A step-by-step guide on how to delete and recover photos on your Android smartphone

how to delete and recover photos in android 41146717  man eating breakfast bed whilst using mobile phone
Some photos just don’t turn out the way we want. In many instances, it’s best to save space and get rid of them, so we’re going to show you how to delete photos on an Android device. Sometimes. however, we delete the wrong photos or decide we want to keep a snap after all, so we’re also going to show you how to recover deleted photos. Although Android smartphones may look different given many of them utilize a custom interface, the process for deleting and recovering photos is actually quite similar. Google even has its own set of standalone apps, so if you use Google Photos, the process will be the same regardless of your phone.

MoreHow to delete and recover photos from your iPhone

Deleting photos in stock Android

Delete photos stock android

If you have stock Android, then you will be dealing directly with Google Photos. You can also choose to use Google Photos regardless of your smartphone’s brand, so let’s take a look at this app first.

Deleting photos while viewing them

  1. Tap the photo that you want to view.
  2. When viewing the photo, tools will appear on top of the photo at the bottom of your screen for a few second. If you don’t see them, then tap the photo once and they’ll appear again.
  3. Tap the trash icon in the lower-right corner. This will move the item to the trash.
  4. You can also tap the More menu (more menu) in the upper-right corner, and select Delete device copy. This will permanently delete the photo if you haven’t backed up the picture. Select Delete to confirm your decision.

Deleting photos in the Photos view

  1. Make sure you are in Photos view by selecting Photos at the bottom.
  2. Tap the More menu (more menu) in the upper-right corner, and tap Select in the drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can tap and hold the picture you want to delete.
  3. You can delete multiple photos at once by tapping on them. Selected photos feature a white check mark on a blue background in the upper-left corner.
  4. Tap the trash can in the upper-right corner.

Delete photos in Albums view

  1. Select Albums in the lower-right corner, and then select the album you want to delve into.
  2. Tap the More menu (more menu) in the upper-right corner, choose Select, and select the pictures you want to delete. Alternatively, you can select the date of the pictures, which will select all the pictures taken on a given day.
  3. Tap the More menu (more menu) again, and select Delete device copy.
  4. A warning will come up indicating that if the pictures aren’t backed up, they will be deleted permanently. Select Delete to confirm your decision.

Deleting photos on a Samsung phone

delete photos samsung

Samsung has its own Gallery app. It basically works the same way as any other Android smartphone, but TouchWiz does have its own look, so we will take you through the screens and show you how it looks on a Samsung smartphone.

Deleting photos while viewing them

delete photos samsung
  1. You should have tools on your screen while viewing a picture, but if not, just tap the picture once.
  2. Tap the trash can in the lower-right corner.

Delete photos in Time view

  1. Instead of Photos view, Samsung has Time view. You can see the photos individually here. Just tap More in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. You are now in selection mode where you can select the pictures you want to delete, then select Delete in the upper right next to More.

Deleting photos in Albums view

  1. To see the albums, tap Time in the upper-left corner, and change it to Albums.
  2. Here, you will see More in the upper-right corner. If you want to delete an entire album, go to More and select Edit. Afterward, select the album you want to delete and press Delete in the upper-right corner.
  3. If you want to go inside an album, select individual pictures, and then delete them, you can do so by tapping More in the upper-right corner. Then, tap Edit, select the pictures you want to delete, and press Delete in the upper-right corner.

Recovering photos

Recovering photos from the Google Photos trash

If you deleted your pictures by tapping the trash icon, and the photos were moved to the trash, then they will be in the trash for 60 days before being permanently deleted.

  1. Select the Hamburger menu  (hamburger menu) in the upper-left corner.
  2. Select Trash from the menu.
  3. Select the photos you want to recover by tapping the More menu in the upper-right corner. Alternatively, you can tap and hold the pictures you want to recover.
  4. Once you have selected all the pictures you want to recover, tap the Undo button in the upper-right corner.

Recovering photos using third-party software

You can always try to use third-party software to rescue deleted photos. Below is one of the best options to get you started.

Wondershare Dr.Fone ($70+)

recover photos android

Phone Rescue will allow you to recover a number of media files, including photos. Not only will the software allow you to recover media, but it also offers a suite of recovery and repair tools for Android. These include tools that allow you to extract data from damaged devices, or recover data lost during an update.


Backing up your photos

We recommend using Google Photos to automatically back up your photos, and ensure that you can recover them in the future. Google Photos gives you unlimited free storage for photos up to 16 megapixels in size and video recorded at up to 1080p. You also get 15GB of free storage for photos and videos of higher quality.

  1. Tap the Hamburger menu (hamburger menu) in the upper-left corner.
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Tap Back up & sync, and make sure the feature is toggled on.

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