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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 can look like they disappeared because you’re in a different account.

  1. On your computer, open photos.google.com.
  2. Sign in to your Google Account. 
  3. At the top right, click the profile picture.
  4. Check that you’re signed in to the account that you backed up photos to.

Step 2: Search for photos that disappeared after some time

If you suddenly lost your photos, they might have a different date. If a photo is added from a device with different date and time settings, the timestamp may be wrong. Learn how to change timestamps on photos.

  1. On your computer, open photos.google.com/search/_tra_. Check your recent photos.
  2. If it’s not there, search for the photo using the right dates or keywords. At the top, type what you want to find, like “dogs”, “New York City”, or someone’s name (if you’ve labeled your photos).
  3. If your search came up empty, try other keywords or search again in 3—5 days. It can take time for photos to be searchable.

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.

Check if back up is on

Back up from your computer

If you uploaded the photo using Google Drive, you’ll need to turn on Google Drive in Google Photos.

  1. Go to photos.google.com/settings.
  2. Turn on Google Drive.

You can also download and install Backup and sync.

Back up from your phone

  1. On your device, make sure you’re signed in the right account.
  2. At the top, you’ll see your backup status.

If backup is on

  • It might still be backing up. If you see “Waiting to back up” or a number on your phone, some photos haven’t been backed up yet.
  • It might have been skipped. Make sure the file sizes of your photos or videos can be backed up. Learn more about file sizes.

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.

Find photos from other apps, like Facebook or Instagram

It might be in your device folders. You can only see your device folders on your phone.

  1. On your device, open the Google Photos app Photos.
  2. At the bottom, tap Albums.
  3. Under "Photos on device", check your device folders.
If you back up device folders, you’ll see photos from other apps on photos.google.com. Learn how to back up your device folders.

Check if photo was deleted

  • It might still be in trash. You may still be able to get it back. Learn how to restore a deleted photo.
  • It might have been permanently deleted. If the photo has been in trash for more than 60 days, the photo might 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 screenshot or a photo you don’t usually look at, you might have moved it to your archive. Learn about your archive.

  1. On your computer, open photos.google.com
  2. At the top, click Menu Menuand then Archive.

Find photos from Google+

Check the Google+ album archive.

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

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