How to recover deleted files and photos on Android and iOS

It's not a good feeling to realize that you accidentally deleted an important photo or document from your phone. Maybe you selected the wrong file, or you clicked the wrong button, but it's easy to do, and it's not a mistake you'll always notice right away.

The good news is that Android, iOS, and the apps that run on them now have safety nets built into them. There's a good chance you'll be able to get your deleted data back — it's just a matter of knowing where to look, depending on the app you used to delete it.

If you can't get your files back using the methods we describe below, then you'll have to dig deeper - perhaps a backup of your phone (which you should set up in case your phone is lost or stolen).

Google Photos (Android and iOS)

If you use Google Photos to manage photos and videos on your phone, open the Gallery tab and click the Trash folder. Click the file, then click Recover to undelete; or, press and hold a file, select multiple items, and click Recover . Google Photos keeps deleted photos and videos in the Trash folder for 60 days before deleting them completely.

Apple Photos (iOS)

Deleted files can be found in the iPhone's default Photos and Videos apps by going to Album , then Recently Deleted . Here, deleted files will be retained for approximately 40 days (you can see the remaining days for each item). Click on a photo or video and select "Recover" to recover them, or use the "Select" button to select multiple items to recover at once.

Samsung Gallery (Android)

If you use the Samsung Gallery app on your Galaxy phone to manage your photos and videos, open the app and tap the three horizontal lines (lower right corner), then select Recycle Bin to view and recover your files. You may also see photos and videos deleted by third-party apps here, depending on how you set up the integration on your phone.

Google Docs(Android)

In the default file manager on Android, tap the three horizontal lines (top left corner), then tap Trash . Any files sent here will be retained for 30 days before being completely deleted, and they will be listed in groups based on when they were originally deleted. To restore any deleted files to their original location, select them and click "Recover" .

My files (Android)

If you have a Samsung Galaxy phone, you probably use My Files instead of Google Docs to manage your locally stored data. Open the app and you'll see a Recycle Bin link on the front screen for viewing and recovering files - as with the Gallery app, you may see files deleted by other apps here, depending on the file type and sync options.

Files (iOS)

If you deleted something from your iPhone, you may find it in the iOS Files app up to 30 days later: Open the Browse tab and tap Recently Deleted to view and recover the files. Note that the Files app can also manage your various cloud storage accounts (such as iCloud), so there may be some crossover with the other options mentioned here.

Google Drive (Android and iOS)

Any files deleted from or synced to Google Drive can be restored within 30 days: Inside the mobile app, tap the three horizontal lines (top left corner), then tap Trash . You can browse these files just like any other Google Drive folder, and if you click the three dots to the right of any listed file, the "Recover" option will appear.

iCloud Cloud Drive(iOS)

If you use iCloud Drive in addition to the Files app on iOS, you'll have extra protection if you accidentally delete something. You can get your deleted files from the Browse tab in the Files app as above, or from iCloud Drive on the web - just click on Recents in the left side panel Just delete" .

Other apps (Android and iOS)

If you use some kind of cloud-based storage alongside your phone, you should have an undelete feature you can rely on. For example, Dropbox retains deleted files for 30 days (longer on paid plans), but you need to go to the desktop web interface to find them: click "Deleted Files" in the left pane to see a list of files , and then they will come back if needed.

Microsoft OneDrive also has a built-in safety net to work with, called (you guessed it) the Recycle Bin. In the mobile app, tap Me and then Trash to view files recently erased from your OneDrive account. To restore any of them to their original position, click on the three dots (on the right) and then click Restore .