Photos can sometimes accidentally get deleted from your phone or computer, leaving you wondering where they went. The good news is that with the right tools and techniques, you can often recover deleted photos, even if you emptied the recycle bin. Here’s what you need to know about finding and restoring deleted photos on both mobile devices and computers.
Finding Deleted Photos on Your Phone
If you’ve accidentally deleted photos on your iPhone, Android, or other smartphone, there are a few different ways you may be able to get them back:
- Check the trash/recycle bin – Most phones have a trash or recycle bin where deleted items get stored temporarily before being permanently erased. Open it up and see if your photos are still in there.
- Use a file recovery app – Apps like iMyFone D-Back (iOS), DiskDigger (Android), and others can scan your phone’s storage and find deleted files that can potentially be recovered. This works even if you’ve emptied the recycle bin.
- Restore from backup – If you regularly back up your phone (to iCloud or Google Photos, for example), you may be able to restore the deleted photos from a previous backup.
- Extract data from the phone – As a last resort, you can use data recovery software that extracts all recoverable data from the phone’s storage. This can recover deleted photos, but isn’t easy for the average user to do.
The sooner you act after deleting photos, the better chance you have of recovering them using one of these methods. Avoid taking new photos or installing apps, as this data could overwrite your deleted pictures.
Using File Recovery Apps to Find Deleted Photos
File recovery apps provide one of the easiest ways to get back lost photos on your iPhone, Android, or other mobile devices. They work by scanning the phone’s storage for files that have been deleted but not yet overwritten. Here are some top options:
iMyFone D-Back – Recover Deleted Photos on iPhone
iMyFone D-Back is one of the most popular data recovery apps for iOS devices like iPhones and iPads. It can recover deleted photos, videos, messages, contacts, notes, and more.
- Scan your device or iTunes/iCloud backup for deleted data.
- Preview found photos and select ones to recover.
- Restore photos to your device or export them.
- Compatible with all iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models.
DiskDigger – Recover Deleted Files on Android
For Android phones and tablets, DiskDigger is an excellent photo recovery option. It’s easy to use and works on Android 2.2 and higher.
- Dig through your device’s memory for lost and deleted photos.
- View recovered photos, share them, or re-save them to the device.
- Can recover photos even if you don’t have root access.
- Free basic version available, or upgrade to DiskDigger Pro.
Both iMyFone D-Back and DiskDigger have free trial versions so you can test them out before buying the full app. They provide an easy and effective way for the average user to recover deleted iPhone or Android photos themselves.
Finding Deleted Photos on Your Computer
There are also options for recovering photos that have been deleted from your Windows PC, Mac computer, or other devices:
Check the Recycle Bin
On Windows PCs, start by opening the Recycle Bin and seeing if your photos are still in there. On Macs, open the Trash folder. If the photos are there, you can right-click and hit Restore to move them back to their original location.
Use Photo Recovery Software
If the photos aren’t in the recycle bin, then you need dedicated photo recovery software. Options like Stellar Photo Recovery (Windows and Mac), iBoysoft Data Recovery (Mac), and EaseUS Photo Recovery (Windows) can scan your computer’s storage and recover deleted photos.
Restore from Backup
If you have backups of your computer through services like Apple Time Machine or Windows File History, you may be able to restore deleted photos by going back to an earlier backup.
Recover Data from Drive
Powerful data recovery software like Ontrack EasyRecovery can extract deleted files directly from a drive. This requires removing the drive from your computer and using the software to scan it.
Tips to Avoid Losing Photos
Prevention is always better than trying to recover deleted photos. Follow these tips to avoid losing your precious pictures in the first place:
- Back up your photos regularly – On mobile, use iCloud or Google Photos; on computers use an external drive.
- Delete photos safely – Use your device’s trash folder instead of permanently deleting.
- Organize photos into albums – Makes them easier to find and harder to accidentally delete.
- Add favorites to a secure folder – Like your camera roll on iPhone or a locked folder on Android.
- Be cautious when factory resetting – This makes photo recovery much harder.
Recap: How to Get Back Deleted Photos
Here’s a quick recap on how to recover deleted photos on phones and computers:
- Check the trash/recycle bin.
- Use a file recovery app for mobile devices.
- Try photo recovery software for computers.
- Restore from backups when available.
- Extract data directly from a drive or device.
With the right tools, there’s a good chance of getting back photos you feared were lost forever. Just act quickly and don’t take more photos before recovering the deleted ones.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you recover permanently deleted photos?
It is possible to recover some photos even after they have been permanently deleted, though the likelihood decreases over time. Using data recovery software quickly after deletion provides the best chance.
Where do deleted photos go on Android?
Deleted photos on Android go to the trash folder, where they can easily be recovered if still there. After about 30 days they are permanently deleted. But file recovery apps can still find them within the phone’s memory if not overwritten.
How can I recover deleted photos from my Android phone for free?
Free options for recovering deleted Android photos include trying the trash folder, downloading free data recovery apps like DiskDigger (recovers limited number of photos), or asking friends if they have any photo backups containing the deleted pictures.
Can deleted photos be recovered after emptying the recycle bin?
Yes, it is often possible to recover deleted photos even if you have emptied the recycle bin on your computer or mobile device. Specialized data recovery software can scan the storage and find photos by their file signatures.
Is there any way to recover photos that were deleted years ago?
If it has been years since photos were deleted, unfortunately the likelihood of recovering them is very slim. The storage space they occupied has almost certainly been overwritten by new data multiple times in that span.
Accidentally deleting photos, whether on mobile devices or computers, doesn’t have to mean they are lost forever. With the right software and quick action, there are often ways to get back deleted pictures. Just make sure to avoid taking new photos before recovering the old ones, as this can overwrite the deleted data. Regular backups are still the best way to protect your photos for the long term.