Recovering Lost Files from Your Phone

Recovering Lost Files from Your Phone

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So you’ve lost files from your phone. We all know how annoying it can be to delete photos and contacts from your phone only to need them later. Well, it's not the end of the world. Here at Spy Guy we have the perfect product that will get those treasured photos, missing messages, and important contacts back quickly and easily. 

The Android and iPhone Recovery sticks are thumb drives that contain a program you can load onto your computer that will allow you to strip all the data from a phone in a few minutes. “But what use is that to me?” we hear you ask “These are lost files, they’re deleted.” But just because they are deleted doesn’t mean they are lost. They can be recovered. 

When you “delete” a file on your phone, rather than removing the file altogether, your phone will label that part of the storage as empty so it doesn’t appear when you are looking for the file through the device’s interface. But the information is still there for a certain period until the storage on the phone runs out and the relabelled sections of storage start to be written over with new data. But until that happens, you can get those lost files back using the recovery sticks. Read on to find out how.

How to get back something you accidentally deleted

As mentioned above, the recovery software arrives on a thumb drive which you plug into your computer. A pop-up will appear if your USB drivers are correctly installed. Open up the thumb drive and open the .exe file which is on there. Install the program onto your computer and you’re off!

You can access all the information on the device using a large screen similar to the way that law enforcement does. All the information on the device is visible in a clear, categorized menu on the left side of the screen and the information appears in the center where you have the option to isolate deleted files and view them on your computer. You should ensure your Android device is correctly rooted before recovering lost files.

How many lost files you can recover depends on how often you use the phone and how big the memory capacity of your device is. Think of the deleted data on your phone as if they are on a conveyor belt. The older the deleted file is, the further along the conveyor belt it is where at the end of the line the phone will write over the data as it needs to create new files. The more often the phone makes new data, the faster the conveyor moves, and the larger the memory capacity the longer the conveyor is.

Most users report that they can recover 3 months' worth of lost files using these products and some report over a year. It all depends on your phone usage. But if you have very limited storage on your phone, your conveyor belt will be super short. So if you realize that you have deleted a file accidentally don’t do anything with the phone before plugging it into your computer and getting the file off before it is written over. You can even switch the phone to airplane mode so that it doesn’t update or download any files which can write over your lost file.

You can also search through all the data on the device using the search bar on the top right if you know exactly what you are looking for. It could be the name of a person, the name of a file you have lost, an email address, or any other metric you can think of. 

Types of files that can be recovered

Here's a list of just some of the types of data which can be accessed using these recovery sticks: 

  • Saved text messages
  • Saved photos
  • Saved videos
  • Call history
  • Web history
  • Maps history
  • Contact list
  • Application information
  • Deleted text messages
  • Deleted photos
  • Deleted web history
  • Deleted call history
  • Deleted voicemails

Why would you need to recover lost files from a phone?

The main reason to recover lost files is to retrieve files that have been deleted accidentally. It is so easy to delete an entire text conversation with a few clumsy keystrokes. Or delete some irreplaceable holiday photos when all you’re trying to do is get rid of some of the massive folder of Whatsapp photos your phone decided to download for whatever reason (speaking from experience). Getting this information back couldn’t be easier than with the recovery stick which allows you to recover a deleted folder with a few keystrokes.

Aside from that, you can also monitor cell phones that belong to you but are used by employees or minors in your care. Now we are entering an ethically problematic area for some people but if you think people are using these phones that belong to you in inappropriate ways then sometimes it is worth taking action.

For monitoring the phone of a child in your care you are of course doing so for their protection and it is well worth explaining to the child this reasoning. The reason to focus on lost files when looking on a cell phone you don’t use personally is not to recover a file you want. Rather it is to find a file that they don’t want found. 

Some people (not you, educated reader) think that when a file is deleted on a phone it is gone forever, but we now know that it stays on the phone until it is overwritten. That doesn’t stop kids from deleting those messages and pictures they don’t want mommy and daddy to find. But now you have the perfect way to put your fears to bed.

Similarly, with employer-owned, employee-operated phones, you might be monitoring the phone to ensure information security and legal propriety. If your company deals in any kind of sensitive information you will obviously not want that information spread by employees. You would also hope that your company is not linked to problematic activities by the user of the phone. 

Looking in the deleted files section of the phone is a great place to start when you’re looking for information that people are trying to hide. And in fact, there are few reasons to delete text messages or call history that aren't a little suspicious so if you see a lot of these it might be cause for concern. It is very difficult for the normal phone user to permanently delete files so they can’t be found using these devices. Doing a periodic data audit is a great way to ensure your company phones are being used responsibly.

Legal and ethical issues around phone monitoring

To use these data recovery devices you need physical access to the phone and also the pin code which would usually stop someone from accessing a phone that doesn’t belong to them with this system. In fact, breaching password-protected locks is a criminal act in many states which consider it a privacy violation.

Under federal law, it is illegal to access another person’s confidential information without their permission. So electronically snooping using this software will leave you open to prosecution unless you are using it for litigation purposes and you have been granted permission to do so.

We would urge all of our customers to consult national and state laws before using any of our products in such a way that they invade someone’s right to privacy. 

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