Cell Phones

Data Recovery

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  • Jun 26th, 2018 4:31 pm
[OP]
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Aug 16, 2005
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Data Recovery

We just got back from our vacation on Thursday and wife's Samsung Galaxy 6 suddenly stopped working the next morning before she could pull off the pics and videos. The indicator light was flashing green quickly and I tried the various combinations of power + vol up/down + home to try to reboot phone but no luck. I took to a cell phone repair shop and they tried replacing battery and screen since they noticed it was cracked and neither worked. They said the motherboard is likely dead.

Does anyone know of a reasonable data recovery place? I did a quick search on google and inquired about prices and success rate. I was quoted $750-1000 and for not much more I could just book another week in Cuba and take new pictures on my wife's new Huawei P20 Pro :)
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Nov 14, 2003
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That's sad news! Disappointed But Relieved Face

The memory chip would likely need to be removed and placed on another motherboard or reader for the images to be recovered. This is assuming the memory chip isn't fried. The price quoted for recover seem reasonable for the work involved. You might even try doing it yourself as a project. If it works it's a win-win, you save some money and get the photos back.

Moving forward, I would recommend using a service like Google Photos to automatically back up photos. It's cheap ($2/month for 100GB) and removes any worry about losing data should the phone break or get lost.

Edit, actually Google photos backup is actually free for images under 16MP.
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Sep 10, 2005
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batcave wrote: Moving forward, I would recommend using a service like Google Photos to automatically back up photos. It's cheap ($2/month for 100GB) and removes any worry about losing data should the phone break or get lost.

Edit, actually Google photos backup is actually free for images under 16MP.
Google Photos is actually free for all sizes. The free tier just happens to compress everything you upload.
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Dave98 wrote: Google Photos is actually free for all sizes. The free tier just happens to compress everything you upload.
When I select, "upload full size images", it counts towards my Google Drive memory allocation so not free. Which is what I had previously and it has taken up most of my 100GB Google Drive storage.

I've been testing the "upload high quality images" (free, but with a catch) option for the last few weeks. It does degrade the images. For this post I sampled two images, both were about 3.5MB in size on my phone. On GP, they were 500 and 900 KB in size. The photo isn't smaller in pixels but the file size is about 15 to 30% of the original file size. Not noticeable on a phone though. There is no direct/consistent correlation between pixel density and file size.

Jpgs are already compressed so removing anything from that would mean removing some inherent image quality. It's a trade-off.
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batcave wrote: When I select, "upload full size images", it counts towards my Google Drive memory allocation so not free. Which is what I had previously and it has taken up most of my 100GB Google Drive storage.

Okay, that makes sense. I was strictly referring to the "Google photos backup is actually free for images under 16MP" quote. I thought you were talking about the "high quality" free tier only.

Over 16MP is free too. It just means images higher than 16MP have their resolutions reduced as well.
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Aug 16, 2010
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If you can't get the phone to turn on, then data recovery is not a viable action. As far as I know, no repair centre will remove the memory chips from a dead motherboard onto another. It's a heck of a lot of work for a low chance of success.

I bet it's water damage. Vacation + cracked screen + water = motherboard failure.
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Nov 28, 2013
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batcave wrote: When I select, "upload full size images", it counts towards my Google Drive memory allocation so not free. Which is what I had previously and it has taken up most of my 100GB Google Drive storage.

I've been testing the "upload high quality images" (free, but with a catch) option for the last few weeks. It does degrade the images. For this post I sampled two images, both were about 3.5MB in size on my phone. On GP, they were 500 and 900 KB in size. The photo isn't smaller in pixels but the file size is about 15 to 30% of the original file size. Not noticeable on a phone though. There is no direct/consistent correlation between pixel density and file size.

Jpgs are already compressed so removing anything from that would mean removing some inherent image quality. It's a trade-off.
In all honesty? I've been perfectly happy with google's "high quality" backup instead of original quality. For phone photos, the primary purpose is sharing on social media or email to relatives, or at MOST printing out maybe a 5x7. Yeah, if you pixel peep you'll see a degradation in quality, but in my experience I haven't noticed any significant difference in quality, for my purposes. And if you *really* want those original quality shots, just make sure to back them up to your PC as well, and just use Google Photos as a disaster backup option.

For the OP - data recovery is not cheap or particularly easy. $750-1000 sounds about right. If you're talking once in a lifetime photos that you absolutely need to recover (wedding, birth of a child, or other significant events), then absolutely it's worth it... Otherwise, it's probably best to just chalk it up as a learning experience (although honestly, if you were vacationing in Cuba, where wifi is spotty at best, even a Google photos backup scenario might not have saved you).
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wearysky wrote: In all honesty? I've been perfectly happy with google's "high quality" backup instead of original quality. For phone photos, the primary purpose is sharing on social media or email to relatives, or at MOST printing out maybe a 5x7. Yeah, if you pixel peep you'll see a degradation in quality, but in my experience I haven't noticed any significant difference in quality, for my purposes. And if you *really* want those original quality shots, just make sure to back them up to your PC as well, and just use Google Photos as a disaster backup option.
For most average images, GP is very good even after the downsizing. It would probably affect larger, more complex images more. However, this a moot point now as I figured out how to manage it without buying more storage.

I've been uploading full size images for a few years now and it's filling up my Drive storage. In Google Photos Settings there is a link to recover storage,

Image

Image

The files have been saved elsewhere and I can still view the images on GP and it won't take up any of my paid storage.
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batcave wrote: For most average images, GP is very good even after the downsizing. It would probably affect larger, more complex images more. However, this a moot point now as I figured out how to manage it without buying more storage.

I've been uploading full size images for a few years now and it's filling up my Drive storage. In Google Photos Settings there is a link to recover storage,

The files have been saved elsewhere and I can still view the images on GP and it won't take up any of my paid storage.
That "recover storage" just compresses the images as if you had uploaded in "high quality"
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wearysky wrote: That "recover storage" just compresses the images as if you had uploaded in "high quality"
Exactly.

But at least I have an opportunity to backup my photos temporarily at full size on GP. After I've backed then up elsewhere, I can use this function to reduce storage space and leave them online.

I'm currently uploading all of the digital photos I've taken since I've been taking photos digitally, about 1998. It's nice to have access to everything easily.
[OP]
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Aug 16, 2005
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Thanks for the replies guys and I will probably keep my eyes open for a cheap used and beat up Galaxy 6 and will attempt to swap the memory chip over myself. Thankfully the new P20 Pro I got my wife has definitely helped soften the blow/loss. She was able to back up the first 2-3 days of our vacation because I have her phone set to auto backup to my file server once she is at home and charging. It's too bad after we got home from the airport she only had her phone plugged in for few minutes before we went out for dinner otherwise everything would have been backed up.
DiceMan wrote: I bet it's water damage. Vacation + cracked screen + water = motherboard failure.
My wife learned this the hard way during our 2014 Dominican Republic vacation when she was trying to take pictures of us in the ocean when a "rogue" wave hit her. All I saw were her two feet up in the air and her Galaxy 3 was completely submerged. Ever since than she keeps her phone far away from the ocean and only takes pictures standing further up away from the tide.
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shutterbug wrote: This is why you shoot to the SD card instead of your internal memory.
Or get a water-resistant/proof phone
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shutterbug wrote: This is why you shoot to the SD card instead of your internal memory.
Until your SD card gets corrupted.
batcave wrote: Or get a water-resistant/proof phone
Except water resistance is never guaranteed - drop the phone once, and your seal could be broken. Even if it's a small drop that doesn't show any visible damage to the phone. That's why manufacturers don't warranty water damage even for their "waterproof" phones. And OP seems pretty convinced that it's not water damage any way.
[OP]
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Aug 16, 2005
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shutterbug wrote: This is why you shoot to the SD card instead of your internal memory.
This isn't an option on all phones and trust me if it was I would have had my wife go this route because I can't tell you how much she loves to take pics and vids!
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May 19, 2003
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Except for the Google phones, all Android have microSD. Including the Galaxy S6 you have.
mwong168 wrote: This isn't an option on all phones and trust me if it was I would have had my wife go this route because I can't tell you how much she loves to take pics and vids!
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shutterbug wrote: Except for the Google phones, all Android have microSD. Including the Galaxy S6 you have.
Orly? Because I can probably name over 20 Android phones in the past 2 years that don't support external storage via microSD. I'll give you 10 for free for now.
  • One Plus
  • One Plus 2
  • One Plus 3
  • One Plus 3/3T
  • One Plus 5/5T
  • One Plus 6
  • ASUS ROG
  • Xiaomi Mi 6
  • Xiaomi Mi 8
  • Lenovo Z5
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shutterbug wrote: Except for the Google phones, all Android have microSD. Including the Galaxy S6 you have.
Not only are you wrong about all Android phones having a microSD (many don't, as already mentioned), you're also wrong specifically about the S6 - that was the one year that Samsung didn't include a microSD card on their flagship.

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