How to Retrieve Deleted Photos on Samsung Android Phone

“Snap & share,” or “Snap & delete.”?

Sometimes, our fingers are antsy when reviewing our photos, and we immediately tap the trash icon to get rid of the pictures from our sight. Occasionally, we instantly regret erasing our images, and we frantically try to get them back. Only to feel defeated after looking into every picture album on our phone and not finding the ones we need.

We’ve all been in this situation. The objective of this how-to guide is to help you retrieve deleted photos on Samsung Android phone. This article applies to any Android smartphones, such as from Google, LG, Motorola, or Huawei.

There are three possible scenarios under which the solution to your problem may exist. We’ll go over them one by one, beginning with the most basic fix.

Scenario 1. You use Google Photos App

If you use Google Photos as your default photo app, then you can recover your deleted photos if

  • it hasn’t been more than 60 days since the photo deletion,
  • you have not emptied the Photos Trash folder, or
  • you’ve not permanently deleted your photos manually.

When you delete your photos in Google Photos, they are temporarily kept in the Trash folder for 60 days. The Trash folder in Google Photos is like the Trash folder in Mac or Recycle Bin in Windows.

The advantage of the Google Photos app over the Gallery app is that Google Photo allows you to save or backup your photos and videos to the Google online cloud storage seamlessly. Additionally, for pics having up to the max resolution of 16 MP, you get the unlimited free cloud storage from Google. However, you’ve to make sure that the Upload Size is set as High quality to avoid any limited cloud space. Moreover, you can access your image files from your computer by going to Google Photo Drive. Google Photos app is available on App Store for iPhone and iPad.

How to Recover Deleted photos from Google Photos

Step 1. Open Google Photos app on your smartphone.

Step 2. Tap the Menu icon (triple bars) on the top left and then select Trash.

Google Photos Recover from Trash Folder

Step 3. You will see deleted photos or videos in this folder from the last 60 days. Touch and hold the image thumbnails to select them.

Google Photos Retrieve Deleted photos from Trash

Step 4. Hit Restore at the bottom to retrieve back the selected photos.

How to Enable High Quality Size upload for Google Photos App

Step 1. Open Photos app on your Android phone

Step 2. Tap the Menu icon (triple bars) on the top left and then select Settings

Step 3. Touch to select Back up & sync

Step 4. Under Upload Size, select High Quality (free unlimited storage). Selecting Original size will give you only limited storage space for your photographs.

How to Enable High Quality Photo upload in Google Photos app
How to Enable High Quality Photo upload in Google Photos app

Scenario 2. You use Gallery app and in-phone memory

If you use Android’s native Gallery app as your default photo app with the phone ROM memory as the storage location and you unintentionally wiped out your photos, then you’ll have to use a third-party utility app from Google Play Store to recover your images. This is because the Gallery app does not keep a local cache of the recently erased image files.

When you delete a photo from your phone, you do not see the pic in the Gallery album, but it is still in the phone memory. It is merely marked for deletion. Do keep in mind that the disk space occupied by an image file that is marked for deletion is open for a write operation for any Android app or system process. So this method may not work if the ROM space occupied by the photos is already overwritten.

You can still check to see if the images are recoverable with this method. Time is of the essence, however. So Waste none after you’ve accidentally deleted your photos. Especially do not take any new pictures or videos so that you have a better chance of getting back your pics.

There are many photo recovery apps available in the Google Play Store. For this article, we’re using Diskdigger app. It is a simple yet powerful data recovery tool with over 50 million downloads. The best part is that the photo recovery feature is free to use.

You can get DiskDigger app on Google Play Store or here.

If your Android phone is not rooted, then you may only recover the low-resolution thumbnail version of your photos. A full Scan of your device is available only when your smartphone is rooted. However, be mindful that rooting your phone may void any manufacturer warranty. For this article, we’ll go over the unrooted version of this method which does the Basic Photo Scan. If your phone is rooted, the process of photo retrieval is similar.

Step 1. With the DiskDigger app installed on your smartphone, open the app

Step 2. Tap on Start Basic Photo Scan under BASIC SCAN (NO ROOT)

Diskdigger Basic Search

Step 3. The app will search for deleted photos on your phone and show the thumbnail of the images. This process may take a few minutes. Select the checkbox over the image thumbnails that you want to recover back.

Diskdigger Select Thumbnails

Step 4. Hit Recover on top. The recommended places to save the photos are what is available when you try to share a document with your Android phone. For instance, Google Drive works like a charm for image retrieval. Additionally, you have an option to save your picture files in a custom location on your phone or an FTP server. If you’re only recovering your image files from your phone as opposed to getting back your SMS messages, Call records, or other document types, then you may ignore the popup message to upgrade to the pro version of this app.

Scenario 3. You use Gallery App and micro-SD Memory Storage

If you’ve set your default photo storage location as an SD card on your phone, then you can use a data recovery software for Mac or Windows to get back your deleted images. You have a better chance of getting back your deleted files on an external storage card than your internal phone memory because the number of write operations on external storage is much less than on the phone ROM memory. However, if you’ve taken new photographs or videos since you deleted your pictures, then the memory space occupied by those pictures may be overwritten by any new files.

We tried several photo recovery software available, but most of them have very restrictive options when it comes to the free or trial version. Many of these free data recovery software only let us scan our microSD card and view the deleted images, but not get back those picture files. However, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard lets you restore your deleted pictures with the free version. There is a catch though. You can only recover the first 500 MB of data from a storage device. You can get an additional 1.5 GB of data recovery free if you share about the software in your online social network. 2 GB is an ample size to recover a good number of deleted image files.

Step 1. Download and install a copy of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your computer

Step 2. Unmount the microSD card in your phone and remove it from your phone. Place the microSD card in a microSD card reader and insert in a USB port or SD card reader on your computer. Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

Step 3. Select the removable storage device from the list of drives under External Devices. The drive name may be different in your case. Click Scan to being the scanning process of the microSD card. Depending upon your microSD card capacity, it may take a few minutes to complete the scanning.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Choose microSD Drive

Step 4. Click on Deleted files folder on the left hand side. Go to DCIM folder and then to the Camera folder.

EaseUS Recovery Wizard DCIM

Step 5. Click the thumbnail view on the top-right to preview the recoverable images. Thumbnail view is helpful in recognizing the photos you are looking for instead of the filename view.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard preview

Step 6. click to select the photographs you’d like to retrieve and then hit Recover on the lower right corner of the wizard. You could mention where you’d want to save the recovered images on your computer.

There you have it. Your deleted photos back to you.

Some Helpful Suggestions on not losing your pictures again

  • Be sure to enable the backup feature on your Android phone. Google lets you back up your app data, Wi-Fi passwords, and other settings to Google servers. There are many third-party apps in Play Store that let you backup not only your documents but also your SMS messages, call records, contacts, or calendar.
  • You can use the Google Photos app for your pictures and videos on your Android smartphone. Make sure that you’ve enabled the automatic backup of your files to the Google cloud storage. If you use the High Quality storage for your photos and videos which is more than enough because the max photo resolution is 16 MP and the max video res is 1080p full HD, then you don’t have to pay for the media storage with Google. This is unlike Apple’s iCloud storage in which you get 5 GB of space for free, and beyond that, you need to subscribe to their paid storage.
  • Use Google Drive to manually save your important files from your phone. Google Drive is cloud-based online storage from Google, and you get several GBs of storage for free. The best part is that you can access Google Drive from anywhere and on any devices like Mac, PC, iPhone, or iPad.

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