I’ve owned a number of cellphones since I first got one in 2004. For the most part, each new phone has been an upgrade over the prior one. And because those phones have cameras, and taking photos is as easy as blinking an eye, I’ve saved a plethora of pictures on them.

There’s nothing more devastating than losing those pictures. Cellphone companies have options to back those pictures up on “the cloud,” especially if one has an iPhone. But I have an Android. So when I had to replace my phone this past April due to damage for the one I currently have, the cellphone salesman transferred my contacts and some of my pictures from the old phone to the new, but not all of them. He gave me a link to a website that was supposed to help me out, but it didn’t. 

Then to make matters worse, the old phone was very sensitive. It was on its last leg and I struggled to be able to tap the phone to open icons. That old phone also had a damaged screen. So I put the phone away knowing that I didn’t want to lose those pictures. Especially the ones of my grandchildren.

Recently I decided to try to recover the pictures still remaining on the phone. That proved to be a challenge because the old phone had a setting that said whenever I plugged it into a computer it would be for charging. That option had literally been burned into the phone, so it didn’t want to change from that setting. I played around with the phone and discovered I had to do some maneuvering in order to get the phone to switch settings. 

I finally developed a strategy of holding the phone in my left hand, while pushing down on the USB cord to get it to acknowledge that connection. Some of the phone pictures were in the gallery area and were easy to recover. But others were basically stored to the phone’s DCIM area. 

It took an extreme balancing act, but I finally managed to get the phone to recognize that it was connected to the laptop for file sharing. Then I had to hold the phone in a tight grip to keep the connection while at the same time using the laptop to search the phone’s files to find which particular area contained the pictures/videos I knew should have still been on it. 

Finally I located them. Then once the photos began to transfer from the old cellphone to my laptop, I had to hold still during the entire 20-minute transfer time. Any movement while holding the cellphone’s cord could cause me to lose the connection. That did happen several times causing me to have to start the process over again.

It took several successful attempts to finally get all the photos and videos off that old phone. 

Recovering those photos is the best Christmas present I have gotten this year!