How do I retrieve permanently deleted photos from my Samsung phone?

If you have accidentally deleted photos from your Samsung phone and emptied the trash, you may think those photos are gone forever. However, there are still ways to try and get those photos back.

Can You Recover Permanently Deleted Photos from a Samsung Phone?

Yes, it is possible to recover permanently deleted photos from a Samsung phone, but the chances of recovery depend on a few key factors:

  • Whether the phone storage was overwritten – If the deleted photos’ storage space has been overwritten with new data, it becomes much harder to recover them.
  • Time since deletion – The sooner you try to recover deleted photos, the better. As more new data is added, deleted data gets overwritten.
  • Recovery method used – Advanced data recovery software often yields better results than basic techniques.

So while completely guaranteeing recovery is difficult, in many cases at least some deleted photos can be retrieved from a Samsung phone if you act quickly and use the right recovery method.

How Does Permanent Deletion Work on Samsung Phones?

When you delete photos on a Samsung phone, they are not immediately erased from the storage. Instead, the space they occupied is marked as available to be overwritten by new data. This gives you a window of time to recover recently deleted photos.

However, if you empty the trash or use another permanent deletion method, the photos’ index entries are removed. The phone will now treat that space as free and may overwrite it. But the actual photo data may still be intact until it gets overwritten.

Best Methods to Recover Permanently Deleted Photos

Here are the most effective ways to recover permanently deleted photos from a Samsung phone:

Method 1: Restore from Google Photos Backup

If you had Google Photos backup enabled, your deleted photos may still be recoverable from the cloud. Open the Google Photos app and check the trash folder – deleted photos stay there for 60 days.

If the photos are not in trash, try searching Google Takeout for your photos. Just be sure to select the time period when you had the deleted photos.

Method 2: Retrieve from Samsung Cloud

Similarly, if you had Samsung Cloud backup set up, you can restore deleted photos from there. Open the Samsung Cloud website and look in the Recycle Bin for 60 days after deletion.

Or navigate to Gallery > Settings > Restore to find and restore deleted photos that were backed up.

Method 3: Recover Data Using Software

If cloud backup was not enabled, your best option is to use data recovery software. Software like FoneDog Android Data Recovery scans the phone’s storage and extracts recoverable photo data.

Follow these steps when using photo recovery software:

  1. Don’t save anything new to the phone to avoid overwriting deleted photos.
  2. Install and open the recovery software on a computer with your phone connected.
  3. Allow the software to scan the phone storage for recoverable media.
  4. Preview and select the photos you want to recover.
  5. Save the deleted photos to your computer.

Method 4: Try a Local Backup

If you recently connected your phone to a computer and had it create a backup, deleted photos may be salvageable from there.

Navigate to the backup files on your computer, often found in the phone manufacturer’s desktop software folder. Search for image files in the backup and see if you can recover anything useful.

Tips to Avoid Permanently Losing Photos

In addition to these recovery methods, following some best practices can help avoid permanent photo loss in the future:

  • Enable cloud backup services like Google Photos or Samsung Cloud.
  • Back up your phone regularly to a computer or external storage.
  • Use the Recycle Bin when deleting photos.
  • Avoid filling up all your phone’s storage.
  • Transfer important photos periodically to other devices or drives.

Can You Recover Photos Without Software?

It is possible but difficult to restore deleted photos without data recovery software. Software is the most efficient method. But you could try these basic approaches:

Restore Phone to Earlier State

If you quickly reset your phone to a restored state from an earlier backup, you may retrieve some deleted photos. But this also removes your current apps and settings.

Recover from Phone Storage

You can connect the phone storage to a computer and manually scan for image files, searching unallocated space for deleted data remnants. But this requires expertise.

Use a Local Backup

As mentioned before, manually looking through a recent local backup from your computer provides a photo recovery option without software.

Reasons Photos May Not Be Recoverable

While recovery is often possible, there are some reasons deleted photos may be unrecoverable from a Samsung phone:

  • Phone storage was encrypted – Encryption makes recovery extremely difficult.
  • Phone data was fully overwritten – New data writing over deleted photos reduces recoverability.
  • Physical phone damage – Any damage preventing storage access prohibits recovery.
  • Deletion occurred long ago – As time passes, chance of overwrite increases.
  • Incorrect recovery method – Choosing an ineffective approach lowers success rate.

So while you can hope to retrieve deleted photos under the right conditions, nothing is ever guaranteed. Acting quickly gives you the best shot.

Preparing Your Samsung Phone for Photo Recovery

To maximize your chances when recovering deleted photos, follow these tips to prepare your Samsung phone:

  1. Don’t Overwrite Storage: Avoid adding any new data like apps, photos or files.
  2. Disable Overwriting Features: Turn off auto-saving features like call recording.
  3. Close Unnecessary Apps: Close any apps that run in the background and write data.
  4. Update Software: Install latest OS and firmware updates before recovery.
  5. Allow Debugging Access: Enable USB debugging for fuller storage access.

Taking these steps first prevents your deleted photos from being overwritten while providing recovery tools their best access.

Does Resetting Phone Delete Everything Permanently?

Performing a factory reset or cache reset on your Samsung phone will indeed permanently delete almost all data, including photos. This is because:

  • A full factory reset wipes the phone back to default settings, removing your data.
  • Cache reset erases temporary storage used by apps and OS.
  • Resetting removes file indexes and marks storage as writable.
  • No protection against data overwriting after resetting.

So after a reset, your photos have no index traces and their storage sectors can be freely overwritten. This makes photo recovery nearly impossible.

How to Backup Photos Before Resetting Samsung

To preserve photos before resetting your Samsung device, be sure to backup using any of these methods:

  • Sync photos to cloud storage like Google Photos or Samsung Cloud.
  • Connect phone to computer and transfer photos to PC storage.
  • Move photos to external microSD card or USB drive.
  • Use backup software to create full phone data backup.

Backing up to multiple destinations provides redundancy. Test restoring some photos to confirm the backup process worked.

Does Factory Reset Remove Everything from SD Card?

Performing a factory reset on your Samsung phone deletes data from the built-in storage. But it generally will NOT remove files saved on an external microSD card.

This is because resetting reformats the phone’s internal drive only. The microSD card data and file structure remains intact.

However, be sure to remove your microSD card before resetting. On some Samsung models, having the card inserted during a reset may result in its accidental erasure.

So by removing the microSD card first, you can prevent losing its photos and files when factory resetting your phone.

Is There Any Way to Recover Photos after Factory Reset?

It can be very difficult to recover deleted photos after a factory reset, but there are a few possible ways to try:

  • Cloud Backup – Restore from Google Photos/Samsung Cloud if enabled.
  • Local Backup – Try to recover photos from a saved computer backup.
  • Files in Other Locations – Photos may exist on external SD card or drives.
  • Data Recovery Software – Specialized tools can find recoverable remnants left on the storage.

While challenging, some photos are recoverable if you act quickly before storage is overwritten and use appropriate recovery methods.


Permanently deleted photos can often be recovered from Samsung phones despite initial appearance. Enable backups regularly, act swiftly upon deletion, and leverage data recovery software for the greatest chance of retrieving photos. With some effort, you may be able to salvage photos even after deletion or factory resetting, but nothing is ever guaranteed. Ultimately, your best protection against permanent loss is prevention through diligent backups.

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