Trying to recover deleted photos

I accidentally deleted my photo gallery and have been trying to get them back. I tried Dr. Fone and FonePaw, which I installed on my Mac. In both cases, my virus scanner (ClamXav) found infected files. I have stopped trying to use these applications now.

Does anyone know whether they are trustworthy?

I tried using PhotoRec as well but did not get very far - it seems much too technical to me. I got stuck when I should have told the program where the files would have been, and what type of file it was.

One last question: my phone was plugged into my computer while I was trying to work this stuff. Do I need to worry about a virus infection on my Fairphone now? If yes, what can I do? (I am trying to run it google free and didn’t find a virus scanner on fdroid.)

Thank you!

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It is very unlikely to infect the Mobile by a usb connection as long as you don’t install apk files through that.

Thanks! I haven’t installed any apk’s yet but I’m planning to. So just to be sure I understand you right: do you mean there would be a risk of infection if I downloaded an infected apk file? Or could an infection that’s on my computer infect the apk file and then damage my phone?

Your comp ( or a maleware on it) needs to copy a infected apk to your smartphone and then this apk needs to bee installed on you’re smartphone. Or a maleware on your comp needs to put your smartphone into recovery mode, install a apk and than restarts your phone.

From my point: currently highly unlikely on a Mac


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An idea: could I use TWRP to recover deleted photos? How?..

You need to access the raw partition where you photo were.
TWRP backup is file-based, not raw, so it won’t retrieve deleted files.

On which partition were your photos ?

  • on external sdcard ?
    -> put the sdcard in your computer and use foremost

  • on your internal data partition ?
    -> use the dd command to dump the data partition to a file. of course, this needs root. then get this dump on your computer and run foremost on it.

PS : don’t believe all of those miracle photo recovery apps, full of ads and malware.
foremost is open source and much more trustable.


as jaymanu said - you need to go to the raw data. A tool which i used to recover successfully from a sdcard :

But i would always make a raw copy of the device first and work on that.

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The pictures were on the device. I think I will leave them wherever they are: I am not enough of an expert to root my phone (and I tend to do inconsiderate things when I get impatient, so I’m afraid I would do a lot of damage). Coming from an iPhone, I am just surprised to see how difficult it is to get the pictures back - though on the iPhone, it always annoyed me to see that things I deleted weren’t really deleted at all… :wink:

Yes, deleting a file doesn’t destroy the data, until it is overwritten by other data.
This is true for anything using files: computer, camera, phone, usb drive…
The entry disappears from the file listings, but the data stays on the raw medium.

For more details on why it’s difficult to get pictures back : TWRP deliberately disabled mounting the data partition over USB, because its formatted in ext4. No prob with linux and I guess Mac, but on Windows mounting an ext4 partition will give a prompt to the user suggesting him to format the partition !! very dangerous… so they stuck to MTP, which allows file transfer but no raw access.

Source :

Because the “internal sdcard” is not a true FAT file system, you can’t
mount it via USB storage. Well, that’s not technically true, but the
vast majority of people use Windows computers and Windows doesn’t
recognize ext4. If we were to allow you to mount the data partition via
USB storage, Windows would claim that the device wasn’t formatted and
offer to format it for you, which, as you can imagine, would be a
disaster. The whole ext4 setup is another reason that Android switched
to using MTP for transferring files. Most of these devices don’t have
the necessary kernel configuration to even support USB storage mode, so
it’s not very easy to enable USB storage if we even wanted to try. With
TWRP and higher, we now support MTP. MTP is the protocol most
newer devices use to transfer files on your PC. If for some reason MTP
is not working for you or if you’re using an older version of TWRP, you
can use adb to push and pull files to and from your device.

Thanks for your help - now you’ve lost me completely! I give up. I lost a few photos - and a lot of time. I hope I’ve learned not to delete things inconsiderately…

Check if you have a user community near you :

some geek there might be able to get your photos back
beware that the more you are using your phone, the more you are destroying the remains of your deleted photos.

No, there is none… And I think I’m too lost myself at the moment to found a community! Maybe one day…

Yes, I suppose the pictures have been overwritten by now. That’s also why I’ve given up.