How to Recover Deleted files from Phone’s Memory Card

SD cards in phones are used to contain important files related to work and personal life. The data usually consists of photos, videos, documents, messages, contacts, and more. The SD cards used in phones—micro SD card—are quite fragile and can easily get damaged if not used correctly.

Similar to any other flash storage media, SD cards are also prone to logical failure and corruption. Also, accidental deletion is extremely common among phone users.

Therefore, in this guide, we show you how to recover deleted photos and other files from a memory card. Also, how data can be restored from a formatted or corrupt memory card—if it suddenly stops working.

Further, to help safeguard against future data loss, we have mentioned a few pro tips at the end of the post that you can use to prevent permanent data loss in a smartphone.

Recover Deleted Files from Memory Card

Deleted files from an SD card can be recovered only with the help of a data recovery software. That’s why SD card manufacturers such as SanDisk provides a free license to data recovery software for one year. However, that comes with their expensive Extreme and Extreme Pro series cards.

Below are the steps to restore deleted data such as photos, videos, documents and more from an SD card:

Step 1: Download and install Stellar Data Recovery Software in Windows PC

Step 2: Remove the SD card from the phone and connect it to the PC using an SD card adapter

Step 3: Run the software and select what files to recover

Step 4: Click ‘Next’ and choose the connected SD card volume listed under ‘Connected Drives

Step 5: Turn on ‘Deep Scan’ toggle switch that appears at the bottom-left of the corner and click ‘Scan.

Step 6: After the scan is finished, click on a file to see its preview. Click ‘File Type’ tab in the left pane to sort the files based on the file types. Use the search bar to locate lost files quickly

Step 7: Locate and select the files that were deleted. Then click ‘Recover.’

Step 8: Click ‘Browse’ and choose a location where to save recovered data. Click ‘Start Saving

Recover Data from a Formatted SD Card

The steps are the same as mentioned above. Just select what data to recover, choose the formatted SD card volume to scan, and save the recovered data at a desired location.

Recover from Corrupt SD Card

When an SD card becomes unreadable and stops working, data gets trapped. However, data can be recovered from such corrupt and unreadable SD card with the data recovery software.

Again, steps are same if the SD card volume is visible under the ‘Connected Drives’ list. In case the volume isn’t visible, follow these steps:

  1. On the Select Location screen, choose ‘Can’t Find Drive’ and click ‘Scan.
  2. Under Select Drive, choose the SD card and click ‘Search.
  3. The search lists the logical volume that existed in the SD card. If the volume is not listed, click ‘Deep Scan.
  4. Then select the SD card partition under ‘Partitions Found’ list and click ‘Scan.
  5. After the scan, if desired files are not listed, click ‘Click Here’ link at the bottom of the software screen
  6. Click on a file to preview it. Use search or click ‘File Type’ tab to locate and sort data
  7. Select the required data and click ‘Recover.
  8. Click ‘Browse’ and choose a save location. Then click ‘Start Saving.

So, that’s how one can recover deleted photos from memory card even if it’s formatted or severely corrupt.

Quick Tips to Prevent Data Loss in Phones

  • Keep backup—use local storage and cloud to backup critical data
  • Activate Recycle Bin Folder in Android Smartphone

Android file explorer apps such as ES Explorer features Recycle Bin tool, which works similar to Windows Recycle Bin. When activated, it saves you from losing files due to accidental deletion.

PLEASE NOTE: The Recycle Bin works in Android and only for internal storage, i.e. files deleted from internal storage are sent to Recycle Bin. Any file or folder deleted from SD card is permanently lost. However, you can always recover data lost from SD card using a data recovery software that we discussed in this guide.

To activate and use the ‘Recycle Bin’ feature in Android smartphones, follow these steps:

  1. Install and open ES Explorer app—available for free on Play Store
  2. Tap on the three lines at the top-right
  3. Go to tools and tap on ‘Recycle Bin’ toggle switch to turn on

From now on, when you delete files from the internal storage of device, the files will be moved to Recycle Bin. It makes it easy to restore accidentally deleted files.

  • Always eject memory card before removing it from a PC or a phone
  • Never format the SD card if it’s not readable or corrupt. Use a data recovery software immediately to recover lost files first and then proceed with SD card formatting


SD cards are a fragile flash storage media made for portable devices such as phones, camera, audio recorders, etc. Micro SD cards in phones can get damaged due to incorrect operations such as removing the card without ejecting. This can lead to corruption and damaged SD card. Accidental file deletion is also quite common.

In this post, we addressed how to recover deleted files from such memory cards and tips to prevent future data loss in phones. One way is to backup, but people often forget to create it in the first place.

In such situations, data recovery software such as the Stellar Data Recovery remains the only option to recover deleted files from an SD memory card. The software supports recovery from all kind of SD cards such as Micro SD, CompactFlash (CF flash), SDHC, SDXC, and more with file system FAT32 or exFAT.

Read about Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery

About gauravkhanna921

|Web Surfing. Writer. Blogger. Self-Believer.| I love to grab the Knowledge and share the fresh dose of finance technology, lifestyle, travel, how-to’s, life lessons through the social platform and my blog. At my free time I love to read new things and write the post of my Tech Brief Stuff blog and share with my social locality.

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