How to Recover Deleted Files from Android

Have you accidentally deleted photos from your Android smartphone and now you don't know how to recover them? Don't panic. There are applications that allow you to recover deleted files from Android using the phone directly or connecting the device to the PC. But be careful, do not expect them to work miracles: like all solutions of this type, even the software I am about to tell you about are effective only if the portion of memory that previously hosted the data has not yet been overwritten, that is, if it has not yet been used to archive new files.

Another important clarification to make is that most of the data recovery apps require the presence of an unlocked Android system, then subjected to the root procedure. If you don't know what I'm talking about, try taking a look at my guide on how to root Android.

So, are you ready to go? Find all the applications, and above all the information, you need below. Take five minutes of free time, try to put into practice the suggestions I'm about to give you and some results you should be able to take home. Good luck in recovering your data!

DiskDigger (Android)

Having made all the necessary premises of the case, I would say that you are ready to find out how to recover deleted files from android. So let me introduce you to DiskDigger. It is an application that allows you to recover photos, videos, audio files and other types of files deleted from the memory and / or memory cards inserted in Android phones. It comes 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 music files, images as well RAW, Office documents, PDFs, ZIP packages and applications in APK format.

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

At this point, select the partition to be scanned (it should be the one in 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 the data available for recovery pressing the button OK.

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

Please note: the preview is displayed only for certain types of files (e.g. photos), also items such as ZIP archives and APK packages are shown without their original names (they are all called sector xx). Unfortunately when the preview function doesn't 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 the files you accidentally deleted were on the memory card, you can also contact PhotoRec. It is a free application for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux (therefore for computers) that allows you to recover files from SD cards and other removable memories. It comes paired with TestDisk, another free software that allows you to recover lost partitions and make damaged disks bootable again, but for the moment we're only interested in PhotoRec.

To download PhotoRec on your PC, connect to its official website and click on the item Windows found under the heading TestDisk & PhotoRec 7.0. When the download is complete, insert the microSD of your smartphone / tablet into the PC, open thezip archive which contains PhotoRec, extract the contents to any folder and run the executable qphotorec_win.exe.

In the window that opens, expand the drop-down menu located at the top, select the drive relating to the microSD of your smartphone / tablet and click on its primary partition (it should be the one named FAT32FAT16 o exFAT). Then put the check mark next to the items FAT / NTFS / HFS + / ReiferFS e Freeclick on your button KATEGORIEN and select the folder where to export the files you will recover from the card.

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

Finally, click on the buttons OK Search, wait for the recovery of deleted files to be completed and open the folder you selected previously (using the "Browse" button) to discover all the documents recovered by PhotoRec.

Please note: theoretically, you could also recover files from the memory of a device without SD card support. To do this, you need to create an image of the internal memory of the smartphone / tablet, convert it to VHD format and give it “to feed” to PhotoRec. It is not an operation for everyone, but if you have a "geek" friend and you advise him to read this tutorial in English you could also succeed in this attempt.

WonderShare Dr. Fone (Windows / Mac)

If your smartphone doesn't allow the use of microSD cards, you can try recover deleted files from Android with Wondershare dr.fone: is a commercial software for Windows and OS X that allows you to recover files, contacts and SMS from all major Android smartphones in an extremely simple and fast way. It costs about 60 euros but is available in a free trial version that allows you to test its effectiveness (but without recovering the files found).

To download it to your PC, connect to the program's website and click on the button Download Trial. When the download is complete, open the file DrFoneForAndroid.exe and click on the button Yes, then select theItalian from the language selection menu and finish the setup by pressing on first OK and then Install e Ends.

Now you need to connect your Android phone to PC, but before doing this make sure the function USB debugging is active (in Settings> Develop Options) and that there is at least 20% battery charge. If you don't find the item Development options in the Android settings menu, make it appear by selecting the wording Info on the phone e pigging your pulse Build number seven consecutive times.

Once the phone is connected to the computer, authorize Dr. Fone on Android by pressing the buttons OK e Conceded. Then select the file types you want to recover (eg. Video, Messages, GalleryDocuments etc.), go forward, accept the execution of Dr. Fone with root permissions (by pressing the button Conceded that appears on the phone screen) and wait for the device scan to be completed.

Once the scan is complete, browse the contents available for recovery from the left sidebar (eg. ContactsMessagesVideo etc.), put the check mark next to the items to restore and click on the button Recover to start their recovery (operation available only in the paid version of the software).

At the end of the restore operations, I recommend that you 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 menu Impostazioni> App of Android, select Dr Fone for Android and presses the button Uninstall present in the window that opens.

Other Useful Tips

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

  • Make a regular backup of all the data on your device, both offline and online. I explained how in my tutorial on how to make Android backups.
  • 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 basket included in the application (more precisely from the side menu that appears by pressing onhamburger icon located at the top left).
  • Use Google Photos to manage and store photos and videos. Thanks to Google Photos you will be able to 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 mistaken deletions, you can recover your file by going to the basket of the application (accessible from the side menu that appears by pressing onhamburger icon located at the top left).