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How to Recover Deleted Files from Android

By Emily Watson, Monday, October 16, 2017

Can I Recover Deleted Files from Android Phone?

Many users have the question: where are the deleted files gone? Can I get back the deleted data? The answer is definitely a yes. 

This is how a phone deals with deleted files. When a file is deleted from your Android phone, the file still remains on the same spot, only that the space it occupies is marked as "unused", which means the space is available to save new data. Once the spot is used by new data, the deleted files are overwritten and deleted permanently. 

To make sure that you can retrieve the deleted files, there are two things to do:

  • Stop creating new data;

  • Recover the deleted files as soon as possible.

Many things you do on a phone can create new data: install or update apps, download music, take photos... Therefore, cut off network connection on your phone and try to use the phone as less as possible. Then use a file recovery program to restore the files from your Android phone.

And you may want to recover the deleted Android files with a computer since the installation of an Android data recovery app could potentially overwrite the deleted files. So instead of a file recovery app for Android, you are recommended to install FonePaw Android Data Recovery, a data recovery program installed on PC or Mac.


For iPhone Users: How to Recover Deleted Files from iPhone
For S9 Users: Bought A New Samsung Galaxy S9? Here's How to Transfer Data from Old Phone

Recover Deleted Files from Android (Take Samsung as an Example)

FonePaw Android Data Recovery is designed to recover deleted/lost data on Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus, LG, Sony, HTC, Motorola, Huawei, OnePlus, AUSU, ZTE and more. It can recover deleted photos, videos, music, text messages, WhatsApp, contacts, call logs and document files on Android phone. It can recover Android files within a few clicks. Here is how to use it.

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STEP 1. Connect Android to PC

To start with, install and run the phone memory recovery for Android on your computer. Then connect Samsung phone (Galaxy S7/S8/S9/Note 8) to PC with a USB cable.


Connect Android Phone to PC

STEP 2. Allow USB Debugging

Open your Android phone and allow USB debugging, which is needed for the computer to communicate with the connected phone.

For Android 2.3 or earlier: Enter "Settings"> "Applications"> "Development" > "USB debugging"

For Android 3.0 - 4.1: Go to "Settings" > "Developer options" > "USB debugging".

For Android 4.2 or newer: Hit "Settings" > "About phone". Tab "Build number" for 7 times till the dialogue box "You are under developer mode" occurs. Then go back to "Settings" > "Developer options" > "USB Debugging".


Allow for USB debugging


STEP 3. Choose File Types to Recover

After USB debugging is turned on, the Samsung is successfully connected to the program, you will be asked to select files types that you want to restore. Tick documents, photos, messages or other deleted files that you need, and then click the "Next" button.


Choose File Types to Recover

STEP 4. Analyze Device and Get Privilege to Scan Files

In this step, the program will check the device information and then try to get root permission, which is needed to access the deleted files. When you see the below screen, open the connected Samsung and tap "Allow/Grant/ Authorize" to make sure the root request is accepted.


Analyze Device and Get Privilege to Scan Files

Once the program gets root permission, it will begin to scan out the deleted data. Please wait patiently for phone file recovery to finish.


Scanning Files of Android Phone

STEP 5. Preview and Recover Lost Files from Android

When the deleted files are found, all your Android files will be displayed. To look at only the deleted files, tap the "ON" icon on the top to set to display the deleted items only. Select the deleted files that you are looking for and click "Recover". The deleted files will be retrieved and saved on your computer.


Preview and Recover Files from Android

That is how to get back deleted items from Android phones and tablets.

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The deleted files will be recovered to your computer. The following table shows what can FonePaw Android Data Recovery can recover and how the recovered data are saved. 


Recovered Contents and Exported Format

If you have files that are important to you, make sure you always have a good backup of them!

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Recover Deleted Files from Android without Root

Some users are looking for a method to recover deleted data on Android without root, however, we are sorry to tell you that it is impossible to retrieve the deleted data unless the phone is rooted. The deleted files are in the part of the file system that is only accessible with root privilege.

So if you really need to get the deleted files back, give the data recovery program root access to the phone. After the data are back, you can unroot your phone anytime you want.


Android Root


Recover Deleted Files from Android External Memory (Without Phone)

If the photos, files, videos, audio that you deleted are stored on an SD card, you can also recover data from Android external memory with the guide in part one.

Without Android phones or SD card not being detected well, you can still do SD card data recovery which requires two steps.

  • Stop reading or writing data on the SD card;

  • Use a data recovery tool to recover deleted files from the SD card immediately. FonePaw Data Recovery supports recovering data from SD card, USB drive, external hard drive, computer hard drive. You can use it to recover Android files from the external memory.


Data Recovery

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