How to Recover Lost or Deleted Files on Android

How does it feel when you accidentally deleted a file that you worked hours on? Knowing that one of your important files has just been deleted because of a misclick, has to feel pretty bad right? Don’t stress, we are here to discuss how that problem can easily be solved. It’s like pressing Control+Z on a word document, and undoing everything, by the end of this guide, you’ll have adopted a pretty neat and useful trick on how you can recover your deleted files.

On the Windows Operating system, deleting a file usually doesn’t permanently delete the file. Most of the time when you highlight a file and click the delete key, it will just prompt you to move this file to the recycling bin, but the file, along with its entire capacity is still there. Nothing gets deleted, until you actually empty the recycling bin. Kind of like real life, the file is still salvageable. All you need to do is go into your recycling bin, highlight the file you accidentally deleted, and click restore and your file is back where it used to be, no big deal, nothing to stress about, But on Android, deleting files is an entirely different story. There is no recycling bin, whatever is deleted is deleted.

But that’s what most people think. You see, when files are deleted, the hard drive file system deletes the space occupied by the file, but not actually deleting the contents of the file. Kind of confusing and hard to understand, but you don’t need to understand it to do it. Your actual file is still cached on your storage, so there is still a chance to recover it, assuming you haven’t formatted your drive yet.

There are several ways to recover files; one method applies universally to both Desktop Operating systems, and Android. The other is an Android only method.

Method 1: Recuva

How to recover lost files on android device

Web known PC utility software developer Piriform, has a bunch of great and useful tools you might be able to take advantage of. Most known for their cleaning software, CCLEANER, they also have other applications that you can use, such as Recuva, which we will be using in this method as an example for how to recover your lost files. First things first, take your Android device and connect it to your Computer/Laptop (make sure the device is listed in Mass storage or MTP). Have Recuva downloaded and installed, and go ahead and open it up. (Recuva has a free or paid version, depending on how far you’re willing to go with file recovery.)

Before we begin any file recovery, this may or may not corrupt your system’s internal memory.

 I recommend you to create a backup of your system or copy your system storage’s content and back them up somewhere in the case that something goes wrong.

Keep in mind the format of your device’s Internal Storage/External Micro SD card must be either FAT32 or NTFS. More information on File systems here. If for some reason your Internal storage or external Micro SD card isn’t being recognized by your operating system, you may have to go through a complete copy/paste of your storage’s contents, format the drive that isn’t being recognized to either NTFS or FAT32 (whichever works for you) and then dumping the copied contents back onto the storage. If this method doesn’t work for you, then skip to the next method, you may have better luck there.

Recuva wizzard

When you open the program, it will ask you which type of file you want to recover. Go ahead and select which one you want, or select “Other” if your file isn’t listed in the main options. Then let the system scan run and that’s pretty much it, follow on screen instructions and you’re ready to go.


Recover deleted files on android

This method may be easier than traditional desktop file recovery methods. Go ahead and download “Diskdigger for Android” and open it up. Note that this app does require you to have Root access in order for the app to run. Come over here to the Google Play Store to download Diskdigger, or manually search for it. There are other diskdigging/undeleting applications on the Google Play Store, but i find Diskdigger the easiest to use when it comes to Android file recovery.

Pick files to recover on discdigger

Go ahead and select which section of the storage you want to scan for deleted files. Again, like Recuva, choose the type of file you want recovered, (This will make the scan significantly faster, since it only detects the chosen file type and ignores all others), and let it scan. The bigger the capacity/taken space of the selected drive, the longer the scan may take, so be patient.

Once the scan is completed, you can view all of the deleted files found, and choose to view them, restore them, or manually relocate them. It’s as simple as that. No more stressing over your word document that took you 7 hours to complete, or the rare baby pictures that you had only 1 copy of. Just follow such simple steps to recovering your deleted files, and go about your day.

Alright that wraps up our little guide here on how to Recover deleted files, if you enjoyed reading this, please hit that Like button on our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and Google+. is your #1 place to read about all the newest news, trends, and guides all things Android. Till next time, thank you for reading, and have an amazing day.

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About Kenny Leung
Kenny currently lives in Buffalo, NY. Where he studies computer networking & programming. He has owned a number of Android phones including the Galaxy s3, Galaxy 3 mini, Galaxy s4 mini, LG optimus 3D, and the Oneplus one which he is currently using. Kenny will likely get the Oneplus two once it is released.

7 thoughts on “How to Recover Lost or Deleted Files on Android

  1. I lost my all texet messages files in samsung smart phone S5, please help me how to get all back …its very important for me.
    Thank you for your prompt response
    Best Regards

  2. i lost my all files in samsung j7. how i get all the files… please tell me… its very important for me

    • Hi, you can use Gihosoft Free Android Recovery. This tool worked to recover deleted files from my Samsung Galaxy S6. Have a try.

    • Have you tried the Recuva? If it cannot work, you can try another recovery program like Wondershare or FonePaw Android Data Recovery which is professional for data recovery. But according to my knowledge, they can support kinds of data and phones. Of coursed, your Samsung j7 is supported. You can have a try.

  3. Why does my pc not not recognize the phone device when u connect the usb ro the computer. It only detects c and d folders.

  4. Thanks for sharing, to recover lost android phone data, we can also try Coolmuster Lab.Fone for Android. It could recover kinds of lost data from android phone on computer, google it to know more.

  5. Martin Ljubic says:

    If you give people half the information required to make a judgement then you create the illusion that the impossible is possible. So how about you also add to the pre-requisites that having deleted said file(s), and not having reformatted the storage space, AND ALSO NOT FILLING UP ALL OF THAT STORAGE SPACE WITH NEW FILES/DATA, then and only then do you have a chance of undeleting deleted file(s) in that storage space. If all the storage is used up, including the space where the deleted files once resided, with new files/data then recovery is not possible.

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