Android phone pictures and media deleting themselves

Are pictures missing from your phone? Have pictures been getting erased from your Android phone for no reason? Are pictures deleting themselves from your phone or SD card and you can’t figure out why? Here are some things you can do to stop your pictures and media from disappearing.

This is a pretty uncommon issue but can happen on any type of Android phone, and it can be extremely annoying, especially if you’re losing irreplaceable photos.

Reboot

If your phone has been on for a while then turn it off, count to ten, and then turn it back on, and even if it hasn’t been on for a while reboot it anyways. Sometimes this very simple step can help solve this issue. Check your pictures and media after restarting your phone and see if they have restored themselves.

Re-insert the memory card

If your phone has a removable storage like an SD card Micro SD card or any type of removable memory card then unmount it and then take it out of the phone (you can reboot the phone with the memory card removed as an extra step) but after removing it, reinsert the memory card, remount the storage and then check your photos and media to see if they are now reading correctly.

Just make sure that you turn off your phone or unmount your memory card first before you remove it from your phone. You can read more about mounting and un-mounting memory cards at What happens when you Unmount SD card on an Android. Typically to unmount a memory card you just go into your Settings tap Storage and then tap Un-Mount SD card, after you put your memory card back into the phone you might have to remount it. Go to Settings then Storage and then tap Mount SD card. Check your media and see if your memory card is now reading properly.

If you have a memory card and go into your Storage and your phone shows a grey Mount SD card message that you are unable to click then your phone is NOT reading your memory card for some reason and that could be a big part of the problem. It could be that the memory card has malfunctioned or might be the phone itself. If this is the case or the suggestions so far have not brought your pictures back from the abyss then keep reading.

Use an application to scan for missing media files

You can use a third party application from the Play Store to force your phones media scanner into rescanning for missing or new media saved on your SD card. SDrescan is one of these types of applications and can be a good tool for helping find misplaced photos or missing media. Just go to the Play Store and do a search for “SDrescan” download and install the application have it force the rescan and then check again for your media and make sure that it’s back and displaying properly. If you’re still missing pictures or media on your phone after using the application then proceed with the additional troubleshooting steps listed below.

Replace the default Gallery App

It’s extremely rare on Android phones and is often related to a software bug or glitch (which the instructions below will help to solve if needed) but sometimes the Gallery application that comes on Android phones can have a problem displaying ALL the pictures stored on the phone and its memory card.

If the Gallery application on your phone is the culprit then you can also try a third party Gallery app as well. There are many options to choose from on the Play Store. I suggest “QuickPic”. It is a pretty popular Gallery application that offers many nice features and should do the trick very nicely.

Perform a backup

This issue can sometimes be difficult to fix so make sure that you backup your media to another location other than your phone and memory card. I recommend a Computer. I also recommend that you do this on a regular basis just in case your phone malfunctions, gets lost, stolen, or damaged. That way you won’t lose all of your important media unexpectedly. You don’t want to suddenly lose those funeral, birthday, or lawsuit photos.

Search your applications

If you recently downloaded an application around the time that this issue started happening then start by removing that application and then going down the list uninstalling your applications. If you want to try the hit and miss method by just uninstalling an application and then waiting to see if media goes missing again you can. This issue is software related though most likely from something downloaded to the phone. So be thorough if you want it to stop.

Factory Data Reset

This goes hand in hand with this issue and it might seem like a drastic step but this is your BEST chance at fixing this issue once and for all.

Performing a factory data reset on an Android phone removes all downloaded content (except for upgraded software) and sets the phone back to its factory settings. The phone will be like its brand new again, like it was when first pulled out of the box. I also recommend that you format the SD Card/Memory Card of the phone as well (if your phone has one). Just in case the error lies there. If you need help backing up your device for the reset then I recommend that you review How to backup and reset and android phone for help with the process.

What to do next

After doing the factory data reset make sure that you try the phone WITHOUT downloading or having third party applications on the device.

If media is still being lost unexpectedly and erasing from your phone or memory card then try the phone without its memory card, again if your phone has a memory card and if it can function without it. Note: don’t forget to unmount your SD card before removing it.

If the Android unit still has data loss then there is not much more that you can do on your end and you should look into the options available when a phone cannot be fixed.

Like I said this issue can be very frustrating and sometimes a hard problem to solve. But DO THE RESET if none of the other suggestions resolved the issue and hopefully it will clear it right up. Good luck and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

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