Is there a free recovery app for Android?

Losing important files and data on your Android device can be frustrating. Whether it’s photos, messages, or documents, most Android users have experienced the sinking feeling of realizing something is gone for good. The good news is that with the right Android data recovery app, it may be possible to get your files back. So is there really a free recovery app for Android that works?

What causes data loss on Android devices?

There are several common reasons files can become lost or deleted on an Android device:

  • Accidental deletion – This is one of the most common reasons. You may have meant to delete one photo but ended up deleting an entire folder by mistake.
  • System crashes – If your phone experiences an unexpected crash or reboot, you could lose unsaved data.
  • ROM flashes – Flashing a new ROM or custom OS can sometimes cause data loss.
  • Hardware damage – Physical damage to your device like a broken screen can result in data loss.
  • Viruses or malware – Malicious software can corrupt or delete files.
  • Forgotten passwords – If you forget your lock screen password, you may be locked out from your data.

The end result is the same – important personal data suddenly becomes inaccessible. This is where data recovery apps come in handy.

Do free data recovery apps for Android actually work?

There are absolutely free data recovery apps available for Android. However, most experts agree that the free versions should be avoided for anything beyond minor, accidental deletes. Here’s why:

  • Limited features – Free apps severely limit how much data you can recover, either by file size or number of files.
  • Lower success rates – Paid recovery apps generally have much higher success rates for recovering files. The free versions often can’t recover more than basic files.
  • No support – Most free apps offer little to no customer support if you get stuck or have issues.
  • Time limits – Some free apps only let you scan your device once or have strict time limits.
  • Ads – Annoying banner and video ads often clutter the app interface.

For all of these reasons, free data recovery apps are best suited for quick, small scale jobs. But if you’ve lost substantial data or entire folders, most experts recommend turning to a paid professional app instead.

The best free Android data recovery apps

While their capabilities are limited compared to paid versions, the following free apps can potentially help recover recently deleted files:

1. DiskDigger

  • Completely free with no limits on scans or files.
  • Easy to use interface and recovery wizard.
  • Recovers common image, video, and document files.
  • Grade: Good for recovering recently deleted files.

2. Dumpster Recovery

  • Recovers data from Android’s recycle bin.
  • Allows previewing files before recovery.
  • Has free and paid versions with expanded features.
  • Grade: Good for quickly finding recently deleted files.

3. GT Recovery

  • Claims to recover unlimited data for free.
  • Has different modes for hard recovery and quick recovery.
  • Supports both internal storage and SD card recovery.
  • Grade: Worth trying, but has some poor reviews.

Top paid recovery apps

For best results recovering substantial lost data, files, or media, experts recommend turning to a paid recovery app. Here are some top options:

1. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

  • One of the top-rated Android recovery apps.
  • Full support for recovering lost and deleted files.
  • Easy “wizard” interface ideal for beginners.
  • Grade: Excellent results across lost file types.

2. Stellar Data Recovery

  • Uses advanced scanning algorithms for in-depth recovery.
  • Recovers from hard drive or memory card.
  • Previews found files before recovery.
  • Grade: Fast full recovery capabilities.

3. Disk Drill

  • Free trial available to test recovery.
  • Undeletes fully wiped files and reconstructs RAID drives.
  • Has proprietary Recovery Vault to protect data.
  • Grade: Advanced features and great for advanced users.
Recovery App Price Key Features
EaseUS $69.95 Wizard interface, recovers media files, easy for beginners
Stellar $49.99 Fast deep scanning, previews files, recovers from SD cards
Disk Drill $89.00 Advanced scanning, reconstructs lost RAID drives, free trial available

Factors to consider when choosing a recovery app

Here are some key factors to weigh when choosing the right recovery app for your needs:

  • File types needed – Know what types of files need recovering such as messages, documents, or photos.
  • Ease of use – Some apps are designed for beginners while others have advanced options.
  • Device compatibility – Make sure the app works with your model of Android device.
  • Cost – Paid apps can cost anywhere from $40 to over $100 depending on features.
  • Reviews – Check professional sites and app store reviews to evaluate quality.
  • Customer support – Paid apps should have solid technical support in case issues arise.

Taking the time to weigh these factors will ensure you choose the right recovery app for your particular situation.

Tips for preventing data loss on Android

Using recovery apps can help get back lost files whenever issues arise. But prevention is always better than needing to recover files. Here are some tips to avoid data loss in the first place:

  • Back up your device regularly to the cloud or external storage.
  • Double check before deleting anything permanently.
  • Install OS and security updates promptly.
  • Avoid unstable apps that may crash your system.
  • Don’t overload your device’s storage capacity.
  • Encrypt sensitive data whenever possible.
  • Physically protect your device from damage.

Create regular backups

The single most effective thing you can do is create regular backups of your device. Android gives you multiple backup options including:

  • Backing up to the cloud using your Google account.
  • Connecting to a computer and using ADB for local backups.
  • Using third party backup tools.
  • Copying files manually to a memory card or external USB drive.

Set a reminder to backup your device every week or two. Having those backups can make recovery much simpler if you ever lose your files or have to reset your device.

Avoid unstable apps

One common cause of Android crashing is downloading shady apps from unknown sources. When possible only download apps from the Google Play Store. Check reviews and ratings to ensure the app is stable. Avoid questionable apps that require excessive permissions or seem poorly developed.

Watch your storage space

Letting your phone’s internal storage become completely full can cause instability and data corruption. Make a habit of clearing out unneeded files every so often to free up space. Also move files like photos and videos to a memory card if available.

Recovering data from a damaged or broken Android device

If your Android phone or tablet is physically damaged, recovering the data gets more complicated. Typical damage like cracked screens shouldn’t impact data recovery. But if the internal storage itself is damaged, professional help may be needed.

Troubleshoot basic phone issues

If the device powers on normally but the screen is cracked or digitizer broken, connecting it to a computer with a USB cable may allow file transfer. You can also use ADB commands to backup files to a PC. For instructions:

Android Police Guide – Back up files on broken screen phones with ADB backup

The key is getting past any screen lock passwords. On some damaged devices this may not be possible if USB debugging was not already enabled.

Repair physical phone damage

For hardware issues like a damaged sd card slot or USB port, repair shops can sometimes fix the physical connection issues while leaving the storage untouched. However, take care in selecting a reputable repair shop that knows how to avoid further data loss.

Use a data recovery service

For catastrophic physical damage like a smashed device, professional data recovery services may be able to salvage the memory chip itself to extract files. Costs range from $300 up to $1000+ depending on damage. No guarantee of success either, but for critical personal data, it may be worth the high costs for even a chance of recovery.

Fields like forensic data recovery have advanced the technology and techniques for rescuing files off damaged devices. But there are still no guarantees.

Recovering lost data from a stolen Android device

Having your Android phone or tablet stolen can be even more stressful than physical damage. Without physical access to the device, your options are more limited. But there are still a few things you can try.

  • Use Android Device Manager to locate, lock, or wipe your device remotely.
  • Check if you have a previous device backup to restore.
  • If you have theft tracking activated through your carrier, notify them immediately to help tracking and recovery.
  • File a police report as soon as possible to increase chances of getting the device back.

Unfortunately there are also fewer options if the thief wipes your device or the tracking leads nowhere. But still try every avenue since getting locked out from stolen devices is all too common.

Professional data recovery services

For catastrophic data loss situations, or crimes involving a stolen device, enlisting professional recovery services may provide the best chance of retrieving lost files. Options include:

CERT-PRO Data Recovery Services

  • Free evaluation and analysis
  • Clean room facilities and data rescue labs
  • Retrieve data from damaged hardware
  • Specializes in forensic data recovery

Secure Data Recovery Services

  • Free shipping both directions
  • Class 100 clean room environment
  • Guaranteed results or no charge
  • Rush services available for urgent cases


  • 30+ years experience with reputable brands
  • Free inbound shipping
  • Remote support options available
  • Customized recovery solutions

While pricey, these professional recovery labs are specially equipped to rescue data from severely damaged or corrupted storage devices. They can also assist law enforcement in forensic data recovery for criminal cases. This level of service gives you the best chance of getting back lost files when standard recovery apps won’t suffice.


Losing personal photos, messages, documents and other irreplaceable data is one of the most frustrating experiences for Android users. While free recovery apps exist, they have severe limitations compared to paid professional software or services. Carefully research options using this guide if you ever suffer major data loss or device damage. And investing in regular backups can help avoid or minimize the damage in the first place.