WhatsApp photos are stored not only in chats. The file you've accidentally deleted from one place is likely to be found somewhere else: in a conversation, its backup copy or in your device file storage. If searching for it wasn't successful, try to recover that image via recovery programs for Android and Windows.
All photos that have ever been sent from your device or received via WhatsApp are automatically saved. On devices running under Android you'll find the multimedia from this messenger in the folder called WhatsApp (in the internal memory).
There are three subfolders inside the WhatsApp directory. Open "Media", find "WhatsApp Images" in it and go through its contents. Generally, if a photo has been removed from a chat, but not from your smartphone gallery, you'll find it in that folder.
On some smartphones and tablets models the folder with WhatsApp files can be stored not in their internal storage but on a removable media storage device, for example, a microsd memory card. This usually happens if you have a Chinese device with modified (rooted) firmware.
In addition to "Media", there is a "Backup" directory inside the WhatsApp folder, where all the backups are stored. Messenger generates them automatically once a day/ week/ month (if this function has previously been enabled in the settings). Backups are created every night by default.
If you've deleted from Android Gallery and a chat a photo which was sent more than a day ago, try recovering it from a backup. In order to recover a files or a chat from a backup you have to:
- Uninstall WhatsApp messenger.
- Reinstall it.
- Enter your phone number in order to sign in to your account.
- When the system suggests recovering the data from your backup copy, agree to it.
- Wait for the installation and recovery process to complete.
Remember that your backup copy has the files which you've received within the last week. It's likely that the documents you're looking for won't be in that archive.
Moreover, we advise you to set up an every day backup (to prevent an accidental deletion of data). You can do it via the settings in "Chats" section → "Chats backup".
In Whatsapp latest version media files and documents are stored on the server. Any of them can be downloaded again, if you haven't deleted the chat in where they were sent. This can be done both via mobile and browser version of the messenger.
In order to open the browser version on your computer:
- Open the link web.whatsapp.com in a browser.
- Open the app on your phone and scan the QR code (The settings → WhatsApp Web).
- Wait until all your data is downloaded and you can use the messenger.
DiskDigger or Undeleter apps might be useful, if you don't have the chat with the image you need anymore, but that image has previously been downloaded to your smartphone memory. The mentioned above apps allow you to find deleted files that haven't been overwritten yet. The thing is that when you delete a file it's only marked as a “suitable for overwriting” and not destroyed. Due to this accidentally erased documents and multimedia can be found, especially if it hasn't been a long time since their deletion.
The algorithm of actions in DiskDigger or Undeleter mobile versions is the same:
- Launch one of the apps.
- Choose a scanning path, in your case it should be the address of the folder with Whatsapp media files.
- Wait till the searching process is completed.
- Go through the results and mark the files you want to recover.
- Choose where to save the recovered files and click "Recover".
Recuva utility is a desktop counterpart of the above-mentioned DiskDigger or Undeleter. Root isn't required for recovering photos via it, but this app only works with your phone sd card.
Recuva analyzes the memory of your gadget which should be connected to a computer and finds the files with the required extension. After the analysis is complete, you can select the images you need and recover them in a couple of clicks.
The procedure of Whatsapp photo recovery is the following:
- Launch Recuva.
- Select the storage device from which the document has been deleted.
- Start the analysis.
- Select the desired file and recover it via the corresponding feature.
Forwarded media is saved on the devices of all the participants of a WhatsApp chat. So if nothing works out, there's one obvious and easy way which is to reach out to someone with whom you were chatting and sharing files. The sender or recipient of the image you need can send it you again, and you'll save time that could be wasted on searching, adjusting and trying to figure out how "Recuva" and its counterparts work.