WhatsApp photos are not only stored in correspondence. A file you accidentally delete from one location will most likely be found elsewhere: in a chat, a backup, the file storage of your device. If the search is unsuccessful, try to recover the image using recovery software for Android and Windows.
What Whatsapp photos are stored
All photos that were sent from your device or sent (received) via WhatsApp are automatically saved. Where are Whatsapp photos placed? On Android devices, you will find the media from the messenger in a folder named WhatsApp, in the internal memory.
How to find "lost" photos:
- Open File Manager + (or other file system navigator).
- Go to the Media folder. Full path: Android > media > com.whatsapp > WhatsApp > Media
- There are three subfolders inside the WhatsApp directory
- Open Media, in it look for WhatsApp Images and see its contents:
- WhatApp images - folder with photos
- WhatApp video - folder with videos
As a rule, if a photo is deleted from the correspondence, but not from the Gallery of the smartphone, you will find it in the specified folders.
Note . On some smartphones and tablets, the folder with the WhatsApp /files may not be on the internal storage, but on a removable media, a microsd memory card. This is usually found on Chinese devices with modified (rooted) firmware.
Tip. Restore method if the photos remained in chats but not in Gallery
In the new versions of WhatsApp application a new function has been announced: if you have deleted a photo from Gallery, by going to the chat where this photo was, you can download it back to Gallery. However, this method of "rescue" is only relevant if the actual chat, the correspondence with its contents, you have not cleared.
How to restore images from a backup file
In addition to Media, there is a Backup directory inside the WhatsApp folder, where backup copies are stored. The messenger generates them automatically once a day/week/month (if this feature has been pre-enabled in the settings). By default, the backups are generated every night.
If you delete a photo from Android Gallery and Chat that was sent over a day ago, try to restore it from the backup. To restore /files and correspondence from backup you need:
- Uninstall WhatsApp messenger.
- Download and reinstall it.
- Please enter your phone number to log into your account.
- When the system requests to restore data from the backup, you should accept the offer (click on the "Restore" button).
- Wait for the installation and restore to finish.
It is important to note that the copy will contain /files between 1 and 7 days old. It is possible that the documents you are looking for may not be present in the archive.
Besides this it is recommended to create a backup every day (to prevent the accidental deletion of data). You can do this in the settings, section "Chats" → "Chat Backup".
How to recover photos from WhatsApp chat/communication
In the latest version of WhatsApp, the media /files and documents are stored on the server. Any of them can be downloaded again, as long as the correspondence in which they have been transferred is directly saved. You can do this in the mobile and browser versions of the messenger.
To open the browser version on your computer:
- Go to web.whatsapp.com in your browser.
- Open the application on your phone and scan the QR code (settings → WhatsApp Web) .
- Wait until all the data has been downloaded and you are ready to use the messenger.
DiskDigger or Undeleter to find the picture you have deleted on the sd phone card
The DiskDigger or Undeleter applications are useful if you have not saved the picture you have wanted but it was previously downloaded to the smartphone. The above-mentioned applications allow you to find deleted /files that have not yet been overwritten. The fact is that when deleted, the file is not destroyed, but only marked as "rewritable". Thanks to this, accidentally erased documents and multimedia can be found, especially if not much time has passed since the deletion.
The algorithm in the mobile versions of DiskDigger or Undeleter is the same (but let's consider the first option):
- Install and run the DiskDigger.
- Select the scanning path, in this case the address of the WhatsApp folder on the memory card (media > com.whatsapp > WhatsApp > Media).
- Select the scanning method: "Dig even deeper".
- Select the file types to scan (e.g. jpg, png).
- Wait for the search to finish.
- Check the results, mark the matching /files for restoring.
- Select where to save the restored /files and click on "Save Selected Files".
Restoring iPhone pictures via Dr.Fone
I should mention that this procedure is not very efficient and will work in the rare cases (if you have root access to the file system which is very rare for modern Android devices). For iPhone, the procedure is as follows:
- Download Dr.fone software (available for Windows, Mac OS) and run it on your computer.
- Connect iPhone to computer via USB cable.
- Check "WhatsApp & Attachments".
- Click on "Start Scan" to scan deleted WhatsApp images in iPhone memory.
- When the scan is complete, the recovered items (all photos, videos found) will appear in the categories.
- Select the /files you want to recover from the correspondence
- Click the "Recover to Computer" button.
- Check the results.
How to read : Can I trust Dr Fone?
Recover Videos from WhatsApp messages
I often receive questions like this:
"Due to the purchase of a new device, I downloaded all the information from Android to my PC, backed up WhatsApp, deleted the Android application. Deleted all the photos and videos, then found out that they were gone on the PC as well. Downloaded WhatsApp again - photos and chats restored, but no videos, there are still covers in the gallery, and they have weight, but they don't play! Very important videos were there with baby's first steps and family videos..."
Step-by-step instructions to recover videos from Whatsapp:
- Open any file manager for Android.
- Go to internal storage and find Whatsapp folder. It stores photos, videos, audio and other media items.
- Open Whatsapp folder, find all media /files there and check their contents.
- If you don't find anything, go to internal storage folder at Whatsapp > Trash.
- If you don't find a video in Trash, your content has been permanently deleted (and most likely cannot be recovered on your phone).
How to search /files on sd card via Recuva
The desktop equivalent of the above mentioned DiskDigger or Undeleter is the Recuva utility. It doesn't require root to recover photos, but works only with the phone's sd card.
Recuva analyzes the memory of the gadget connected to the computer, and finds /files with the correct extension. Once the analysis is completed, you can select the appropriate images and restore them in a couple of clicks.
How to use Recuva and PhotoRec (video):
The procedure to restore is as follows:
- Download, install and run Recuva.
- Select the media on which the document was deleted.
- Start the analysis.
- Select the desired file and recover it through the corresponding function.
The last option is to ask for a copy of the picture from the sender or the receiver
The sent multimedia is saved in the devices of all the WhatsApp correspondents. So if all else fails, there is one obvious and easy way to do so - contact whoever the correspondence and file exchange was with. The sender or recipient of the picture you want can resend it, and you'll save time: searching, setting up and trying to figure out Recuva and its counterparts.
How to prevent accidentally deleting /files in the future?
The best way to recover photos is not to delete them or lose them. If you follow these steps, you will reduce to zero the chance of losing your valuable information.
- Make a regular backup of Whatsapp (instructions).
- In the backup settings, enable the "Add video" option to keep a copy of this type of /files.
- Synchronize Whatsapp with your Google account by connecting it through your messenger settings.
- Copy your media /files (photos, videos) to a safe place on your hard drive, to avoid accidentally deleting from your phone or when copying to Whatsapp.
The bitter irony is that you should take these measures BEFORE you delete something, not afterwards. So it is advised that if you do encounter the unpleasant problem of losing Whatsapp data, take appropriate measures afterwards.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you can recover WhatsApp photos from the internal phone memory (folder - WhatsApp photos) deleted while clearing the cache?
Theoretically, yes. In practice, it depends on many factors. First of all, you will need root access and DiskDigger for Android app (alternatively, Undeleter). It is advised not to hesitate, as photos may be overwritten by other apps.
On my phone (Android 10 OS) I deleted the WhatsApp app. Consequently all the photos and videos have been deleted. How to restore them?"
- Reinstall the Whatsapp mobile app on Android via Play Store.
- Connect your account when you first launch the messenger.
- If there is a backup of Whatsapp data, you will be prompted to restore it.
- Check whether the /files are now displayed.
I had photos and videos dumped on WhatsApp. One morning blank windows appeared, then disappeared altogether.
The easiest way is to ask the interlocutor to send the /files again. Since Whatsapp does not store these /files on its server, you can only restore the data from a backup, if you have one (on your phone or in Google Drive).
When I open WhatsApp and have photos sent to me, they do not open. I receive a message: The sd-card is missing.
- The memory card might contain read errors, and the messenger does not detect it. The solution is to check the media for errors according to the instructions.
- If no errors found, you will need to format the sd card and /or restore the data on it.
You have reflashed the phone. Installing Whatsapp restored what was on the old one. How to restore the pictures to the phone with the new firmware?
You will most likely fail to restore the locally saved /files (reflashing deletes the data from the internal memory). Restore will be possible only from backup copy. Or export photos and video on the old phone, then import them to the new phone.