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 photos and videos in the cloud so that they are accessible on any device, any location, and are easy to share with friends and family. If you accidentally delete a photo, Google keeps your photos and videos in the trash for 60 days before they are deleted forever.

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.

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 will be gone. There is also an option to permanently delete an individual photo, and any photos deleted this way cannot be recovered.

To retrieve your deleted Google photos, follow these step-by-step instructions whether you are using a computer or an Android or iOS device.

How to Retrieve Google Backup Photos on Your Computer

  1. To recover photos from Google backup on your computer, sign into the Google account where the Google Photos are stored.

  2. Open Google Photos. 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. Find the photos or videos you want to restore, and click the small checkmark within the circle in the top left of the photo for each photo.

    Screenshot showing checked photos in Google Photos Trash.
  4. Click the clock icon at the upper right of the screen, to the left of the trash icon.

  5. You will see a message flash at the bottom of the screen that says, Restoring Items to the Library.

How to Retrieve Google Backup Photos on Android

  1. Restore photos from Google backup on your Android device by opening the Google Photos app.

  2. Tap the horizontal bar menu on the top left side of the screen, and on the pop-out menu, tap Trash.

    Screenshot of Google Photos menu.
  3. Tap the word Restore in the top left side of the screen.

    Screenshot of Restore screen in Google Photos
  4. A transparent circle will appear on the top left side of each photo in the trash.

    Screenshot of restore circle on Google Photos
  5. Tap the circle for each photo you would like to restore.

  6. Once all the photos you would like to restore are selected, tap Restore at the bottom of the screen.

How to Retrieve Google Backup Photos on iPhone

  1. To restore pictures you accidentally deleted on your iPhone, open the Google Photos app and tap the horizontal menu icon on the top left of the screen

  2. A pop-up window will fill the left side of the screen. Tap Trash.

    Screenshot of iOS device showing pop-up menu in
  3. Tap the word Restore on the top right side of the screen.

  4. Each photo in your trash will now have a circle in the top left of the photo. Tap the circle of each photo you would like to restore.

  5. Once you are finished selecting the images and videos you'd like to keep, tap Restore on the bottom right side of the screen.

What Happens When You Restore a Google Photo

Once Google has completed the restore process, any pictures or videos you have selected will automatically appear back in the Google photos library, and will also appear in any Google Photo Albums you previously added the photos. You can now access the photos by any device signed into the account.

What To Do If The Photo is Not in the Trash

If you are 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 photos.

  • When you delete photos and videos in Google Photos, Google does not 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, your photos will still be there.
  • Check all of your Google Photo Albums to see if the photo 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 the device storage to see if the photos are still there.

You can only delete photos from a Google Photo Album if you are the owner of the photos. You cannot delete photos from an album which you do not own. Only the owner can remove photos from a shared album.

Google Photos Not Syncing Across Devices? Try This

If your devices do not 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.