We have been through experiences where unexpected blunders with smartphones are un-called for. For instance, you sometimes make the “mistake” of accidentally deleting your photos from the device’s memory card… but before you realize, it’s too damn late.

Well, fear not, as there are several easy-to-follow ways to recover lost photo files/ images alongside those priceless memories. Since most of the smartphone owners set their memory card as the default save-to location, there are chances that your lost photos were in there somewhere. If so, those items can be retrieved to a great extent.

Here’s how you should go on about it. A card reader, a computer and the card in question is required.

Up close and personal with a Sandisk Ultra memory card - Credits CNET Photos

Card reader should be immediately removed from the device, once you realize that your photos have been deleted. Try not to make more changes in the card .i.e. taking more pictures and saving them in the card.

You are going to need

  • Memory card reader
  • The memory card in question
  • A PC or Mac

Selection of recovery suit is next. The software preferable for windows will be RECUVA, and for mac PHOTOREC can be used. Vendors like LEXAR or SANDISK come in with built in software which can also be used.

Recuva memory card screenshot

Install the software in your PC or MAC. In RECUVA, at first we select the type of files which need to be recovered, in this case we will be going for the photos, RECUVA gives u options for other types of files as well. Keep on going through the menu windows till you come to a screen asking you for a location to look for your files.

At this time , plug in your card reader into the computer, while selecting the root directory of where the device used to save the images to, given that it hasn’t disappeared or deleted after the card was formatted, or when the pictures disappeared. The name of the folder is normally DCIM or it is according to the company name or the model.

PHOTOREC is slightly more professional software hence the procedure being more complicated, for it’s a command-line interface instead of a graphical one. Start up the program, and enter you MAC password if prompted. This is so that the program can have access to all the drives. Drive to be recovered should be selected after that that is your memory card, using the arrow keys to highlight the correct option.

The name of the drive might not be familiar to you but you can find the drive by noticing the size. Click enter to move further, choose FAT16/32 for scanning the directory structure setup by the device. Keep on clicking enter to go to the next menu to select the other option (NAT/NTFS). Continue to the next screen by using enter. This selection will command the program to look for the files.

Recoverable files are shown in green

If somehow, you get the hint that the memory card is corrupted, and then use the “whole” selection, or for deleted files select “free”. Select enter again and select a place for the recovered file, for this use C key to confirm. Run scan to recover the file, if you get results then your files have been recovered. In the earlier step, if you are looking for only pictures, normal JPEG files would be seen.

However, if you’re looking for raw files, and they are not visible, then there is another step that can be done. In RECUVA, there is an option by the name of “switch to advance mode”, this option allows you to look for other raw formats as well. File extension of your devices raw format is to be entered, normally these are .CR2, .NEF or .ARW extensions, considering the band of your device. Camera manual can be cross checked for confirmation.

In RECUVA it is relatively easier, since it gives you an option, by using the command “FILE OPTS/ File Options” from the main menu. Choose a place you need to save the recovered files to. For easier access, it is advisable to save them on the desktop or any other drive, apart from the card itself.

For PHOTOREC, the recovery folder has already been selected earlier (is selected by default.). In the search option, navigate to the desired folder and see what you can find there. Voila!! You have successfully accessed your photos. Now take a backup of these recovered files to some place safe and try not to lose em’.