How do I permanently recover photos from my Android?

Losing photos from your Android device can be devastating. Those precious memories and moments captured in photos can be gone in an instant through accidental deletion, system crashes, or hardware damage. Thankfully, with the right tools and techniques, permanent photo recovery on Android is possible.

Can I recover deleted photos from Android internal storage?

Yes, it is often possible to recover deleted photos from an Android device’s internal storage. When you delete photos on Android, the files are not completely erased from the storage right away. Instead, the space they occupied is marked as available to be overwritten by new data.

As long as the space has not been overwritten, data recovery software can scan the Android internal storage and recover deleted photos. However, the longer you wait, the higher the risk that deleted photos will be overwritten by new data. So it’s important to act quickly if you want the best chance of recovering deleted photos from internal storage.

How can I recover photos from Android external SD card?

Here are some options for recovering deleted photos from an Android device’s external SD card:

  • Data recovery software – Run data recovery software that scans the SD card and recovers deleted photos as long as they have not been overwritten.
  • Undelete apps – Some Android apps like DiskDigger can recover deleted files from SD cards.
  • Remove SD card and use computer – Remove the SD card from your Android device and connect it to a computer to run data recovery software.
  • Backup services – If you previously backed up photos to a cloud service like Google Photos, you may be able to restore the deleted images.

The process for recovering photos from an SD card is essentially the same as internal storage. Act quickly and use data recovery software for the best chance of getting your photos back.

Can factory reset permanently delete photos on Android?

Performing a factory reset on your Android device will permanently delete photos saved on the internal storage. During a factory reset, all user data on the internal storage is wiped from the device to restore it to original factory settings.

However, photos saved on an external SD card may survive a factory reset in some cases. The SD card is often not formatted during a reset. So photos on the card can remain intact if the card is not removed or reformatted after the reset.

To make sure photos are permanently deleted in a factory reset, remove the SD card before performing the reset. Then do a full format of the SD card afterwards to wipe all data. This will ensure no photos remain retrievable through data recovery methods.

How can I recover photos after a system update?

Here are some options if a system update on your Android device caused photo loss:

  • Restore from backup – If you previously backed up photos, restore from Google Photos, local backup or your phone’s cloud.
  • Use data recovery software – Scan internal and external storage for deleted photos.
  • Check trash folder – Photos may have been moved to a trash or recycle bin folder.
  • Contact support – The device manufacturer may be able to help recover lost photo data.

Preventing photo loss from system updates involves regularly backing up your images. Enable auto-backup to services like Google Photos. Also, manually back up photos to a computer or external storage device periodically.

What if my phone won’t turn on and photos are inaccessible?

If your Android phone will not power on due to system errors, hardware issues or damage, getting your photos off the device can be difficult but is usually still possible:

  • Remove the storage – Take out the SD card and internal storage chip to insert into another phone or card reader.
  • Professional recovery – Experts can repair phone hardware and recover data from faulty devices.
  • Google Photos – If back up was enabled, restore photos from the cloud.

As long as the storage chips are intact, professionals can almost always find a way to recover photos from a damaged, non-functioning phone. Seek their help immediately after any failure to avoid data overwriting.

Can I recover photos after a corrupted memory card?

It is often possible to recover photos from a corrupted Android SD card. Here are some tips:

  • Use recovery software – Programs like Recuva can restore photos from formatted or damaged cards.
  • Try CHKDSK – This built-in Windows utility may fix file system errors on the card.
  • Format the card – Formatting may fix the corruption, but will delete your photos if you have not backed them up.

To avoid corruption-related photo loss, be careful when removing memory cards from your Android device. Only use brands from reputable manufacturers and replace cards that begin malfunctioning.

Is it possible to recover photos after a ransomware attack?

Recovering photos after a ransomware attack on an Android device is often possible, but requires quick action:

  • Isolate device – Disconnect the infected device from networks to avoid further encryption.
  • Use backups – Restore photos from cloud services or external storage not connected during attack.
  • Try decryptors – Some security firms have decryption tools for certain ransomware strains.
  • Factory reset – Wiping the device can eliminate ransomware, but will also delete photos.

Preventing ransomware comes down to security best practices. Avoid suspicious links, only install apps from Google Play, keep your device updated and back up photos regularly.

What are the best Android data recovery apps?

Here are some of the top-rated Android data recovery apps:

App Key Features
DiskDigger Recovers photos, videos, documents; free basic version
EaseUS MobiSaver Recovers data after OS update, factory reset; rescues damaged files
MiniTool Mobile Recovery Gets back lost data due to OS crash, forgotten passwords, factory reset
SanDisk RescuePRO Restores photos, video, audio from SD cards and internal storage; offers deep scanning

The best app depends on your specific needs. Read reviews and check capabilities before choosing one. Also ensure the app is compatible with your Android version.

Can lost photos be recovered if I deleted them from the trash folder?

If you deleted photos from the trash or recycle bin folder on your Android device, they can still potentially be recovered.

When files are deleted from the trash folder, the space they occupied is marked as available to be overwritten by new data. Until that space is reused, data recovery software can scan the device storage and restore the deleted photos.

However, recovery becomes less likely over time once photos are deleted from the trash folder. Your best chances involve using data recovery apps very soon after deletion, before new data saves to the storage space.

What are the limitations of Android photo recovery?

Despite available recovery methods, there are some limitations to recovering lost photos on Android devices:

  • Overwritten data – Photos cannot be recovered if their storage space has been overwritten by new files.
  • Physical damage – Severely damaged phones or storage chips may be unrecoverable.
  • Encrypted devices – Heavy encryption can prevent access to photo data.
  • Cost – Professional recovery services can be very expensive with no guarantees.

Acting quickly before photo data is overwritten gives the best chance for recovery success. Also understand there are cases where photos are permanently lost if hardware is damaged or encryption keys are lost.

Can I recover photos without rooting Android?

In many cases, you can recover deleted or lost photos from an Android device without needing to root it. Here are some root-free options:

  • Data recovery apps – Many apps like DiskDigger work without root access.
  • Cloud services – If photos were backed up, restore them from Google Photos or Dropbox.
  • SD card – Use a card reader to access photos stored on external SD cards.
  • USB debugging – Enable developer options to recover photos via USB connection to a PC.

Rooting gives recovery apps more access to deep-level data on Android file systems. But many scenarios allow non-destructive photo recovery without needing root privileges.

What photo recovery methods should be avoided?

Some attempted photo recovery methods for Android devices can make successful recovery less likely and even cause further data loss. Avoid these actions:

  • Factory reset – Resetting permanently erases all data on internal storage.
  • Rooting – Without proper care, rooting can corrupt the file system.
  • DIY hardware repair – Attempting hardware fixes without training risks damaging components.
  • Unreliable apps – Stick to well-reviewed recovery apps from trustworthy developers.
  • Saving new data – Taking photos or installing apps will overwrite deleted files.

Research thoroughly before attempting any intensive recovery methods. Seeking professional assistance can be the safest option to avoid destruction of valuable photo data.

Can photos be recovered after a system restore?

If you have performed a system restore or rolled back your Android to an earlier version, recovering lost photos depends mainly on where they were stored:

  • Internal storage – Photos only saved internally will likely be permanently deleted after system restore.
  • SD card – Photos stored on external SD card have a good chance of surviving system restore.
  • Cloud backups – Restoring photos from cloud services is possible if backup was enabled.

To maximize restore chances, use cloud backup services for photos and store them on external SD rather than internal storage. Regularly back up important photos before attempting any system restore.

What are some common photo recovery mistakes to avoid?

Some common mistakes that hurt the chances of recovering lost photos on Android include:

  • Not acting quickly – Greater risk of permanent data loss over time.
  • Letting phone run out of battery – Total discharge can cause storage errors.
  • Restoring device from backup – Erases missing photo data instead of recovering it.
  • Taking new photos – May overwrite portions of lost photo data.
  • Using devices with issues – Continued use of corrupt or damaged phones worsens problems.

Move fast, avoid phone use and charge the battery after data loss. Research recovery methods before applying them to avoid destruction of missing files. Seek professional help rather than experimenting on your own.

Is it worth paying for Android photo recovery services?

Paying for professional Android photo recovery services can be worth it in certain situations when free methods are unsuccessful. Consider paid options if:

  • Large number of irreplaceable photos lost
  • Highly encrypted device blocking access to data
  • Physical damage like water exposure or cracked screens
  • Failed software DIY recovery attempts
  • Need help from qualified data recovery experts

Research companies thoroughly and understand the costs involved before choosing paid recovery services. Reputable providers can often recover photos when free options have failed, but fees can be hundreds or thousands of dollars.


Recovering lost and deleted photos from your Android device is often possible with the right tools and techniques. Act swiftly after data loss, avoid continued phone use, and leverage data recovery apps, cloud backups, and professional assistance when needed. With persistence and care, you can hopefully rescue those precious photo memories, even when all seems lost.