From photos to text messages, there are hundreds of important files 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 ̵
While there are a few Android-only apps you can install to recover data that way, we focused on cross-platform software options so that iOS devices can also reap the benefits. You install these applications on your computer, and then connect your phone to the computer via a cable and run the scan. And to have the best chance of success, you should stop using the device you lost files on immediately until you access this software. Otherwise, you risk overwriting your files in whole or in part, making them permanently unrecoverable.
Disclaimer: Use at your own risk
While you may be lucky and recover 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 examined these products, we can not guarantee anyone else. If you decide to use another product, be aware that they may be spammy or malicious, or access and use your data in a way that you do not want to authorize. This is especially likely for many free options, for what it’s worth, since paid options for this type of software are usually more on the way 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 the same way. However, some offer wider compatibility and have more features than others, so it’s worth taking a moment to learn about what to expect:
- Device compatibility: Most of these applications work on both Android and iOS, but a few 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 wide variety of file types, such as photos, videos, music, notes, documents, mobile bookmarks, reminders, call logs, calls, messages, and message attachments. Few programs are able to search for all of these, and most focus only on simple things like media, messaging, and call logs.
- Scan and recovery speed: These programs usually work in three parts – the initial scan, preview, and recovery. Unfortunately, speed is not an indicator of how efficient a program will be in finding or recovering lost files, so just because your program completed the scan super fast (or alternatively took several minutes or hours), does not mean it will succeed in retrieving enter all lost files. Some programs run faster than others, but this can only help alleviate any worries you may have about waiting for the software to run.
- Ease of 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 wizard that guides you through the process, go a long way to making the recovery process less stressful. They should also make it easy to access support resources if you need them.
- Access to technical support: This type of software should definitely have many options to help you use or troubleshoot it. Ideally, it will have 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 PCs running Windows XP and later. From there, just connect your phone to your computer with a cable, specify the folder on the computer you want to save the recovered files in, and then preview and pick out the files you want to get back. The files will then be restored and the software will give you real-time updates as it goes. There are also free versions of the software for Android and iOS, but with limits on how much you can scan and recover, but a free option is a good place to start, as it can do exactly what you need.
For Android, the application can recover lost data due to device error, accidental deletion, rooting, SD card issues, viruses and improper handling. It can save lost contacts, text messages, photos, videos, music, notes, documents and voice memos. Lost contacts can be exported in SCV, HTML and VCF format.
The iPhone version can recover the same file types, as well as calls, call logs, reminders, calendar events, and Safari bookmarks. It can recover lost data due to 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 comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. It also has an extremely large selection of compatible devices and can be installed on either Windows and macOS computers.
The Android version can recover deleted contacts, messages, photos, videos, audio, calls, call logs, document files. It can scan for and recover data caused by root errors, viruses, factory reset, crashes, ROM flashes, accidental deletion and corrupted screens. It is compatible with over 6000 Android phones and tablets, with direct support for all Android devices running at least Android 2.3.
For iPhone, the same file types can be recovered, along with Safari data, reminders, notes and calendar events caused by accidental deletion, corrupted or corrupted devices, failed OS update or on a stolen or lost device. It can recover files directly on your device, along with those in iCloud or iTunes Backup. Jihosoft supports literally all iOS devices running at least iOS 5, including old iPads and iPods (like touch, Nano, Shuffle, Mini and Classic).
Saves a copy to your computer: MyJad Android Data Recovery
MyJad Android Data Recovery ($ 49.95) is unfortunately only available for Android. However, it works with a decent selection of phones running Android, including those from Samsung, Motorola, LG and HTC. It can recover files such as call log, contacts, text messages, videos, pictures and audio files, and even lets you preview files before recovering them.
After installing and running MyJad and connecting to your phone, you will see two options: “Scan contacts, call logs and messages” and “Scan photos, videos or other files.” Choose which one you want (or both, if necessary) and click “Start”. The software claims the scan is fast, only takes a few seconds, but warns that if you have lots of stored data, it may take longer. You can make a copy of recovered files and save them on your computer. Messages and contacts are saved in .TXT format; images such as PNG, JPG, GIF or BMP; and audio and videos such as MP3, WMV, MP4, MOV, AVI, 3GP, 3G2 and SWF.
The most affordable for iOS: Stellar Data Recovery
Stellar offers data recovery software for iOS ($ 39.99) and offers fairly comprehensive recovery options while being one of the less expensive applications. It can recover instant messages from several of the major instant messaging services, as well as Safari bookmarks, call logs, contacts, photos, videos, calendar events, and other files on most devices running iOS. It can even perform a deep scan only on the basis of a file signature. Stellar software can also access and recover data from iCloud Backup files and even encrypted iTunes Backup files. The software is effective in recovering data from a variety of scenarios, be it a factory reset, jailbreaking, a damaged phone, frozen device and more. This version of Stellar works on new and old iPhones and iPads, and can be installed on either Windows or MacOS.
Editor’s note: The Android version, which was originally highlighted in this post, has been removed by Stellar. The post has been updated to reflect this.
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 recovery software for iPhones and Android devices to the public over eight years ago. Three-step data recovery software can be installed on either Windows computers (running at least Windows XP) or Macs (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 file types that the Android version can, regardless of how the data loss scenario. However, it can also scan for and restore files on iTunes and iCloud accounts in addition to the device. Dr.Fone can run on iPhone 4 or later, all types of iPads and iPod touch 4 and 5. The iPhone version also lets you preview data and choose what you want to keep before restoring it, saving time. Lost data can be recovered immediately on the device.