How to Get Files Off a Broken Phone

Breaking your phone can be incredibly annoying, especially if you lose data that wasn’t backed up correctly. If you’ve damaged your phone beyond repair or decided you would rather sell the handset than try to fix it, you’ll likely want to retrieve all your files and data from the phone before you sell it on. Whether your screen is shattered, the touch screen is unresponsive, or the issue is with the phone’s software, there is still hope that you can recover your files. Today, we’re looking at how to get files off a broken phone before you sell, and we’ll be covering both iOS and Android devices.

Check Your Account for Backups

Before you start trying to extract data from your broken phone, check the iCloud or Google account linked to your device on a computer. If you’ve previously opted into using syncing services, you may find the files you’re looking for have been automatically backed up to Google Drive or iCloud. This will include things like photos and videos.

Finding Android Backup Files

Head to and sign into your Google account. Click on the Storage heading on the left-hand side; this will show you everything stored in your Google Drive. From here, click on Backups in the top right corner; this will show you a list of all the backups made to your account, including when they happened.

Finding iOS Backup Files

If you’re working on a Mac, you can navigate to your iCloud backups by clicking the Apple logo in the top left-hand corner of your screen and navigating through System Preferences > iCloud > Manage > Select Backups. If you’re working on a Windows PC, simply open iCloud for Windows and click Storage. Regardless of which system you’re using, you should be able to see your latest backups from this point.

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Not to worry, there are a few alternatives to recover files from your broken phone.

3d rendering concept cloud computing technology with smartphone, arrow sign and icons.

Extract Files From a Completely Dead iPhone or Android Device        

How you go about retrieving your files from a broken phone will depend very much on the nature of the damage. For example, let’s assume you want to recover your files before you sell your old Samsung or sell your old iPhone, but your device doesn’t have a functional screen, and you cannot navigate around using just the handset at all. In this case, you will need either a secondary device or a computer to recover your files.

Using an Android? Check the SD Card

If you’ve got a broken Android phone, try removing the SD card and check to see if your lost files are saved onto it. The data saved to SD cards will vary depending on the version of Android your device is running and the preferences you selected when setting up the phone. It will likely hold photos, videos and even music but could also be where other data has been saved.

Using a MicroSD adapter, you can insert the card directly into a computer or insert the card into another Android device and connect it to your computer via a USB cable.

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? All hope is not lost yet!

close-up usb cable connect phone and laptop computer new technology concept

Recovery Software

If you’ve exhausted the options mentioned above and still haven’t recovered the files you want, it’s time to look at using recovery software. Multiple recovery tools are available, including Enigma Recovery and dr.fone. The process involves downloading a programme onto your computer, connecting your phone to the computer, and running the software to recover data such as messages, contacts and call logs, WhatsApp history, photos, videos etc.

Before you do this, it’s really important to follow these steps:

  • Make sure only to download reputable recovery software from a reliable source
  • Make sure your device model is compatible with the recovery software
  • Follow the instructions carefully

If you’re unsure of what to do or have doubts about the legitimacy of the software you’re using, stop the recovery process. Using the wrong software or not following the instructions could result in your phone’s data getting lost forever, so be cautious. If you’re in doubt, consider taking your phone to a phone repair shop and having a professional look at it instead. This may cost money, but if the data on the phone is important to you, it could be worth it for the peace of mind that the recovery is being handled professionally.

Recovering Data from a Phone with a Cracked Screen

If your device has a shattered screen that limits touch functionality, but you can still see the phone working behind the cracks, you may be able to use USB debugging to access your files. As with entirely dead phones, you’ll need a computer to do this.

There are USB programmes available that allow you to access and use your phone’s display via your computer, navigating around the screen with your keyboard and mouse. Once you’ve connected your phone to your computer and ensured USB debugging is enabled, you should be able to access everything in your phone from your computer, allowing you to find the files you want and extract them.

broken smartphone screen. Smartphone with a broken screen on the tile floor. Side view broken phone. negligence

What To Do Once You’ve Recovered Your Files

If you’ve managed to recover your files successfully, you may be wondering what to do with your old mobile. The device is unlikely to be of much use to you or anyone else you know since it’s broken – but don’t throw it away just yet.

The good news is you can sell your broken phone to us at Mazuma Mobile. We buy and recycle mobile phones, and just because your phone has a cracked screen, doesn’t turn on or has a dead battery doesn’t mean we won’t be able to recycle it. Of course, phone functionality does affect how much we can offer in exchange for your device, but by selling your iPhone XR or other makes and models to us, we can either fix and refurbish it or make sure it’s disposed of responsibly in a way that doesn’t negatively impact the environment.

If you’ve got an old, broken phone you’re looking to get rid of, visit sell my phone and see how we can help. You can trade in many makes and models ranging from trading in an iPhone 6 to trading in an iPhone 13 Pro Max.

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