In a moment of relaxation, you took your trusty smartphone to look at some photos that you are particularly fond of, but after looking for them for a few minutes, you realized that they have literally disappeared from the system's Gallery! Wanting to get them back, you opened Google to look for a guide on where to look for them, and ended up right here on my website.
If that's the case, I'm glad to say you've come to the right place, at the right time! In fact, below I'm going to explain you how to recover missing photos from Gallery by applying a series of simple procedures within the reach of everyone, even those who, like you, are not very familiar with the world of technology.
So, what are you waiting for to get started? Cut out a few minutes of free time for you, get comfortable and read carefully everything I have to explain on the subject: I'm sure that, at the end of this reading, you will be perfectly able to find the missing photos, to your satisfaction. Having said that, there's nothing left for me to do but wish you a good reading and good luck with everything!
Before we get into the heart of this guide and explain how to recover missing photos from the Gallery, it is important to make an important distinction between the possible reasons for the "disappearance" of images.
In some cases, photos may no longer be displayed in the Android or iOS Gallery because, for example, they have been intentionally moved to the Archive section of the device (hiding them, in fact, from the main view of the photo gallery).
On other occasions, however, the photos may no longer be displayed because, for one reason or another, the folder in which they reside is no longer "automatically recognized" - or, in jargon, indexed - by the system; in this case, simply access the aforementioned folder using a file manager.
The same applies to photos automatically moved to the cloud, which may have been deleted from the device during a scheduled cleaning operation; in this case too, all you need to do is access the photos in question via the app dedicated to the cloud space in use and, if necessary, download them back to the device.
If, on the other hand, the photos have disappeared because they have been "physically" deleted from the device (even unintentionally), then things are a bit more complicated: first, you have to take a look at the recycle bin of the Gallery management app on the device; if that fails, you'll need to turn to a specific program to try to restore the deleted files, starting from the memory of the device in use.
Anyway, I'm going to explain everything in detail in the next chapters of this guide.
How to recover deleted photos from Android Gallery
If you have a smartphone or a tablet equipped with Android, this is the section of the guide more suited to your case: in the lines to come, I'll explain how to access again to the photos mysteriously "disappeared", through a series of simple steps.
Restore missing photos from Gallery
Most of the management apps of the Android Gallery, such as Google Photos, have a special folder, called Archive, in which you can move the photos that you no longer want to see in the Gallery, without physically removing them from the memory of the device.
For your information, you can move an image in the Google Photos archive in the following way: after launching the app, just make a long tap on the photo of your interest, to select it, then press the button (⋮) located in the upper right corner and, finally, touch the item Move to Archive attached to the menu proposed.
So, if you have inhibited the display of images in the manner explained above, you can access them again in the same simple way: start Google Photos, tap on the Photos tab (below), tap the button ☰ located at the top left and press the item Archive located in the menu that is proposed, to access the folder that contains the photos "hidden".
To restore the display of one or more images in the Gallery of Android, make a long tap on the photo of your interest, to select it, repeat the operation on the other images to restore and, when you're done, tap on the button ( ⋮) (top right) and select the item Remove from archive located in the menu proposed. That was a lot easier than I thought it would be, wasn't it?
Using a file manager
If you couldn't find the photos in the device's photo gallery archive, then you could try using a file manager, such as Google Files (pre-installed on most Android devices and free to download from the Play Store, if necessary), to access the folder dedicated to photos taken via the camera, or to view the photos captured or sent via a specific app.
Doing so is really simple: to begin with, launch the Files app, grant it access permissions to the device's memory, if necessary, tap on the Browse tab (bottom) and then on the Images entry. You can navigate between folders containing photos and videos using the tabs at the top. If you wish, you can quickly switch between folders by swiping right or left.
If you can't find the missing photos even in this way, you can try to access the folders that might contain them "directly": to do this, go back to the Browse tab of Files, tap on Internal Storage (or Memory Card, if you have opted to store on microSD) and, from there, access the folder that you think may contain the images that you can no longer find.
For example, to view all photos taken with the camera, go to the DCIM > Camera folder; to view photos received and sent with WhatsApp, go to WhatsApp > Media > WhatsApp Images; to view photos taken/edited with the Facebook camera, go to the DCIM > Facebook folder; and to view photos downloaded with Google Chrome, go to the Downloads directory.
Once you find the image you are interested in, you can make it visible again in Gallery by transferring it to the DCIM > Camera folder. Are you asking me how to do that? I'll tell you right now.
First, tap on the ▼ button next to the name of the image you're interested in, select the Move To option in the menu that appears, tap on the Internal Storage (or SD Card) option, access the DCIM and Camera folders using the next panel and, when you're done, tap on the Move Here button to transfer the photo to the main Android Gallery folder.
Using the Cloud
Some cloud apps, such as Google Photos, Google Files, or OneDrive for Android, allow you to delete images that are already in the cloud from your device's memory in order to free up some internal memory (or microSD space). Generally, this option, called Free space from device (or similar), resides in the application settings. After using it, however, photos may no longer appear in the Android Gallery.
To get around this minor inconvenience, you can use the app you use to automatically upload images to the cloud, so you can access them and, if necessary, download them back to your device.
For example, if you've uploaded photos to OneDrive, launch the OneDrive app for Android, tap on the Photos tab and locate the image you're interested in; then long tap on it to select it, repeat for any other photos you want to restore, tap on the (⋮) button and choose Save from the menu to transfer the photos to your Android storage (and make them visible again in Gallery).
For more information on cloud apps, check out my guide to the best cloud, where I covered the topic in detail.
Recover deleted photos
Excuse me? Were you unable to restore your missing photos from Android Gallery with any of the procedures seen so far, because you suspect that you manually deleted them from your device's storage?
If so, I suggest you check if the images in question are still present in the trash attached to the Gallery management app you're using (e.g. Google Photos): all photos and videos deleted via the app usually end up in it, for a period of time usually equal to 30 days.
To access the Google Photos Recycle Bin, launch the app, tap on the ☰ button at the top left, and select Recycle Bin from the menu that opens on the side.
Then, locate the photos you want to recover, tap and hold on one of them to activate the selection mode, tap on the other images to recover (if necessary), and press the arrow icon in the top right corner to restore them to the Gallery.
If the photos are not present in the recycle bin either, then you can try to restore them using a computer software or an app specifically designed for this purpose, like PhotoRec or DiskDigger, which I've told you about in my guide on how to recover deleted photos from Android.
However, I cannot guarantee the complete success of the procedure, because, as I explained in my dedicated guide, the chances of success vary depending on the time elapsed since the actual deletion of the photo.
How to recover missing photos from iPhone Gallery
If you want to recover missing photos from iPhone Gallery, please read carefully the following sections of this tutorial, where I'm going to explain you how to proceed in various possible scenarios.
Restore missing photos from Gallery
If you remember well, in my guide on how to hide photos on iPhone, I explained how to use the system share menu to inhibit the display of photos from the main area of the iOS Photos app, but without physically deleting them from the device's memory.
All you have to do, to achieve this result, is to open the image of your interest, press the share button (the square with the up arrow) and select the Hide item from the panel that is proposed, then confirming the will to proceed, touching the Hide button.
If you have hidden the photos in this way, you can easily access them using the iOS Hidden album. To start, launch the iOS Photos app, tap on the Albums tab (at the bottom), scroll down to the More Albums section, and tap on Hidden to access the area for photos that are not displayed in the gallery.
Then, tap on the Select item at the top, tap on the thumbnails of the photo you want to restore, press the share button (the square with the up arrow) at the bottom left, and finally tap Show from the panel that appears on the screen.
After a few moments, the selected images will be displayed in the iOS gallery again.
Using a File Manager
If you can no longer find an image that was previously displayed in the iPhone Gallery, you can try to "manually" access its file (whether it's located in the iPhone memory or on iCloud Drive) using the iOS File app. This is quite rare, as images in memory and iCloud are automatically grouped into iOS photo albums, but it's worth a shot.
To do this, launch the Files app, call it up from your iPhone's Home screen, tap on the Browse tab and, using the available options, navigate to the folder where you think the _lost_ image is located.
When you have located it, tap on the Select button at the top, tap on the preview of theimage in question (or images, if you want to view multiple photos), press the share button and, finally, tap on Save Image, located in the panel that appears on the screen, to add the photo to the Gallery (thus storing it in the device memory).
Recover deleted photos
If none of the methods mentioned so far have solved your problem, because you suspect that you have unintentionally deleted the photo from your iPhone memory, you can try to recover it using the iOS/iCloud Drive's Recently Deleted album, a sort of "recycle bin" where images remain for about 40 days after being deleted by the user (after which the photos are permanently deleted).
So, if you have deleted the images you are interested in less than 40 days ago, you can quickly retrieve them by launching the Photos app in iOS, going to the Albums tab at the bottom and tapping on Recent Items, located a little further down.
Once you've located the photo(s) you're interested in, tap on the Select tab at the top right of the screen, hover over the thumbnails of the images you want to recover, press the Recover button, and to return the images to the iOS gallery, tap the Recover Photos button and you're done.
If the pictures don't appear even in the Recently Deleted album, you have to turn to a data recovery program for computers (e.g. EaseUS MobiSaver) to scan the memory of the "applephone" and try to recover the deleted pictures.
This solution, about which I told you in my guide on how to recover deleted photos from iPhone, does not have a very high margin of success, because the result varies depending on the time elapsed since the actual deletion of the photo. If all other solutions have failed, however, it is still worth a try!