Find missing photos & videos

When you turn backup on, your photos will be stored in photos.google.com.

Step 1: Check your account

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

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, 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: If you tapped “Free up space” on Google Photos

The photo or video may have been backed up to Google Photos, then deleted from your device. Learn about 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.

Try other ways to find your photos

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

Check if backup is on

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Google Photos app Photos.
  2. Make sure you’re signed in the right account.
  3. Tap Assistant.
  4. At the top, you’ll see your backup 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.

Search for the photo

Check that you’re using the right dates or keywords to search for a lost photo or video.

If a photo was 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 iPhone or iPad, open the Google Photos app Photos.
  2. At the top, type what you want to find, like “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.

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 a screenshot or an archived photo

If you’re looking for a screenshot or a photo you don’t usually look at, you might have archived it. Learn about your archive.

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Google Photos app Photos.
  2. Make sure you’re signed in the right account.
  3. At the top, tap Menu Menuand thenArchive.

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

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