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Smartphones & gadgets

How to get photos and texts off a broken phone

You dropped your phone into a glass of water. It happens. We aren’t judging you. Or maybe you dropped it by accident and smashed the screen, so it no longer turns on. However you broke your phone, it can be super disappointing.

In addition to having to replace your phone, what happens to all your data? We always recommend that you back up your phone. If you are looking to protect other data, here are 5 ways to back up your data like a pro.

But if you haven’t manually backed it up, how do you get data back? The process varies depending on which phone you have, so let’s take a look at how to retrieve photos and text off a broken phone for both iPhone and Apple.

Back up your data to the Cloud or Google Drive

This is the best-case scenario, no matter what has happened to your phone. If you regularly backup your data, and you should, it’s relatively easy to retrieve your information. To learn how to back up your data, tap or click here.

Here’s how to retrieve your information on both Android and iPhone.


  • Open Settings
  • Select your name
  • Choose iCloud
  • Tap Manage Storage
  • Select Backups
  • Choose the device. In this situation, it would be your iPhone to see your latest backup

Android (Google Drive)

  • Open your Google Drive app
  • Select Menu
  • Choose Backups
  • Tap the backup you want to manage

You’ve smashed your iPhone or caused major water damage

Regardless of how you break your iPhone, if you can’t get it to power on or you can’t use it because the screen is impaired, your first step is to head to the Apple Store.

Apple Store “geniuses” are experienced with all things iPhone and can likely retrieve your data and even rent you a replacement phone while yours gets fixed. If you want to try and troubleshoot it yourself at home, there are a few options:

Replace the screen yourself

You can replace the screen yourself if you’ve smashed it, though we don’t recommend this. There are thousands of YouTube videos out there walking you through the process, and you can get replacement glass easily enough at local retail stores. If a smashed screen is your only problem, this may fix it.

Connect your phone to your computer with a USB cord

If your phone isn’t functioning properly but still powers on, you may be able to sync it to your computer using a USB cord to retrieve data. Again, we recommend going to an Apple Store for the best results, but you can give this one a try yourself to see if it works.

You’ve broken your Android phone

Android phones are different from iPhones because they don’t have the super handy assistance of the Apple Store. However, many of these previous tips still apply.

Your first step should always be going to an authorized retailer for your phone manufacturer. They will likely have the best advice. But if they can’t help, you can also try third-party repair shops or try replacing the screen yourself. But Android has one extra feature that Apple doesn’t.

Your Android phone has a removable microSD card

Some Android phones come with a slot for a microSD card, and they can store all your photos and texts. If your phone has a slot and you’ve used it, you are lucky. Simply remove the microSD card to retrieve your data.

Use a data retrieval program

Many third-party data retrieval programs will allow you to access your data from an Android phone, even if it’s unresponsive, locked and dead. Be sure to research reputable services before you use one.

Breaking your phone is never fun, and it can be even more stressful when you are worried you might lose your data. The best offense is a good defense, so here’s how to protect your new tech gadgets in just five minutes.

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