Your phone—if you’re like most folks in 2021, your phone is probably always at your side, if not in your hand. Pictures, documents, reminders, calendars, to-do lists, shopping lists, music, movies, and more are housed in these devices that are, unfortunately, susceptible to damage and data loss. What do you do when your Android mobile data is in peril, or, worse, seemingly completely gone? You can turn to Android data recovery software to find and repair your files so you can get your life back on track.

This begs the question: which Android data recovery software actually works in 2021? Which one is the best one for me?

Evaluation criteriaSoftware
💡 Best recovery processFoneLab Android Data Recovery
🖼️ Best free photo and video recoveryDiskDigger Photo Recovery
❤️ Best all-inclusive option for Mac usersDisk Drill 4
👀 Best UIAirMore
📶 Best for SIM card recoveryFonePaw
🔧 Best no-root data recovery optionsUltData
☎️ Best customer supportPhoneRescue

What is Android Recovery Software? How Can It Help Me?

Android recovery software is used to find and repair files that were stored on Android devices that have encountered damage, been accidentally erased, or are otherwise missing or broken. In most situations, users are trying to recover files from the internal memory of an Android phone such as a Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel.

By that, we mean that a user is trying to recover data that is stored on the phone itself, not on a memory card or SD card. SD cards can be placed into a reader connected to a computer and function just like a normal storage medium like a hard drive. For data that is external to an Android phone’s internal hard drive, most data recovery tools will work fine.

Android recovery software is most important to use if you have missing or damaged data stored on your phone’s internal hard drive, because it requires special functionalities that many traditional data recovery software doesn’t possess.

How To Choose The Right Android Recovery Software For Your Situation

Data recovery is a very situational thing. The best type of software to use will depend on a variety of factors.

  • 👻 Cause Of Data Loss: Why is the data missing? Were the files simply deleted or was the phone factory restored to its default settings? Are the files damaged or corrupted?
  • 💰 Cost: You also have to consider your budget. How much are you willing to spend upfront? Are you open to paying a subscription rate? You must also think about whether or not a free trial is important to you. Some recovery software offers a try-before-you-buy way to verify the recoverability of your files. This can lessen the headache of trying to get a refund, a difficult task from many data recovery companies. If you’re not using a free trial, you need to consider if you can afford a second software to recover your files in case the first doesn’t work if you’re looking at possible long wait times on a refund.
  • 🗃️ Data Storage Location: When recovering data from an Android phone or other device, the original location of the data makes a difference. There are three main locations to store data on an Android device: system storage, SD card (AKA memory card), and SD card. Not all data recovery software supports all three file locations–in fact, many don’t.
  • 🛡️ To Root Or Not To Root: Whether or not you’re willing to root your phone will make a big difference in which software you use to recover your files. While no software on the market (that we’re aware of) offers full recovery options on unrooted devices, many offer partial recovery options on unrooted phones. To learn more about what it means to root your phone and decide whether or not you’re willing to do it, you can read about rooting here.
  • 💽 Storage Medium For Recovered Files: Something else important to consider is where you intend to store your recovered files. It’s highly advisable to use a different storage medium than the one you’re recovering from, so you have to consider, for example, do you have enough space on your drive? If you need to use an external drive, do you have enough USB ports to support your phone, drive, and peripherals such as your mouse? What is your data transfer speed—will it take two minutes or two days, based on how much data you had stored on your Android device? This can sway which device you choose to use to recover your data. Many users gravitate toward machines that have multiple USB 3.0 or USB-C ports, because of their speed.
  • ⏱️ How Quickly Do You Need Your Files? Time is a major factor in choosing which Android recovery software is right for you. Do you need to access files quickly for a meeting or other event? Do you have time for a slower, perhaps more thorough software to recover more of your files?
  • 👨‍💻 Do You Have A Technical Background? Lastly, your technical expertise should factor into your decision-making. While many Android data recovery software offerings today are user-friendly, some come with more straightforward user interfaces than others, while some support ultra-complex recovery processes, but can be difficult to understand for people who are not technologically-inclined.

The Winners By The Numbers: Best Android Recovery Software 2021

SoftwareScore Out of 50
FoneLab Android Data Recovery39
DiskDigger Photo Recovery39
Disk Drill 443
AirMore44
FonePaw32
UltData42
PhoneRescue41

1. FoneLab Android Data Recovery

FoneLab Android Data Recovery lets users recover data not only from Android phones, but also from SD cards and even SIM cards.

FoneLab Android Data Recovery

Pros:

  • SIM card recovery
  • Preview screen prior to recovery
  • Restore WhatsApp data and call history
  • Fix Android problems and anomalies

Cons:

  • May deny refunds
  • Possibly slow or underwhelming customer service response times

User Experience:

FoneLab is a powerful Android data recovery software with a pleasant, simple user interface that makes it very easy to recover lost files. FoneLab is able to recover files from different scenarios including OS and rooting errors, accidental deletion, forgotten passwords, crashes, viruses, device failures, and more.

We like FoneLab specifically for its ease-of-use and customer-centric design. Finding and recovering files using their interface is intuitive—simply browse through the sidebar navigation to find call logs, contacts, messages, attachments, and media, all clearly labeled and organized.

FoneLab’s data recovery software for Android works on both Windows (XP and up) as well as Mac OS X 10.7 and above. It requires very little storage space or CPU power, so is a formidable option in this lineup for users with practically any hardware configuration. (Which means it’s also super convenient to have whether you’re at home, at the office, or elsewhere because it will work in a pinch with whatever is available.)

One really pleasant aspect of FoneLab that sets it apart from its competitors is its ability to recover SIM card data. Users are able to try a free version before purchasing a full version of the software.

Score by parameters (10 Points max)

  • 👐 User Friendliness – 10
  • 💡 Recovery Process – 9
  • ⚙️ Features – 10
  • 💰 Pricing – 8
  • 📞 Support – 2

2. DiskDigger Photo Recovery

DiskDigger Photo Recovery is available on the Google Play store for nearly all Android devices.

DiskDigger Photo Recovery

Pros:

  • Available on the app store
  • Limited scans available on unrooted devices
  • Ability to operate in the background
  • Works on the device in question
  • Recovers videos
  • Permanent delete feature

Cons:

  • It is unclear for some users whether the phone must be rooted for the product to function (full functionality does require rooting the phone)
  • Some users have complained of accidental deletion of files due to the software
  • Does not recover files from SIM cards or severely damaged phones

User Experience:

DiskDigger is only meant to be used to recover photos and videos. While it won’t help you recover call logs, messages, and other similar data in the face of a virus or OS problem, it is capable of finding deleted photos and videos for recovery.

To really use the full power of DiskDigger, you have to root your phone. Some users are uncomfortable with this process, but this step will be a requirement for any on-device application for Android file recovery due to the way Android works. Without rooting, users are only able to see a limited number of recoverable files, thumbnails, and hidden files. Rooting will allow users to uncover any and all available photos and videos on the phone that have been deleted.

DiskDigger also offers a permanent deletion feature that lets users clear space on their phone before or after recovery.

It is simple enough to use with a rooted phone. The UI can be described as functional, but perhaps not aesthetically pleasant.

The free version will recover photos and videos. You can extend the functionality of DiskDigger by purchasing the Pro version to unlock recovery of other file types.

Score by parameters (10 Points max)

  • 👐 User Friendliness – 7
  • 💡 Recovery Process – 7
  • ⚙️ Features – 7
  • 💰 Pricing – 9
  • 📞 Support – 9

3. Disk Drill 4 Android Data Recovery

Disk Drill 4 Android Data Recovery software works on Mac OS X to recover data from SD cards as well as internal memory on rooted Android devices even after a factory reset.

disk drill android recovery

Pros:

  • Recover any file type
  • Recover files after factory reset
  • Works for failed system upgrades
  • Recovers files from incomplete or interrupted file transfers

Cons:

  • Only works on Mac

User Experience:

Like other Android data recovery software, Disk Drill requires users to have a rooted phone to function fully. Disk Drill boasts the ability to recover data from a phone that has undergone a factory reset, powered by the same features that underpin its Mac data recovery. DiskDrill treats Android internal memory as well as SD cards the same way it would treat any other hard drive.

With a rooted device, Disk Drill can recover files that would otherwise be gone for good. Disk Drill is not limited to photos or videos. It can recover any type of data that is (or seemingly once was) on the phone.

At this time, Disk Drill doesn’t work with Windows, which makes it inconvenient to Disk Drill data recovery Windows users who will need to purchase a separate software to recover data from their Android devices.

On the plus side, Disk Drill does come with a free option for users to try  in order to verify recoverability prior to investing in the paid version.

Score by parameters (10 Points max)

  • 👐 User Friendliness – 9
  • 💡 Recovery Process – 10
  • ⚙️ Features – 6
  • 💰 Pricing – 9
  • 📞 Support – 9

4. AirMore

AirMore is a feature-rich Android data recovery software that recovers a wide range of file types spanning nearly all common data loss scenarios encountered by Android users.

airmore

Pros:

  • Recovers lost data due to system rooting
  • Recovers data lost from ROM flashing
  • Simple 4-step process
  • Safe, non-damaging, read-only recovery process

Cons:

  • Does not appear to recover SIM card data

User Experience:

AirMore offers a safe way to recover your Android data that neither disturbs the files nor breaches your privacy—no files are “kept or leaked” by the software. This powerful tool simplifies the recovery process, and it can recover even heavily altered files such as those lost during rooting and ROM flashing.

AirMore supports both WIndows and Mac OS X users and has a beautiful, pleasant UI that is quick and easy to understand at every stage of the data recovery process.

The company also makes simplified file transfer software that can be downloaded on both Android and iPhone.

We like AirMore for its simple, clean user interface, easy processes, and free trial.

Score by parameters (10 Points max)

  • 👐 User Friendliness – 10
  • 💡 Recovery Process – 10
  • ⚙️ Features – 9
  • 💰 Pricing – 9
  • 📞 Support – 7

5. FonePaw

Android data recovery with FonePaw is a breeze with an easy click-and-go recovery interface, read-only data recovery, and free trial to verify recoverability.

fonepaw for android

Pros:

  • Free trial with preview
  • Ultra fast for many users
  • Recovers from internal memory, SD card, and SIM card

Cons:

  • Finicky customer support
  • Difficult refund process
  • Slow for some users

User Experience:

FonePaw is another Android data recovery software that allows for SIM card data recovery. We like it for its ability to recover call logs as well as basically all data types from internal and external Android memory.

While FonePaw is effective for many users, and they offer a free trial that users can utilize to preview files and verify recoverability, hiccups with the paid version have led to many customer complaints regarding customer service, refunds, and responsiveness.

If it works well for you, you could be in luck with a fast, pleasant-to-use, powerful data recovery option. If it doesn’t work for you, you might have to jump through hoops to get your money back.

Score by parameters (10 Points max)

  • 👐 User Friendliness – 7
  • 💡 Recovery Process – 7
  • ⚙️ Features – 9
  • 💰 Pricing – 8
  • 📞 Support – 1

6. TenorShare UltData for Android

TenorShare is an Android data recovery software that claims that it doesn’t require root, making it a standout competitor against others on our list.

ultdata for android

Pros:

  • Recovery without root
  • Recovers call logs, WhatsApp, and text messages
  • Offers a free download

Cons:

  • Unethical, off-putting refund tactics

User Experience:

TenorShare’s UltData Android recovery software offers something no other competitor on the list does—data recovery without rooting the phone. It even claims to recover WhatsApp data including voice recordings and stickers without root. This tool is not file-type limited, so users can recover documents, photos, videos, and anything else they may have had stored on their phones.

The website claims a guaranteed refund if it doesn’t work, and it does offer a free trial, but some users have complained about unethical refund policies. While some companies on this list refuse refunds or fight them hard, TenorShare has been said to try to negotiate users into receiving a partial refund, something that many customers have found off-putting.

This is another software that if it works well for your device, then you will be in luck, but if it doesn’t, you can be ready for a headache.

Score by parameters (10 Points max)

  • 👐 User Friendliness – 9
  • 💡 Recovery Process – 10
  • ⚙️ Features – 10
  • 💰 Pricing – 9
  • 📞 Support – 4

7. iMobie PhoneRescue

iMobie PhoneRescue is a data recovery software for Android and iOS that offers a free download and a 60-day money back guarantee.

iMobie PhoneRescue

Pros:

  • 60-day money back guarantee
  • Cross platform support
  • Recovers any file type
  • Finds hidden data without root
  • Recovers WhatsApp

Cons:

  • Slightly misleading web copy

User Experience:

PhoneRescue is another software that is able to get back WhatsApp data including videos and messages. It also boasts the ability to find hidden files such as received WhatsApp videos without rooting the device. It can even recover data from locked devices.

While the copywriting on their website could mislead non-technical users into believing that they could recover all of their lost files without rooting their phone, the reality is that it can find hidden files on unrooted phones the same way other Android recovery software can. For full data recovery, root is still required.

On the plus side, this software is cross-functional between iOS and Android, so it works well for families with a mixed set of devices.

One stand-out feature of iMobie vs. other competitors on our list is their customer service. While some users have had issues, many have praised the customer service provided by iMobie as being caring and efficient—a breath of fresh air from how many data recovery companies interface with their consumers.

Score by parameters (10 Points max)

  • 👐 User Friendliness – 7
  • 💡 Recovery Process – 8
  • ⚙️ Features – 9
  • 💰 Pricing – 8
  • 📞 Support – 9

What If I Don’t Use Windows Or Mac? What Can Linux Users Do To Recover Android Files?

There are currently no software recommendations for Linux users to recover data from Android devices. For external memory like an SD card, any Linux-compatible data recovery software should work, e.g. PhotoRec and similar open source options.

For internal Android data recovery, Linux users are urged to explore processes set forth by other users such as the method outlined here and here.

FAQ