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Find missing photos & videos

When you turn backup on, your photos will be stored in photos.google.com or in Google Photos app.

Step 1: Check your account

Some photos may look like they disappeared because you’re in a different account.

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

Step 2: Find photos from other 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 Albums.
  3. Under Photos on device, check your device folders.

Back up your device folders to see photos from other apps in your Photos view. Learn how to back up your device folders.

Try other ways to find your photos

If your photos and videos are still missing from the Google Photos app, each situation below is listed in the order of how likely it may be the cause.

If you use a different gallery, but tapped "Free up space" on Google Photos

If you tapped “Free up space” on Google Photos, the photo or video may have been deleted from your device. But you can find them in the Google Photos app. Learn what happens when you free up space on your device.

Before you delete anything from your phone, make sure you let Google Photos back up your photos first. Learn how to turn on backup.

Check if backup 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. At the top, you’ll see your back up status.

If backup is on

  • It may still be in the process of backing up. If it says it’s “Waiting to back up” or there’s a number, it may mean your photo hasn’t been backed up yet.
  • It may have been skipped. 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

If you deleted a photo from your device, Google Photos might not have backed it up yet. If so, you might not be able to recover it.

Make sure your photos and videos have been backed up before deleting a photo from your device. Learn how to turn on back up.

Check if the photo was deleted

  • It may still be in trash. You may still be able to get it back. Learn how to restore a deleted photo.
  • It may have been deleted permanently. If the photo has been in trash for more than 60 days, the photo may be gone.
  • It may have been deleted from another app. If you use another photo gallery, and deleted photos there, it may have been deleted before Google Photos was able to back it up.

Find an archived photo

If you’re looking for a photo you don’t usually look at, you might have archived it. 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 top, tap Menu Menuand thenArchive.

Search for a photo or video

Check that you’re using the right dates or keywords to search for a lost photo or video. Sometimes, when a photo is scanned or downloaded from a device with the wrong date and time settings, the timestamp may be different. Learn how to change timestamps on photos.

Instead, search for a person, place, or thing in the photo:

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Photos app Photos.
  2. At the top, type what you want to find, for example: “dogs”, “New York City”, or someone you’ve labeled.

If your search is coming up empty, try:

  • Search with a different keyword.
  • Search again in 3—5 days. It can take awhile for photos to be searchable.
Make sure back up and sync is on. Only backed up photos can be searched. Turn on backup.

Brenna is a Google Photos expert and wrote this page. Help her improve it by leaving feedback below.

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