How to recover deleted files from Android

You’ve accidentally deleted photos from your Android Smartphone and now you do not know how to recover them? Do not panic. There are applications that allow you to recover deleted files from Android using the phone directly or by connecting the device to the PC. But be careful, do not expect them to perform miracles: like all solutions of this type, even the software I’m about to talk to you are effective only if the portion of memory that previously hosted the data has not yet been overwritten, ie if it has not yet been used to store new files.

Another important point to make is that most of the data recovery apps require the presence of an unlocked Android system and then submitted to the root procedure. If you do not know what I’m talking about, try taking a look at my guide on how to root on Android.

So, are you ready to start? Find all the applications, and especially the directions, you need below. Take five minutes of free time, try to put into practice the suggestions I am about to give you, and some results you should be able to bring home. Good luck for the recovery of your data!

DiskDigger Android Data Recovery Tool


DiskDigger -Android Data Recovery Tool

Without all the necessary premises of the case, I would say that you are ready to find out how to recover deleted files from Android. Then let me introduce you DiskDigger . It is an application that allows you to recover photos, videos, audio files and other types of files deleted from memory and/or memory cards inserted in Android phones. It is available in a free basic version that allows you to restore only photos in JPG and PNG and videos in MP4, M4V, M4A, 3GP and MOV formats and a paid version that costs 3.37 euros and allows you to recover even music files, images RAW, Office documents, PDFs, ZIP packages and APK applications.

To recover deleted files from your smartphone / tablet with DiskDigger, start the application and allow its execution with root permissions responding affirmatively to the warning that appears on the screen (eg  Request Superuser ), then presses on  No, thanks to continue using the free version of the application and select the memory unit from which you want to recover the files (it should be the larger one).

At this point, select the  partition to be scanned (should be bold), put the check mark next to the types of files to find (in the free version of DiskDigger you can only select photos in JPG and PNG format) and start the search for all data available for recovery by pressing the OK button  .

At the end of the scan (whose duration depends on the size of the selected unit), locate the files to be recovered and presses on their names to display a preview. Then put the check mark next to their thumbnails, presses the Recover button   located at the top left and select the destination where you want to export data: by pressing the cloud  icon  you can save the files on a cloud storage service or you can auto-send them by email (recommended), by selecting the folder icon  you can export the data to a folder on the phone, while selecting the  arrow you can upload the data to an FTP server.

Note: the preview is only displayed for some file types (eg photos), furthermore elements such as ZIP archives and APK packages are shown without their original names (they are all called sector xx ). Unfortunately, when the preview function does not work you have to make several attempts to find the right ones.

PhotoRec (Windows / Mac / Linux)

If your Android smartphone allows memory expansion via microSD cards and files that you have accidentally deleted were on the memory card, you can also contact  PhotoRec . It is a free application for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux (so for computers) that allows you to recover files from SD cards and other removable memories. Supplied in pairs with TestDisk, another free software that allows you to recover lost partitions and make damaged disks bootable again, but for now, we are only interested in PhotoRec.

Step 1- To download PhotoRec on your PC, connect to its official website and click on the Windows entry under the heading  TestDisk & PhotoRec 7.0. When the download is complete, insert the microSD of your smartphone/tablet into the PC, open the zip archive containing PhotoRec, extract the contents in any folder and run the executable qphotorec_win.exe.

Step 2- In the window that opens, expand the drop-down menu located at the top, select the unit related to the microSD of your smartphone/tablet and click on its primary partition (it should be the one called FAT32, FAT16  or  exFAT ). Then check the next to the  FAT / NTFS / HFS + / ReiferFS and Free entries, click on the Browse button and select the folder in which to export the files that you will retrieve from the card.

Step 3-Now you have to choose the types of files to be recovered from the microSD. Then click on the button  File  formats , reset the default selection by pressing the Reset button   and put the check mark only next to the items related to the types of files you want to recover from the microSD, for example mov (mov / mp4 / 3gp / 3g2 / jp2)  for videos and JPG or PNG for photos.

Step 4-To finish, click on the OK  and  Search buttons, wait for the recovery of the deleted files to be completed and open the folder you have previously selected (using the “Browse” button) to discover all the documents retrieved by PhotoRec.

Note:  theoretically, you could also recover files from the memory of a device that does not support SD cards. To do this you need to create an image of thsmartphone/tablet’s’s internal memory, convert it to VHD format and feed it to PhotoRec. It is not an action for everyone, but if you have a friend “smanettone” and the advice to read this tutorial in English you could succeed in this attempt.

WonderShare Dr. Fone (Windows / Mac)

If your smartphone does not allow the use of microSD cards, you can try to  recover deleted files from Android  with  Wondershare Dr.Fone : it is a commercial software for Windows and OS X that allows you to recover files, contacts and SMS from all the main smartphones Android extremely quickly and easily. It costs about 60 euros but is available in a free trial version that allows you to test its effectiveness (without recovering the files found).

To download it to your PC, connected to the program’s website and click on the Download Trial button. When the download is complete, open the file DrFoneForAndroid.exe  and click on the Yes button.

Now you have to connect your Android phone to the PC, but before doing so make sure that the USB debugging function is enabled (in Settings> Development Options ) and that there is at least 20% of battery power. If you do not find the Development Options item   in the Android settings menu, make it appear by selecting  Info on your phone  and pressing the Build Number button for seven consecutive times.

Once the phone is connected to the computer, authorize Dr. Fone on Android by pressing OK and Grant buttons . Then select the types of files you want to recover (eg Video , Messages , Gallery ,  Documents,  etc.), go Next , accept the execution of Dr. Fone with root permissions (pressing the Concede button that appears on the phone screen ) and wait for the device scan to complete.

After scanning, browse the contents available for recovery from the left sidebar (eg Contacts ,  Messages ,  Video etc.), put the check mark next to the items to be restored and click on the Recover button to start their recovery (operation available only in the paid version of the software).

At the end of the restore operations, I advise you to delete the Dr. Fone app from your smartphone (at least until you need it again and you can install it via the PC application). To do this, go to the Settings menu  > Android Apps, select  Dr Fone for Android and presses the Uninstall button  in the window that opens.

Other useful tips

To conclude, I would like to give you some small common sense tips. Some will certainly appear trivial, but I guarantee that in the daily use of an Android terminal can make the difference and prevent situations like the one you are in now (with deleted and difficult to recover files).

1.Make a regular backup of all data on your device, both offline and online. I explained how to do it in my tutorial on how to make Android backups .

  1. Use a file manager like ES File Manager to manage your files. In this way, even deleting files, you will have the possibility to recover them from the trash included in the application (more precisely from the side menu that appears by pressing on the hamburger icon located at the top left).

3. Use Google Photos to manage and store photos and videos. Thanks to Google Photos you can have a free and unlimited backup of all your photos (up to a resolution of 16MP) and your videos (up to a resolution of 1080p) on Google Drive and, in case of erroneous cancellation, you can recover your file going to the application trash (accessible from the side menu that appears by pressing the hamburger icon located at the top left).