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Recovering photos from Whatsapp: the best ways and programs
Written by: Ilia
Data recovery specialist, guest author, journalist.
WhatsApp photos are not only stored 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.
- The Easy Option: Ask for a copy of the photo from its sender or recipient.
- Where are WhatsApp photos stored?
- How to restore WhatsApp images from a backup file
- How to recover WhatsApp photos from a chat
- Using DiskDigger or Undeleter to find a deleted photo on your phone
- How to retrieve deleted WhatsApp photos on an SD card via Recuva
- Questions - Answers
The Easy Option: Ask for a copy of the photo from its sender or recipient.
Forwarded media is saved on the devices of all the participants of a WhatsApp chat. So iIf nothing works out, anthere's one obvious and easy way to get the file 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 to you again, and you'll save time that could be wasted on searching, adjusting and trying to figure out how the various recovery tools"Recuva" and its counterparts work.
If this isn't possible, or the sender/recipient needs help locating the file themselves, some of the following instructions may help.
Where are WhatsApp photos stored?
All photos that have ever been sent from your device or received via WhatsApp are automatically saved. On devices running 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" and find "WhatsApp Images" 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 tablet models, the folder with WhatsApp files are stored on a removable media storage device, for example, a micro SD memory card, rather than on internal memory. This usually happens if you have a Chinese device with modified (rooted) firmware.
How to restore WhatsApp images from a backup file
In addition to the "Media" folder, there is a "Backups" directory inside the WhatsApp folder where all the backups are stored.
|WhatsApp folder with photos|
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 a photo from Android Gallery and/or a chat which was sent more than a day ago, try recovering it from a backup. In order to recover images 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 everyday backup to prevent an accidental deletion of pics / data. You can do it via the settings in "Chats" section called "Chats backup".
How to recover WhatsApp photos from a chat
In the latest version of WhatsApp, media files and documents are stored on the server. Any of them can be downloaded again if you haven't deleted the chat in which they were sent. This can be done by either mobile and browser versions 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 (Settings → WhatsApp Web).
- Wait until all your data is downloaded and you can use the messenger.
|Recovering chat via the WhatsApp mobile app|
Using DiskDigger or Undeleter to find a deleted photo on your phone
DiskDigger or Undeleter apps for Android might be useful if you no longer have a chat with the image you need, but that image has previously been downloaded to your smartphone memory. These apps allow you to find deleted files that haven't been overwritten yet. This is possible because when you delete a file, it's only marked as a “suitable for overwriting” and not destroyed. Thus, accidentally erased documents and multimedia can be found, especially if it hasn't been a long time since their deletion.
The sequence of actions in DiskDigger or Undeleter mobile versions is the same:
- Launch one of the apps on Android.
- 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 pics and click "Recover."
|DiskDigger photo recovery|
How to retrieve deleted WhatsApp photos on an SD card via Recuva
The Recuva utility is a free desktop counterpart of the above-mentioned DiskDigger or Undeleter. Root isn't required for recovering photos with it, but this app only works with your phone’s SD card.
Recuva analyzes the memory of your gadget, which must 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:
- Download and launch Recuva. (It's free.)
- Select the storage device from which the document has been deleted, e.g."In a specific location".
- Enable deep scan ("Start" button);
- Select the desired file and recover it via the corresponding feature.
Questions - Answers
Is there a way to recover from your phone internal memory the WhatsApp photos (from WhatsApp photos folder) which were deleted when clearing the cache?
In theory definitely yes. When in practice it depends on too many factors. First of all, root access as well as installed DiskDigger for Android app (or alternatively Undeleter) are required. We recommend to waste no time since your photos may be overwritten by other apps.
I've deleted the WhatsApp app from my phone (Android 10 OS). Along with it all the app photos and videos were also deleted. How can I recover them?
- Reinstall WhatsApp mobile app on Android via Play Store.
- Link your account when launching the messenger for the first time.
- If you have a backup copy of WhatsApp data, you'll be prompted to restore it.
- Check whether the files are displayed now.
I was sent some photos and videos via WhatsApp. One morning I discovered that I saw only empty windows which then completely disappeared. What should I do to recover the photos?
The easiest way is to ask the other person to re-send the files. Since WhatsApp doesn't store any files on its server, you can only recover the data from backup copies, if you have any, of course (on your phone or Google Drive).
When I run WhatsApp I can't open the received photos. A notification appears stating that a SD card is missing.
- There might be some reading errors on your memory card due to which the messenger can't detect it. The solution is to check the storage drive for errors.
- If no errors are found, you have to format the SD card and / or recover the data stored on it.
My phone was reflashed. When installing WhatsApp, the data from the previous version was recovered. How can I recover the photos onto the phone with a new firmware?
It's unlikely that you'll be able to recover locally saved files (since all data is erased from the internal memory of a device when you reflash it). You can recover only the data from backup copies. Another way is to export photos and videos on your old phone and then import them onto your new phone.
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