How to Recover Photos from Broken Phone

Summary: In this blog post, we share the best DIY methods to recover the photos from your broken or damaged Android phone.

Jack couldn’t believe that his one grand Galaxy S10 was a goner… it had just ‘slipped off’ his hand and hit the ground hard. Lying dead on the floor with a cracked screen, the S10 made a painful sight. But the next moment he realized that he was in for deeper trouble…the precious family photos on his phone were supposedly lost forever…Anger and grief swept his mind.

You may be able to replay a similar situation, with worrisome thoughts of losing your treasure trove of photos stored on a broken phone.

But first, are the photos even recoverable from a broken phone?

The answer is, it depends. A physically damaged phone doesn’t mean total data loss. However, the successful recovery of photos (and the method) would largely depend on the kind and extent of damage to your phone.

Data from a severely damaged Android phone can be retrieved best by professional data recovery service providers in their specialized labs. However, there are do-it-yourself tools and techniques that can help you recover photos from the broken phone.

So, before you take your phone to a mobile data recovery center, try out the following DIY methods to recover the photos from your broken or damaged Android phone.

DIY Methods to recover photos from broken Android phone

recover photos from broken phone
Use AutoPlay on your computer to retrieve photos
Recover photos from Google Drive
Use Stellar Photo Recovery  

Method 1: Use AutoPlay to retrieve photos

Works in the situation:

  • You can see the display but the touch is not working
  • Smartphone screen is cracked
  • Touch is not working
  • Display is black
  • USB slot of your phone is working

Utilize the AutoPlay feature on your computer to get the photos from your broken Android phone. For this method, the USB slot of your phone should be working, as it requires connecting a USB cable for the purpose. The USB debugging should be enabled so that you can connect the phone to a Windows PC via USB cable.

Steps to recover photos from broken phone with USB debugging enabled:

  • Connect your broken/cracked phone to the PC via USB cable
  • AutoPlay window appears on PC. Click Open folder to view files
  • As the files from the broken phone appear on your computer screen, select, copy and paste the photos to your computer at another location

However, if the USB debugging is Off, you can see nothing on the screen when you connect your phone to the computer. In that case, just use an OTG cable for connecting your Android phone to a mouse and then control the operations of the broken phone with the mouse. Your phone should support an OTG cable for the same.

1. Simply connect your Android phone to an OTG cable.

2. Connect the mouse to the cable.

3. Then recover photos and other media files from the broken phone.

If the photos are saved to an SD card, then remove the SD card from the broken phone and insert it into another working smartphone.

Method 2: Recover photos from Google Drive

Works in situation:

  • You can see the display but the touch is not working
  • Phone screen is cracked
  • Display is black
  • The phone has hanged or frozen
  • Phone is broken badly
  • The backup and sync with Google Drive is enabled

Google Drive backup and sync feature allow you to access the photos on all your synced devices. You can easily recover broken smartphone photos on your computer with the help of Google Drive.

The app stores all your photos saved on Android phone including Gallery pictures and those shared via WhatsApp messages app etc.

Steps to restore Android pictures from Google Drive:

  • Open Google Drive on your computer in Chrome browser
restore Android pictures from Google Drive
  • All the photos stored in phone appear. Right click on photos and download on to your computer

Method 3: Use Stellar Photo Recovery software

Works in situation

  • Phone’s display is not working
  • Phone screen is cracked
  • Touch is not working
  • Display is black
  • Phone has hanged or frozen
  • SD card is present in your phone

Almost every Android phone has the SD card option to store photos and videos. If your photos were saved in the memory card, use an SD card photo recovery software — Stellar Photo Recovery. The software retrieves pictures from the broken Android phone’s storage card. It can also recover deleted or lost photos from damaged, corrupt, formatted, and inaccessible mobile phone SD cards. Read to know more

Stellar Photo Recovery can retrieve photos from memory cards of all Android phones including Samsung, Nokia, Redmi, Sony, HTC, LG, etc.

Photo Recovery photo recovery mac

Carefully take out the mobile SD card from the slot of your broken phone and follow the given steps.

Steps to retrieve photos from broken phone SD card:

  • Download, install and launch the trial* version of Stellar Photo Recovery on your PC or Mac
  • Connect the phone SD card to computer via card reader
  • Select your SD card from the location window. Click Scan
Stellar Photo Recovery Standard
  • Click Recover
  • Once the scan is completed, Preview all your recoverable photos.
Stellar Photo Recovery- Preview
  • Activate the software and Save the photos at your desired location

*The trial software scans the media and shows a preview of all the recoverable files. Once you are able to ascertain the effectiveness, you can save the recoverable files by activating the software.

Photo Recovery photo recovery mac

SD card of your broken phone is inaccessible or asks to format when you connect it to computer.

What you can do

Do a Chkdsk scan on your computer as per the steps given here. If the card is still inaccessible or throws formatting error, recover the photos by using Stellar Photo Recovery. The software can detect the
corrupt, damaged, inaccessible, or formatted SD card and foster recovery from it. Once you restore photos from the SD card,
format it to reuse.

Steps to perform Chkdsk scan

  • Go to Windows Start and type cmd in
    the Search box
  • Right-click cmd and select Run as Administrator
  • A command prompt opens,
    type chkdsk < SDXC card drive
    (e.g., chkdsk E: /f)
  • Hit Enter

To Sum Up

Physical damage is a possibility with any smartphone, no matter how much claim is made around their evolving sturdiness. The screen is made of glass and therefore fragile (maybe a few degrees lesser with tempered glass protection, etc.). But, a physically damaged phone shouldn’t bother you about losing the photos stored on the phone. Of course, a damaged pricey device will burn a hole in your pocket, but an emotional comfort is that the photos can be salvaged.

The various DIY photo recovery methods shared in this blog post are worth trying before approaching a professional service provider. To recapitulate the methods— 1. Try retrieving the photos from your broken Android phone by connecting it to the computer through a USB cable; 2. Use Google Drive backup (if available) which is a convenient option to restore the mobile phone pictures; 3. Try out Stellar Photo Recovery software to get back the photos stored on your phone’s SD card.

If these DIY methods don’t work, then visiting a professional Android mobile data recovery expert should help.


  1. AKilan November 3, 2020
    • Sumona Chatterjee November 4, 2020

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