If you’ve ever carelessly deleted a photo or other file on your smartphone, you will know that it can often be difficult to recover.

The best way to avoid accidentally deleting sensitive information is to enable automatic cloud backups on your device, as this lets you simply sync your smartphone to recover your files.

If you are concerned about data privacy on cloud platforms, however, this is not always a viable option and more in-depth recovery methods would be required.

The first step in attempting to recover deleted files is to check communication records, deleted emails, or other areas for another copy of the file.

If this does not exist, you will have to rely on recovery software.

File recovery apps for smartphones can be tricky, so if the file was saved on a MicroSD card, you should rather insert that into a laptop and use desktop recovery software.


Internal Storage

There are a number of applications which offer decent data recovery capabilities.

For Android, these include DiskDigger, Recuva, and EaseUS MobiSaver, while popular iOS recovery apps include highly-rated apps like EaseUS MobiSaver and Enigma Recovery.

Some recovery apps are paid applications, while others are free. Generally speaking, popular paid applications are more effective at recovering lost files, although highly-rated free applications do a great job, too.

After downloading and installing a recovery app, you will need to scan the drive or folder in your smartphone’s internal storage where the lost file was saved.

This software usually allows the results to be filtered by file type, which is helpful as the software scrapes all existing files on the drive in addition to deleted ones.

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Some files and photos will only be partially recovered, as some of their unindexed data may have been overwritten due to extended use of the smartphone after the file was deleted.

If you want to have the best chance of recovering a deleted file, keep as much free space as possible on your drive and immediately begin the recovery process to minimise the potential for the data to be overwritten.

It should be noted that the efficacy of some recovery apps can be improved by rooting your Android device, with some allowing you to also scan your MicroSD card once this process is completed.


MicroSD Recovery

Rooting your smartphone is a risky process, and if the file you deleted was saved on a MicroSD card it is a better idea to insert the storage device into your PC and use desktop recovery software.

Many free desktop recovery programs – such as Recuva and EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard – are quite efficient at finding and restoring deleted files, and they are also capable of deep scans which are more time-consuming but can return more results.

If you are really struggling to recover your file, you could always turn to premium recovery software. The best applications cost money, although they typically deliver much better results.

In many ways, recovering data from a MicroSD card is easier than from internal storage due to the PC interface and access to the drive’s file structure.

The ease with which you can recover a recently-deleted file may elicit some concern regarding the safety of your trashed items, and it should.

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If you want a file to truly be inaccessible and made irrecoverable, you will need to wipe the drive using a special function included in many of these recovery apps.

This “deep wipe” essentially writes nonsense to unindexed areas of the drive to overwrite deleted files which still exist as ordered bytes on the disk.

A few passes using a tool like this is usually enough to protect your drive from any data recovery tool, and it is a great idea for protecting data on old drives which you are selling or donating.


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