How can I find my photos from lost phone?

Losing your phone can be extremely stressful, especially if you had important photos stored on it that are not backed up elsewhere. The good news is that there are several ways you may be able to recover deleted photos from your lost Android or iPhone.

Quick Overview of Ways to Recover Photos from Lost Phone

Here is a quick overview of some of the main options for trying to get photos back from a lost phone:

  • Use a cloud backup service like Google Photos or iCloud to restore photos
  • Recover data from the phone if you still have it by using data recovery software
  • Extract photos from a SIM card if you used one in the lost phone
  • Check with your cell phone carrier in case they have any backups
  • Use tracking software or features to locate the lost device
  • Recover recently deleted photos using device utilities like Recently Deleted folder

The best approach depends on your specific situation. The rest of this guide will explore these options in more depth.

Use Cloud Backup Services to Restore Lost Photos

One of the best ways to protect your photos is to use a cloud-based automatic backup service. This sends copies of your phone’s photos to remote servers on the internet. Then if your phone is lost, you can simply restore your photos from the cloud backups.

For iPhones, you can use Apple’s iCloud Photo Library feature to automatically backup photos. Just make sure iCloud backup is enabled in your iPhone’s settings. You can then go to and restore your photos to a new device.

Android phones have Google Photos, which provides free unlimited high-quality backups. Just install the app and enable backup. Then visit to restore your pics to a new Android device or download them.

Other options like Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive also allow automatic camera backups. So check if you had any such cloud services enabled.

Additional Tips for Using Cloud Backups

  • Double check that backup was properly enabled and includes your photos.
  • The cloud only contains photos that were actually backed up, so you may be missing recent shots.
  • Backups can take time to upload, so your most recent photos may not have made it.

Recover Data from the Lost Phone Itself

If you still have possession of your lost Android phone or iPhone, you may be able to recover photos directly from it using data recovery software.

Using Data Recovery Apps

There are various apps you can download to your phone that are designed to help restore lost or deleted data. For iPhone, try apps like iMyFone D-Back or EaseUS MobiSaver. For Android phones, some options include DiskDigger Photo Recovery and EaseUS MobiSaver for Android.

The basic process with these apps is:

  1. Download and install the data recovery app onto your lost phone.
  2. Scan the phone’s storage for recoverable photo files.
  3. Preview found photos.
  4. Restore and save the photos you want to keep.

Using Desktop Data Recovery Software

Alternatively, you can use more powerful data recovery programs for desktop computers. This works by connecting your lost phone to a computer with a USB cable. The software scans the phone and allows you to recover various file types like photos and videos.

Options for Android include EaseUS MobiSaver for Android, Jihosoft Android Phone Recovery, and FoneDog Android Data Recovery. For iPhone, you can try EaseUS MobiSaver for iOS, Recoverit Photo Recovery for iOS, and PhoneRescue iOS Data Recovery.

The overall process involves:

  1. Download and install the data recovery software on a Windows or Mac computer.
  2. Connect your lost Android or iPhone device via USB.
  3. Allow USB debugging access on Android.
  4. Scan the phone for recoverable data.
  5. Preview found photos.
  6. Select the images to restore.
  7. Save the recovered photos to your computer.

Tips for Using Data Recovery Software

  • Don’t overwrite your phone’s data before recovery – this can make files unrecoverable.
  • Rooted Android phones allow more effective data recovery.
  • The sooner you run recovery after deletion, the better.
  • Directly saving recovered photos is safer than restoring them to the phone.

Extract Photos from SIM Card

If your lost phone had a SIM card in it, you may be able to recover photos stored on the SIM card itself. This only works if you explicitly saved photos to the SIM storage.

To check, remove the SIM card from your lost phone and insert it into another device. You can use a SIM card reader adapter connected to a computer if needed. Browse the SIM card’s storage and see if any image files are present. If so, you can copy them to your computer or new phone for recovery.

Note that SIM cards have very limited storage, so at most you’d only find a handful of photos using this method.

Contact Your Cell Phone Carrier

Your cell phone service carrier may have options to help recover data from a lost device in some cases. Contact customer support and ask if they have any backups or photo recovery options.

For example, T-Mobile lets you login online and restore backups from most Android phones that used their service. AT&T has a similar device backup service as well. Verizon, Sprint, and other carriers may be able to help as well in some situations.

Use Tracking Software to Locate Your Phone

If your phone was truly lost rather than stolen, sometimes you may be able to track its location using software. This could allow you to find and recover the device itself along with your photos.

Android Device Manager

All Android devices support Google’s free Android Device Manager service. This lets you remotely locate, lock, and erase your phone. Just use a desktop computer or another mobile device to sign in to the service with your Google account. You’ll then see the last reported location of your lost Android.

Find My iPhone

For iOS devices, Apple provides the Find My iPhone service. You can use iCloud on a computer or the Find My iPhone app on another Apple device. This shows your lost iPhone’s last location as reported to Apple.

You can also put your iPhone in Lost Mode to lock it and display a recovery message. Or use Erase iPhone to remotely wipe the device in case it fell into the wrong hands.

Other Tracking Apps

There are various third-party phone tracking apps you can install before losing your device that may help locating it as well, such as Prey or Lookout.

Enable these apps beforehand and associate them with your account. Then you can typically log in on their website and view your phone’s last reported location and other information.

Recover Recently Deleted Photos

If you only just recently lost your phone, it may still have some deleted photos available for quick undelete.

Android Recently Deleted Folder

Many Android phones use a trash folder called Recently Deleted where you can restore accidentally deleted images. This is available in the Google Photos app.

Connect your Android phone to a computer with a USB cable. Open your phone’s storage on the computer and browse to the DCIM folder. Open the .thumbnails subfolder and you may find thumbnail versions of recently deleted photos.

You can also use data recovery software to scan your Android phone while it’s connected to a computer via USB and find recently deleted photos.

iPhone Recently Deleted Album

The Photos app on iPhones features a Recently Deleted album that stores images for up to 40 days after deletion. You can browse this album and restore photos.

Connect your iPhone to your computer and open it in a file explorer. Go to Internal Storage > DCIM > .Trashes folder. This contains recently deleted photos you may be able to restore.

You can also use iOS data recovery software to find deleted iPhone photos if done soon after loss.

Prevent Future Photo Loss

To avoid going through this recovery process again, make sure to regularly back up your phone’s photos and enable tracking software or remote wipe features in case you ever lose your device again. Following some best practices can prevent future photo loss:

  • Turn on cloud backups like Google Photos or iCloud.
  • Save important photos to a computer or external storage as well.
  • Enable lost phone tracking software before loss occurs.
  • Use a pin code, password, or fingerprint lock to secure your phone.
  • Be careful about accidentally deleting photos.
  • Document your phone’s IMEI number in case it’s lost.


Losing your mobile phone doesn’t have to mean losing all your photos as well. As long as you act quickly while memories are still fresh, you have good chances of photo recovery success. Follow the tips outlined in this guide to get your photos back.

First make use of any cloud backups from services like Google Photos or iCloud. Carefully using data recovery apps or software is another solid option if you still have your phone. You may also be able to extract photos from a SIM card or contact your carrier for assistance.

With a range of recovery methods available, there are good chances of salvaging at least some lost phone photos. Just make sure to regularly back up your photos going forward to avoid repeat issues.