In this world of limited memory space and unlimited data to store, it may happen that to make space for something valuable one is cleaning up invaluable photos and videos and accidentally selects important files and deletes them! Or it may happen that the phone or tablet could be under a virus attack or even the memory cards can get corrupted. Occurrence of such situations has become common these days and thus the need of different data recovery techniques has increased.

How to Recover Deleted Pictures/Videos from Android Phone/Tablet

The techniques to recover lost photos and videos on an android phone or tablet or rather any android device can be broadly classified into 3 types:

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Technique 1: Google Photos

Nowadays all high end phones and tablets and most mid-range phones like the phones by Motorola, Lenovo etc have Google Photos as their alternative for a gallery. Many feel the need of a proper gallery, but Google Photos which serves the purpose of a gallery too is the best software to keep ones precious photos and videos.  Google Photos has an option of “Backup” where all the photos and videos are automatically backed up on Google Drive and thus one can delete the device copies and can still view them in their device albums in Google Photos without them consuming any memory space. If they are required again in offline mode, one can retrieve them from Google Drive.

Also Google Photos has this option of “Trashwhere all the deleted photos and videos are available for retrieval for 60 days since last deleted.

The use of Google Photos is highly recommended as it is a hassle-free and free of cost application and can be downloaded and installed on any android device.

Technique 2: Use of Computer Program

 There are many software’s that run on a computer which can be used to recover deleted photos and videos on android. Some of them are Wondershare, Data Recovery from Gutensoft, DDR Data Recovery Software etc. The steps to use these or any other recovery software are same and as follows:

Step 1: Download the free version of the software from the internet on the computer and install it.

There are paid versions available too and it completely depends on the usage and the data recovery requirements of the user.

Step 2: Connect the android device to the computer using an USB cable.

Do note that the retrieval of the photos and videos should be done as soon as possible after deletion as the deleted data is present on the ROM for some while until it is written over by some other data. This writing over the deleted files cannot be controlled and there is no definite way to find out time period over which it will be done. Hence being quick is the best solution!

Step 3: Switch on USB Debugging

This is the most important step. For phones with android version lower than 4.2 (Jelly Bean), to switch on USB Debugging one will have to go into “Settings” and then find “Developer Options” just above “About Phone”. Select USB Debugging option and exit the Settings menu. Figure 1: Enabling USB Debugging in Devices with Android Version lower than 4.2 (Jelly Bean)

For phones with android version 4.2(Jelly Bean) or above like 4.4 (KitKat), 5 (Lollipop), 6 (Marshmallow) and 7 (Nougat) to switch on USB debugging one will have to go to into “Settings” and then go into “About Phone”. Right in the bottom one will find “Build Number”. Tap on it multiple times i.e. at least 7 times to switch on “Developer Options” which is indicated by a message “You are a Developer”. Find “Developer Options” in the main Settings menu again above “About Phone” and in it select USB Debugging and exit.

Figure 2.a: Enabling Developer Options in Devices with Android Version 5(Lollipop) and above.

Figure 2.b: Enabling USB Debugging in Devices with Android Version 5(Lollipop) and above


Step 4: Launch the application on the computer. Find the connected device and select the types of files to be recovered.

Thus the selected files will be recovered and one can select which photos and videos to retrieve. The selected data will be saved on the computer for future use for the user.

The most important highlight of this technique is that even though the user has to be quick to start the recovery process, this technique can be used for devices which are not rooted.

Technique 3: Use of Mobile Application

If the android device is rooted then an alternative to using a computer program to recover deleted photos and videos is a mobile application. There are many such applications like Undelete Beta, MyJad Android Data Recovery, Data Recovery, Dr. Fone by WonderShare etc. These applications are available on Google Play Store for downloading at free of cost. One can also download an .apk file and install it on the device later.

Using a  android mobile application is easy as once a photo or video is required to be recovered one just has to launch this application and select the file type to be recovered. The application initially checks if the device is rooted and if not then it notifies the user that it cannot function further without rooting the device. For rooted devices the user has to select the file types and the application scans through the memory and recovers the data. The user can select which files are to be retrieved and saved for future use.

Both the computer and mobile applications scan through the internal storage of the device as well as through the memory card if it is present for data recovery.

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Being the electronic age anything can happen to any device at any time maybe it be physical hardware issue or software damage. The best practice to avoid data loss and any circumstances for data recovery is to carry out a regular data backup procedure on an external storage device. Thus securing all the important photos and videos permanently!