How to Retrieve Google Backup Photos

Accidentally delete something? There's a fix for that

Empty photo album

Google Photos is a great way to store your images and videos in the cloud so they're accessible on any device, in any location, and easy to share with friends and family. To ensure your photos are stored in Google and accessible on any device, download Google Backup and Sync for your computer, your Android devices, and iOS devices. Backup and Sync ensures your photos are safely stored in Google Photos, freeing up storage space on your devices, and that your activity is synced across devices.

If you accidentally delete a photo or video, Google keeps it in the trash for 60 days before it's gone forever. But, you can retrieve it before that happens. Here's how.

Google keeps photos in your recycle bin for 60 days. You can also manually empty the recycle bin before the 60 days, and if you do, any photos you sent there are gone. There's also an option to permanently delete an individual photo, and any photos deleted this way cannot be recovered.

How to Retrieve Google Backup Photos on Your Computer

To retrieve your deleted Google photos on PC, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. To recover photos on your computer, first sign in to the Google account where the images were stored.

  2. You can also access the items in Google trash by clicking the three horizontal bars in the top left side of the screen, and tapping Trash in the pop-out menu.

  3. Open Google Photos Trash. You can find it by pressing the menu icon on the left-hand side.

    Access Google Photos' trash bin in the menu on the left-hand side
  4. Find the photos or videos you want to restore and click the small checkmark within the circle in the top left of each one.

  5. Select the Restore link in the top-right corner of the screen.

    The Restore option in Google Photos can save a previously deleted photo

How to Retrieve Google Backup Photos on Android and iOS

The process for retrieving deleted content in Google Photos on Android and iOS differs slightly from the PC method.

  1. Open the Google Photos app and tap the horizontal bar menu on the top-left side of the screen.

  2. Select Trash.

  3. If you're on Android, tap the Restore link on the top-right side of the screen. If you're on iOS, tap Select.

  4. A transparent circle appears on the top-left side of each photo in the trash bin. Tap each one you want to restore.

    Screenshots depicting how to restore images in Google Photos on Android
  5. Once all the photos are selected, tap Restore at the bottom of the screen.

What Happens When You Restore a Google Photo

Once Google completes the restore process, any pictures or videos you selected automatically appear back in the Google Photos library. They also appear in any Google Photo Albums you previously had them in. You can now access the images on any device signed into the account.

What to Do If the Photo Is Not in the Trash

If you're unable to find your missing photos in the trash, and you are beyond the 60-day expiration time frame, there still may be some hope in restoring your lost images. Here are some things you can try:

  • When you delete photos and videos in Google Photos, Google doesn't automatically delete them from Blogger, YouTube, or Gmail. To delete photos from these services, you must delete them within each service. If you added any of the photos to any of these services, they'll still be there.
  • Check all of your Google Photo Albums to see if the image you're looking for may be hiding there.
  • If you have multiple Google accounts, log into the other accounts to see if the photo may be stored there.
  • If you shared the photo with someone else, ask them to check their email messages or their device storage to see if the photos are still there.

You can only delete photos from a Google Photos Album if you're the owner of the photos. You cannot delete photos from an album you don't own. Only the owner can remove images from a shared album.

Google Photos Not Syncing Across Devices? Try This

If your devices don't seem to be syncing across your devices, open the Google Photo menu and go to Settings to ensure that Google Backup and Sync is turned on.