This post was first published in Dec 2012 and was updated in June 2017
It’s all too easy to do a simple swipe on your Android device and delete something important – be it a contact, text message or everything on your phone. Thankfully, in the modern digital world, things are rarely lost forever. Whether you consider that a scary or beautiful thought is a matter of personal preference, but either way it’s good to know that you can regain what you have lost.
Here’s how to recover various settings and data on your Android that you may have thought you’d lost forever.
How to Use Google Backup
It’s unlikely that you’ll have accidentally deleted all the data on your Android device. (If you have somehow managed it, then we’d be interested to hear how in the comments.) What’s more likely to happen is that your phone gets bricked, making everything on it inaccessible. Thankfully, there’s a very easy way to get around this.
You need to tell Google to automatically back up all the data on your Android device. To make sure this feature is switched on, on your device go to “Settings -> Backup & reset” and set “Back up my data” to “On.” You should also switch on the “Automatic restore” slider which will ensure that, where possible, apps that you restore will come back with all your data and settings intact.
Now, on your new or fixed phone, it’s just a case of signing into your Google account, and your backed-up data will automatically get restored to the device. Simple.
Recover Google Contacts
Deleted the number of an important business contact or perhaps got rid of a Tinder date when all you wanted to do was go for a drink with them? No worries, Google syncs the contacts on your phone with your Google account by default, and even though deleting them on your phone will also instantaneously delete them across all of your Google-connected devices, you can get them back (within thirty days).
Sign into your Google account on a computer, click “Gmail” on the left, then select “Contacts.” On the Contacts page click “More” in the pane on the left, then “Undo changes.” Here you’ll be able to restore your Contacts to any state they were in up to the last thirty days, so you’ll be able to recover any that you deleted in that time period.
If you STILL Can’t Recover What You Want
If the above methods don’t solve your problem, then you may need to look into one of the data recovery apps for Android. A reason why the Google method might not work is that whatever you deleted was deleted well before Google backed up your device, and the automatic backup was already made after the data was deleted.
Generally, Android data recovery and undeleting works more effectively with a rooted device. To that end, DiskDigger has always served me well, with the free version doing the job, and the Pro version costing merely $3. DigDeep is also very good and doesn’t cost a penny!
Plenty of solutions were presented here to that most common of problems. The best thing you can do to cover yourself is to always keep your device backed up and check every now and then to make sure your device is doing it. While you’re at it, use apps’ internal settings where possible to make backups of your photos, podcast libraries, music, or whatever data that app contains. There’s no harm in stacking your backups!