Totalled Phone... data recovery. (Hidden on SD card?)


New member
Dec 15, 2014
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My s3 completely died. On the battery and phone it showed water damage on the indicators but did so for a few weeks if not longer before the phone died one day. It was turning off intermittently. All this happened without me backing up my phone. I did this partially because I thought everything was being saved on the external SD card.

However, when I look at the SD card on the new phone or on my laptop, it takes forever for the previews to load (crashing the mobile applications often). Yet, when I look at the storage capacity on the SD card it makes me think all the files since my last backup last year were loaded onto the card. Are they perhaps hidden?

Also, a shop in Thailand said they would not be able to fix the phone because there were too many components damaged. I did not drop the phone in water or anything. There was one day I took a few photos close to a waterfall, but there was not overt spillage on the phone. Maybe some mist that I immediately wiped off the external case. (Could humidity have been the culprit?)

Just wondering if there is a way to pull any photos off the phone at this point. Ok with spending some money to do so.


B. Diddy

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Mar 9, 2012
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Welcome to Android Central! That's unfortunate. Android doesn't routinely back up data to your SD card, unless you have a specific app that is designed to do that. SD cards are not foolproof anyway--they can get corrupted somewhat easily, and they don't last forever.

It's hard to know what's on your card if neither the phone nor the laptop can reliably read it. That also suggests a corrupt card or corrupt files. You could try running chkdsk to see if there are bad sectors:

The fact that the water indicators were tripped does suggest that moisture was the cause of the phone's failure. The damage from moisture doesn't always occur right away--it can set up corrosion that takes days to weeks to cause problems.

Any photos on your phone's internal storage are probably lost. You'd probably have to contact some kind of forensic tech specialist to try to retrieve them. Sorry!

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