How to Recover Deleted Files from Android Phone (2021 Update)

author Emily Watson
date Thursday, September 23, 2021

Deleted files are not completely gone on your Android phone. FonePaw Android Data Recovery provides you with the best Android file recovery solution and helps you recover deleted files from Android with simple steps. Give it a free try.

Have you experienced the suffocating moment that you find you have mistakenly deleted important files on your Android phone? And I believe that the next thing you do is to crazily look for the files throughout the phone, or hurriedly ask questions like “how to find deleted files on Android phone” in the search engine. If you also get in trouble like this, please calm down first, and we should tell you, luckily, permanently deleted files in Android can be recovered. As for how to recover them, scroll down to read, we will tell you one by one.

Here is a complete guide to show you how to recover deleted files on Android, both from Android internal memory as well as SD card external memory, and also answer the question of whether you can perform android file recovery without root.

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Can I Recover Deleted Files from Android?

The answer is YES.

Although Android doesn't have a recycle bin for deleted files, files do not completely disappear from your phone memory after they are deleted. When you delete a file in Android, your Android phone doesn't move the file to another place, nor does it wipe the deleted files from your memory space.

What happens is that the deleted file remains on the same spot of your memory space, only that the space it occupies is marked as "unused" and becomes available for new data to write in. Once the spot is used by new data, the deleted files are overwritten and deleted permanently.

  • For iPhone users who encounter a similar problem and want to retrieve your lost files, click How to Recover Deleted Files from iPhone to know more.
  • Don’t forget to check your backup (if you have, like Google backup) and the recycle bin (some phone manufacturers and apps may provide) before you really make sure that you have completely deleted the files and need to recover them.

How do I Perform Android File Recovery with Internal Memory?

We have learned that deleted files are still in our Android phones. So, to make it clear, the principle of Android file recovery is – as long as we try to retrieve the deleted files before they are overwritten, the lost files can be restored.

With a reliable Android file recovery application, you can start to recover deleted files from your Android phone. Perhaps you prefer recovering deleted files from Android without a computer because it’s more convenient; however, performing file recovery by a phone app could potentially overwrite the deleted files when the app is installed. So, how can we recover deleted files from Android safely?

Here we recommend to you a powerful desktop android file recovery software - FonePaw Android Data Recovery. It supports over 6000 Android phone models, including famous brands like Samsung, Huawei, LG, Nokia, Sony, Xiaomi, and so on. With its help, you can recover your files in a few clicks. Scroll down to see how to use it.

You can use FonePaw Android Data Recovery to recover:

  • Contact: Number; Name; Email.

  • Message: Number; Content; Date.

  • Call History: Name; number; Type; Duration.

  • Photo: Camera image; Transferred image; Cache image.

  • Video: Camera video; Transferred video.

  • Audio: Recorded voice; Music.


There is also more specific guidance for particular file types:

STEP 1. Download FonePaw Android Data Recovery.

STEP 2. Connect Android to PC.

Launch the software on your computer. Then connect your Android phone to a PC with a USB cable. USB debugging needs to be enabled on your Android phone for the Android Data Recovery program to scan the phone. Follow the on-screen instruction to enable USB debugging.

USB Debugging

STEP 3. Choose File Types to Recover

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

Select Android Data

STEP 4. Install FonePaw App to Get Permissions

The program will prompt you to install the FonePaw app on your Android phone. It’s an app that grants privileges for the program to access files on your Android. Only by using the app can the desktop program read and recover deleted files from your Android phone.

Install FonePaw App

STEP 5. Get the Privileges to Scan Deleted Files

After the FonePaw app is installed, it will give the pop-up notification for you to allow access to contacts, messages, storage, call logs to scan out deleted files. Tap Allow to all messages and click Scan Authorized Files to begin Android file recovery.

Allow FonePaw Access

Authorize FonePaw App

STEP 6. Check Deleted Files Under Standard Scan (No Root Required)

Once the program gets permission, it will start a standard scan, which can find out thumbnails of deleted photos as well as existing files on your Android phone. This function is more efficient and can be realized without root.

Standard Scan

STEP 7. Recover Lost Files from Android Under Deep Scan (Recommended, Root Required)

If you need to find more deleted files, click Deep Scan and wait patiently for phone file recovery to finish. This feature requires you to root the phone, but can definitely help you retrieve more delete items.

tips Tips:

STEP 8. Preview and Retrieve the Deleted Files

When Deep Scan is finished, all your Android files will be displayed. To look at only the deleted files, tap the ON icon on the top to display the deleted items only. Select the deleted files that you need and click Recover. The deleted files will be recovered and saved on your computer.

Recover Contacts

That is how to get back deleted items from Android phones and tablets. The deleted files will be recovered and saved on your computer.

tips Tips:

How to Recover Deleted Files from Android External Memory?

If the photos, files, videos, audio that you deleted are stored on an SD card, you can also recover deleted files from Android external memory storage. You can 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 external memory.

Select File Type

Can I Recover Deleted Files from Android Without Root?

Yes, it’s possible.

Some users are looking for a method to recover deleted data on Android without root, actually you can recover some of the data in this way. Some Android data recovery apps, for example, FonePaw Android Data Recovery, provides a standard scan feature with no requirement for root.

However, rooting for data recovery is still recommended because much more of the deleted files are in the part of the file system that is only accessible with root privilege. That is to say, some deleted files which cannot be found under a standard scan is more likely to be discovered thorough a deep scan, which requires rooting your Android phone.

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

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