Photo recovery: how to recover permanently deleted photos from Android gallery

We often use our phones to store precious memories in the form of photographs. If you’re an Android user, you might have faced a situation where you’d want to find a particular picture for a purpose and then realize that the photo can’t be found in your gallery. You might have also been browsing through your gallery, and accidentally hit the delete button.

Also read: How to backup and restore contacts on Android

If ths happens to you, don’t be alarmed. The good news is that there are multiple ways to recover your deleted photos on Android. Thankfully, Android’s open-source nature allows a several different ways to restore photos that you may have lost or accidentally deleted from your device. In this post, we’ll list the four best methods to recover deleted photos on your Android device.

Check your trash folder

Android devices don’t immediately delete photos from their memory unless prompted to do so by the user. For example, if you could delete a photo from your gallery, it will first go into the Trash folder. Unless you manually delete the photo from the Trash folder as well, the photos will be stored there for thirty days, after which the Android device will automatically delete them. Provided you didn’t delete the photo prior to the 30-day period, here’s how to recover pictures from your Android phone’s Trash folder.

  1. Go to the Gallery app. Depending on your device, you could either have three dots at the upper right corner, or you will have to scroll down and find the “Recently Deleted” option. Tap on the option that you have.
  2. If you clicked on the three vertical dots, then the drop-down menu should have the “Trash” option. Tap on it. If you have tapped on the “Recently deleted” option, then the next window should be showing you the photos that have been deleted.
  3. You can restore the pictures by selecting them and tapping on the “Recover” icon, either at the bottom of the screen or in the upper right corner.
  4. Your photos will be restored to your gallery.

Also read: How to enable Cinematic photos in Google Photos

Check Google Photos

When you register your Android device for the first time, you are also signing up for Google’s range of apps. Google’s Photos storage application is great for storing your photos in the cloud. However, you would need to have enabled Google Photos backup for this to work. Additionally, if you have multiple Google accounts on your device, ensure you’re checking the correct one when trying to recover images through Google Photos. The best part about the Google Photos method is that it’s likely to have saved images from several years ago, so you can even restore older images if you’re lucky. Here’s how to recover images via this method:

  1. Open Google Photos and make sure you’re signed into the correct Gmail account.
  2. If you want to search for a photo from a particular time period, you can tap and hold the bar at the right side of the screen and scroll according to the date the photo was taken.
  3. Open the photo that you want to recover to your phone storage, and click on the three vertical dots at the top right corner.
  4. A popup menu will appear and will have the “Download” option. If the photo is still detected in your phone’s memory, the option to “Delete from device” will be shown instead. If the photo is still in your device, the details of its storage will be shown below the option to delete.

Check the SD card

If your phone has a slot for an SD card and is being utilized, chances are that your photos might be present in the external memory card of the device. Here’s how to check.

  1. Go to the “My Files” or “Files” app on your device.
  2. After opening the app, you’ll find a general overview of your phone’s storage. There should be an option that shows “SD card”.
  3. If an SD card is detected, you can open this folder and check if your photos are present there. If there isn’t any SD card or if your SD card is malfunctioning, it will not be detected by the app.

Using a third-party app

If you’re still facing issues with recovering your deleted photos, a good option to try would be using third-party apps. There are a lot of apps available online that can help you recover your lost files. For example, DiskDigger photo recovery works well in these situations. It can recover other files apart from just photos and videos, but you will have to pay for those privileges.

  1. Go to the Google Play Store and download the app.
  2. Open the app and go for a Basic Scan if your device is not rooted. Keep in mind that a full scan will require a proper rooting of the device. Moreover, if you root the device early on, you may void the warranty period.
  3. A Basic Scan might reveal most of the photos that you have on your device, including the ones you accidentally deleted. You can filter them by time period as well. If you’ve opted for the Full Scan, all your photos will be found. However, some of the deleted photos could be corrupted and thus, will not be recoverable.
  4. Tap on the photo that you want to restore, and choose where you want to restore it. You could restore it on an app, or you could opt for the phone’s storage. The best folder to store the photos in your device’s memory would be the DCIM folder, as it is connected to your device’s camera software.

How to avoid losing photos again

The safest way to ensure that your photos aren’t lost again is to back them up periodically to the cloud services. Android has a handy cloud service – especially for photos through the Google Photos app. You can back them up when you’re connected to the WiFi (so that you can save on data charges), and the backup will work in the background. You can also set the backup during your charging times to save the phone’s battery life.

Anirban Dutta Choudhury

Anirban Dutta Choudhury is a PhD scholar, researcher, and freelance writer. He loves keeping his tabs updated on technology, gaming, pop culture, literature, and philosophy. Oh, and he hopes to take his love for gaming narratives into the academic mainstream. Anirban has five years of experience in writing, whether it's for SEO-based content, blogs, or research papers. He whiles away his free time through reading fiction and philosophy, as an escape from the daily drudgery of reality.