Find lost photos & videos

When you turn on back up and sync, your photos are stored in photos.google.com.

Learn other ways to find your photos.

Important: If your Google Photos account is inactive for 2 years or you're over your storage limit, it may impact your content. Learn how your Google storage works.

Step 1: Check your account

Some photos can seem to disappear because you’re on a different account.

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Photos app Photos.
  2. Sign in to your Google Account. 
  3. At the top, check that you’re signed in to the account that you backed up photos to.

Step 2: Find photos from apps like Facebook or Instagram

It may be in your device folders.
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Photos app Photos.
  2. At the bottom, tap Library.
  3. Under "Photos on device," check your device folders.
Back up your device folders to find photos from other apps in your Photos view. Learn how to back up your device folders.

Step 3: Check if your photo is deleted

  • If your photo is still in trash, you may be able to get it back. Learn how to restore a deleted photo.
  • If your photo is in trash for over 60 days, the photo may be permanently deleted.
  • If you use another photo app or gallery, and delete photos there, you might delete your photo before Google Photos can back up your photo.

Try other ways to find your photos

If you use a different gallery, but tap "Free up space" on Google Photos
Important: Before you delete photos from your device, make sure you let Google Photos back up your photos first. Learn how to turn on backup.
If you tap “Free up space” on Google Photos, the photo or video may be deleted from your device. However, you can find them in the Google Photos app. Learn what happens when you free up space on your device.
Check if back up is on
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Photos app Photos.
  2. Make sure you’re signed in to the right account.
  3. Tap your account profile photo or initial to find your backup status.

If backup is on

  • Your photo may still be in the process of backing up. If your device says it’s “Waiting for Wi-Fi” or there’s a number, it may mean that your photo isn’t backed up yet.
  • Make sure the file sizes of your photos or videos can be backed up. Learn more about file sizes that can be backed up.

If backup is off

Important: Before you delete photos from your device, make sure you let Google Photos back up your photos first. Learn how to turn on backup.
If you delete a photo from your device, you may not be able to recover it. Google Photos doesn’t back up photos right away.
Find an archived photo
If you can’t find a photo you don’t regularly view, it may be in your archive. Learn about your archive.
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Photos app Photos.
  2. Make sure you’re signed in to the right account.
  3. At the bottom, tap Library and then Archive.
Search for a photo or video
Important: Make sure back up and sync is on. You can only search for backed-up photos. Learn how to turn on backup.
Search for the right dates or keywords to find a lost photo or video. Sometimes, when you scan or download a photo from a device with the wrong date and time settings, the timestamp is different. Learn how to change timestamps on photos.

To find a recently added photo or video: 

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Photos app Photos.
  2. Sign in to your Google Account. 
  3. At the bottom, tap Search.
  4. Type Recently Added
  5. Browse your recently added items. 
If your item isn't in Recently Added, you can search for a person, place, or object in the photo:
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Photos app Photos.
  2. At the bottom, tap Search and type what you want to find, like “dogs,” “New York City,” or if you tag your photos, someone’s name.
If you can’t find a photo with search, try to:
  • Search with a different keyword.
  • Search again in 3—5 days. It can take a while for photos to be searchable.
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