Best Photo Recovery Software for Android

Last Updated: Nov 17, 2023

I tested 42 data recovery software products and found Tenorshare UltData to be the best option for recovering photos on Android.

I’ve been working in the tech industry for the last few decades and regularly help people with computer disasters, including lost data.

Android data recovery apps don’t run on your device but on your computer. They scan your phone over a USB computer which offers the best chance of data recovery but is also quite slow.

Tenorshare UltData is the best choice for Windows users because it’s fast, effective, and easy to use. Mac users will find Disk Drill just as effective.

But every situation is different. So I’ve also reviewed the best data recovery application in every category.

Let’s get started.

3 Best Photo Recovery Tools for Android

Only three data recovery tools I tested were able to recover the photo I deleted from my mobile device. My test was done on using the iOS versions, but you should be able to achieve similar success on an Android device.

1. Tenorshare UltData (Best for Windows Users)

Tenorshare UltData performs fast and effective scans on Android devices. This comes at a small cost: it won’t root your phone for you. Rooting is required to recover many data types, but fortunately not photos. It’s also only available for Windows.

The app is suitable for non-technical users and will recover your data in a few easy-to-follow steps.

Deleted photos and WhatsApp messages can be recovered on an unrooted device. For other types of data, you’ll have to first root the device and enable USB debugging. Fortunately, the app clearly explains how to do this.

Tenorshare UltData is both fast and effective. The iPhone version successfully recovered a deleted photo in my test and did this fastest, completing the scan in 49 minutes.

It’s a subscription service that costs $35.95/month or $39.95/year. A lifetime license is also available for $49.95. The app runs on Windows but not macOS.

2. Disk Drill (Best for Mac Users)

Disk Drill is a fast and effective desktop data recovery tool that also supports mobile devices, including non-MIPS Android devices.

Both experienced and inexperienced users are catered for. Those unfamiliar with data recovery can get started in three simple steps. Experienced users will find plenty of ways to customize the app to their liking.

I found it to be one of the fastest and most successful tools when testing it on my iPhone, and it successfully recovered the photo I deleted.

Only the Mac version can recover data from iPhones and Android phones at this time. It costs a one-time fee of $89, and you also get access to the app with a $9.99/month subscription to SetApp.

3. Wondershare Dr.Fone (Windows and Android Apps)

Wondershare Dr.Fone Data Recovery for Android is easy to use but slow. It makes your life easier by automatically rooting and later unrooting your Android device as part of the recovery process.

You don’t have to be technical to use this app. Data recovery is performed in three simple steps.

The iOS version successfully recovered the photo I deleted but was slow. A scan for every data type took a long six hours.

You can drastically improve this by scanning for photos only. With fewer categories selected it took just 54 minutes.

Dr.Fone Android Data Recovery for Windows costs $79.95 and includes a total of eight utilities. Unfortunately, Android support isn’t included in the Mac version.

There’s also a Recovery & Transfer app found in the Google Play Store that runs directly on your device and doesn’t require a computer. This free download will scan for your lost data, and a $10.99 in-app purchase will allow you to restore it.

Guide to Choosing a Data Recovery Tool for Android

Before making your choice, it’s helpful to become familiar with how photo recovery is possible and some of the issues that Android data recovery tools can help with.

How Is Photo Recovery Possible?

When you delete a photo from your Android device, the data is not actually removed. It’s simply marked as deleted and the space it occupies becomes available for new files.

So, for a while, data recovery is possible. Eventually, that data be overwritten by new information, so it’s best to act quickly. Unfortunately, once your deleted photos have been overwritten, there’s no way for you to recover them.

Most Android Recovery Apps Run on Your Computer, not Your Device

Most Android recovery apps run on your Mac or PC, not on your device. They scan your phone via a USB cable. Make sure you correct an app that will work with your operating system.

Windows only:

  • Tenorshare UltData
  • Wondershare Dr.Fone

Mac only:

  • Disk Drill

Finally, Wondershare Dr.Fone Recovery & Transfer runs directly on your Android device with no computer required.

Choose a Tool That Suits Your Budget and Experience

How experienced are you with data recovery? Most Android data recovery applications are designed to be used by non-technical users. They allow you to scan for lost data in just a few simple steps, using a wizard.

Also, consider your budget. My recommendations range in price from $10 to $90. Some are one-off purchases while others require a subscription.

Fortunately, virtually all data recovery applications allow you to scan for lost data for free. You only need to pay for the software once you can see that your lost data has been found.

Consider How Long Are You Willing to Wait

Data recovery takes time, and sometimes a great deal of it. How much time do you have?

Some applications scan quicker scans than others, and devices with less storage will be scanned quicker than phones with lots of storage.

Android Data Recovery Is not Guaranteed

Recovering data from mobile devices doesn’t seem as reliable as desktop recovery. On the desktop, most applications managed to successfully recover recently deleted photos. Not so on mobile.

Only three mobile recovery apps were able to recover a deleted photo in my test, and that’s likely to be true of the Android versions as well. And none were able to recover every item I deleted. In fact, the best result was just 50%. Set your expectations accordingly.

Final Verdict

When choosing a tool to rescue your valuable photos, you want the one that will give you the best chance of success.

TenorShare UltData is an excellent choice for Windows users. It’s fast and effective. Disk Drill will give Mac users a similar experience. It’s almost as fast as UltData and just as effective.

You can maximize your chance of success by testing several recovery tools. The free trial version of each will show you if your lost files can be found. If not, move on to the next application until you have success.