How to recover deleted photos from Samsung Galaxy S8
By Vito Johnson
Well have we all been there at some point? After you realizing you have mistakenly deleted the family album from your Galaxy S8. Or maybe your kid somehow got his little paws on your phone and managed to wipe the whole image folder clean.
It happens, and I sympathize. I wish you could take comfort from my advice, that you may still get your precious photos back, one way or another.
What follows are the step-by-step guide about how to recover deleted photos from a Samsung Galaxy S8 with file recovery programs, but before resorting to recover anything, see if you can locate an online backup of your photos. We’re at a point where every tech company has a cloud strategy starting with roping people in with “freemium” cloud storage, so you could have been recruited even without your noticing.
Part I: Why deleted photos and videos can be recovered
Before diving in the recovery process, it might help to understand why these files can be recovered. From the operating system’s stand point, the purpose of deletion is to free up new memory space. Once a delete command is issued, the operating system is instructed to mark the area where the deleted files occupies as blank and being available for storing new data (pictures, games…). The OS really doesn’t exert itself much beyond that, it simply removes the pointers to these targeted files from the file allocation table. A deleted file is like a person whose identification was removed from the system, he won’t be recognized or traced by the authorities, but the person himself, is still kicking.
To achieve the best possible recovery result, it’s important to avoid using your Galaxy S8 for gaming, shooting videos or streaming movies, activities that generates large amount of data, or the OS may be forced to overwrite the memory space where the deleted photos are at, then they will be truly gone.
Part II: How to recovery deleted photos from Samsung Galaxy S8
- A computer – it can be a PC or a Mac
- File recovery program – Photorec/Recuva/Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery
- SD card reader/adapter(optional)
- Download a file recovery software of your preference, one recommendation is the excellent open-source application Photorec, it’s capable of recovering various types of files including those produced by the Galaxy S8 camera. The file recovery program employs an advanced algorithm that’s exhaustive in finding recoverable files while being gentle on the established file system to avoid causing further damage. The only downside can be said about Photorec is its lack of a graphical user interface. If you find it difficult to navigate through a rather enigmatic text-based black window, try Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery, one that’s as capable as Photorec but with a more polished UI.
- Take the micro SD card out from your phone and insert it to the computer via MicroSD card adapter or USB Micro SD card reader.
- Once the file recovery finished installation, start the program. Click the “recover photos and videos” button.
- Click "recover photo, audio and video", the software automatically detects the card and ask to scan the USB mass storage device, proceed.
- Identify and select the drive letter that represents the attached SD card and click “scan”.
- The scanning process could be lengthy if the card is packed with content. The software will find all files it deems to be recoverable, not only the mistakenly deleted photos, also all the photos and videos that have ever been written on the card. After the scanning process finished, you will be facing a massive amount of jumbled files without discernable names. Save all the files to a place on your hard drive and use Windows File Explorer or Finder if you're on a Mac to sort through the files using metrics such as file size and file extensions.
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Part III: A few other things
Places to locate an online backup
It’s possible that you find salvation from the Google Photos app, even if you have never been consistently using it. Photos is Google’s official gallery app for android, it came preinstalled on your Galaxy S8, being a Google made, the app’s freakishly intelligent and automatic, it has a feature called auto backup that keeps uploading pictures and videos from your phone to the Google cloud. So, if you happen to sign into your Galaxy with a Google account, you really don’t have a file loss issue at hand, the local version of the pictures is indeed deleted, but the online version remains and can be easily restored back to the phone. Before you proceed to do any actual file recovery, which can be time consuming and costly, determine if you really have a file loss issue at hand.
What if I didn’t use a SD card, and the deleted photos were stored in the internal memory.
Currently there’re no reliable solutions of retrieving deleted data from the internal memory of Galaxy S8. The internal memory is where the system core files resides, thus restricted from probing by third party disk utility such as Photorec.
Some of the recovered photos appears to be damaged, can I do something about it?
Well the recovery result could be compromised due to overwriting, as discussed above, the deleted pictures are marked as expandable, if the phone’s being used after the deletion, new data could be overwritten on the area where the deleted files occupies, thus makes it impossible for a perfect recovery.
There’re application specialized in dealing with this kind of situation, JPEG repair for instance, could yield an acceptable result if the overwriting isn’t too severe.