From photos to text messages, there are hundreds of important files that you can lose on your smartphone in any number of scenarios. Fortunately, there is software out there that can help you at least try to recover lost files, and we have the best choices ̵1; whether you use Android or iPhone.
Although there are some Android-only apps that you can install to recover data that way, we focused on platform software options so that iOS devices can also take advantage of them. You install these programs on your computer and then connect the phone to your computer via a cable and run the scan. And to get the best possible chance of success, you should stop using the device you lost files on immediately until you have access to this software. Otherwise, you risk completely or partially overwriting your files, making them permanently irreversible.
Disclaimer: Use at your own risk
Although you may be lucky and restore everything with one of these programs, there is never a guarantee that will always (or ever) be the case. The software is something you should use as a last resort after you have tried everything else you can think of to get your files back.
Although we have inspected these products, we can not guarantee any others. If you decide to use another product, be aware that they may be spammy or harmful, or access and use your data in a way that you do not approve. This is especially likely for many free options, for what it’s worth, because paid options for this type of software are usually more up and up.
What to look for in Data Recovery Software
The goal of these programs is to help you recover lost data, and they all work in much the same way. However, some offer wider compatibility and have more features than others, so it’s worth taking a moment to learn what to expect:
- Device compatibility: Most of these applications work on both Android and iOS, but some only support one platform. Android devices tend to have more options available to them, as they are less locked than Apple devices. Similarly, most are only available for Windows, but we found two that can be installed on macOS. Be sure to verify the compatibility between your devices and the application you are interested in before purchasing it.
- File compatibility: The best smartphone recovery software can handle a variety of file types, such as photos, videos, music, notes, documents, mobile bookmarks, reminders, call logs, chats, messages, and message attachments. Few programs can search for all of these, and most focus only on simple things like media, messages, and call logs.
- Scan and recovery speed: These programs usually work in three parts – the initial scan, the preview, and the reset. Unfortunately, speed is not an indicator of how efficiently a program will find or completely recover your lost files, so just because your program completed its scan super fast (or alternatively took several minutes or hours) does not mean that it will succeed in recover all your lost files. However, some programs run faster than others, but this can only help calm any concerns you have about waiting for the software to run.
- Easy to use: Because data recovery software is not the kind of thing you use every day, and because you use it while feeling stressed about losing important files, it should be easy to use. Programs with a purely intuitive interface or with a guide that guides you through the process go a long way to make the recovery process less stressful. They should also make it easy to access support resources if you need to.
- Access to technical support: This type of software should definitely have many options to help you use or troubleshoot it. Ideally, it has built-in help options as well as a knowledge base and frequently asked questions on the developer’s website and a way to contact actual customer support agents.
Real-time alerts: EaseUS MobiSaver
EaseUS MobiSaver has recovery software for both Android (for $ 39.95) and iOS (for $ 59.95). It can be installed on computers running Windows XP and later. From there, just connect the phone to your computer with a cable, enter the folder on your computer where you want to store the recovered files and then preview and select the files you want to get back. The files will then be restored and the software will give you real-time updates whenever possible. There are also free versions of the software for Android and iOS, but with limits on how much you can scan and restore, but a free option is a good place to start, as it can do exactly what you need.
For Android, the program can recover data lost through device errors, accidental deletion, rooting, SD card problems, viruses and improper handling. It can save lost contacts, text messages, photos, videos, music, notes, documents and voice memos. Lost contacts can be exported as SCV, HTML and VCF formats.
The iPhone version can recover the same types of files as well as chats, call history, reminders, calendar events and Safari bookmarks. It can recover data lost through deletion, device damage, failed jailbreak, system crash, virus, OS update error and user error. MobiSaver can recover data from your iOS device as well as from iTunes Backup and iCloud Backup. It works on iPhones as old as the iPhone 3GS, iPads as old as the original iPad with Retina display and iPod touch 4, 5 and 6.
Widest Compatibility Options: Jihosoft Android Phone Recovery
Jihosoft offers recovery software for Android ($ 49.95) and iOS ($ 59). The software works in three easy steps and has a 30-day money-back guarantee. It also has an extremely wide range of compatible devices and can be installed on either Windows and macOS computers.
The Android version can recover deleted contacts, messages, photos, videos, sounds, chats, call logs, document files. It can scan for and recover data caused by root errors, viruses, factory resets, crashes, ROM flashes, accidental deletion and broken screens. It is compatible with over 6000 Android phones and tablets, with direct support for every Android device running at least Android 2.3.
For iPhone, the same types of files can be recovered, along with Safari data, reminders, notes and calendar events caused by accidental deletion, broken or damaged device, failed OS update or on a stolen or lost device. It can restore files directly on your device, along with them in your iCloud or iTunes Backup. Jihosoft literally supports all iOS devices running at least iOS 5, including old iPads and iPods (like touch, Nano, Shuffle, Mini and Classic).
Stores a copy on your computer: MyJad Android Data Recovery
MyJad Android Data Recovery ($ 49.95) is unfortunately only available for Android. However, it works with a decent range of phones running Android, including those of Samsung, Motorola, LG and HTC. It can recover files like your call history, contacts, text messages, videos, photos and audio files and even lets you preview files before recovering them.
After installing and running MyJad and connecting your phone, you will see two options: “Scan contacts, call history and messages” and “Scan photos, videos or other files.” Select the one you want (or both, if needed) and click “Start”. The software claims that the scan is fast, only takes a few seconds, but warns that if you have lots of saved data, it may take longer. You can make a copy of all the recovered files and save them on your computer. Messages and contacts are stored in .TXT format; photos such as PNG, JPG, GIF or BMP; and audio and video such as MP3, WMV, MP4, MOV, AVI, 3GP, 3G2 and SWF.
Free for Android (paid for iOS): Stellar Data Recovery
Stellar offers data recovery software for Android (free) and iOS ($ 39.99). For Android, you can recover data such as messages, documents, chats, call history, contacts, videos, photos and sounds. It can scan and recover deleted or formatted data from internal storage on over 6000 Android phones and tablets running at least Android 4.0. The software allows you to preview files found in the scan, so you can review the details before restoring them. It also lets you view contact information, rotate photos and read chats to make sure they are what you want to keep.
Although Stellar does not state why it made its Android version free but chose to charge for its iPhone version, it is still one of the cheaper options for iPhones overall. It also seems pretty thorough what it can do. It can recover chat messages from several of the major chat services, as well as Safari bookmarks, call history, contacts, photos, videos, and it can even perform an in-depth scan based on a file signature. It can access iCloud Backup files and even encrypted iTunes Backup files. This version of Stellar works on iPhones all the way back to iPhone 4s, and it is compatible with Windows and MacOS computers.
The most experienced mobile data recovery experience: Wondershare Dr.Fone
Wondershare Dr.Fone has options for both Android ($ 39.95 per year or $ 49.95 for lifetime access) and iOS ($ 59.95 per year or $ 69.95 for lifetime access). The brand was the first to release data rescue software for iPhones and Android devices to the public over eight years ago. The three-step data management software can be installed on either Windows computers (running at least Windows XP) or Mac computers (running at least MacOS 10.8).
The Android version claims that it can recover all types of data, no matter how you lost it. It is compatible with over 6000 Android devices, including those from Google, Motorola, LG, OnePlus, Huawei, Sony, Samsung and Xiaomi, as long as they run Android 2.1 or higher.
Fortunately, the iPhone version is a little more robust. It can recover all the same types of files that the Android version can, no matter what the data loss scenario. However, it can also search for and restore files on your iTunes and iCloud accounts in addition to your device. Dr.Fone can run on iPhone 4 or later, all types of iPads and iPod touch 4 and 5. With the iPhone version, you can also preview data and choose what you want to keep before restoring it, saving time. Lost data can be recovered directly on your device.