The HTC Evo 4G LTE is an Android smartphone developed by HTC Corporation to be released exclusively by Sprint.

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How to recover (internal data from) completely dead/powerless phone?

My son dunked my Evo 4G LTE under a foot of water. It was still on, so I powered it off by holding the top button down, then dried it out in rice for several days. Plugged it in, powered it on - amazing! Looked great! Had to leave for work, by the time I arrived an hour later the phone was a brick - no power, no reset holding the top button (with or without volume up or down), when connected to a computer via USB it neither registers no demonstrates any sign of power.

My main concern is the first four months of my daughter's life in video and photo stored on the phone's internal storage (android "phone memory"). I know, I should have backed it up, but I have two in diapers so best practice sometimes falls by the wayside. I did not have automatic upload set up via dropbox or google.

The phone is under warranty, sprint offered a refurbished for $35 - so I know I can get a working phone back, but I'll gladly opt to pay for a new phone and rip this one apart to get my data back.

Questions for the pros:

1. Is there any hope of recovering the data by recovering the phone? I'm not much of a hardware hacker so this would be easiest for me.

. 1a. Could it just be the battery is trashed? Is it possible to get/replace just the battery?

. 1b. Since USB doesn't bring power, could it be part of the power "subsystem," something that I could independently replace?


2. Alternatively, does anyone out there know how to get to and read this phone's internal storage?

. 2a. Is it a card or chip that can be removed and accessed outside of a phone?

. 2b. A card or chip that I could remove an put into another Evo 4g LTE, or that I could put into a replacement "motherboard" for the same phone?

. 2c. Can I solder some wires somewhere on the phone to try to access the data from another UI (this would be running in the tall grass for me, but I'll certainly try anything)?

For any solution, links to video or written narrative / instructions would be great, but even tips in the right direction or things that have worked on other phones could be helpful.


Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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future reference dont use rice or try manually tuning off the phone, just go straight for the battery and pull it out and leave it out till it is 100% fully dry and clean.

by David

Buddy, you'd better send it to the repair shop first to check if it can be fixed or not. If yes, you can try some data recovery apps to see if you can use this kind of apps to recover your pictures or not. Here is one post you may need:

by miranda0566

very nice 100% fully dry and clean

by Mohsin Khokher

You still have chance to retrieve your lost data as long as the data was not over-written by new created data. Then try professional Android data recovery application, In addition to this, I don't think you have better way to get back your lost data from your Android phone, this is the guide on how to recover lost data from Samsung galaxy:

by Misnilaliy

The possibilities to get back your daughter images, are not finished. Contact a data recovery company, who is retrieving the image data besides repair the damaged mobile phone.

by Andrew Bell

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12 Answers

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Eggs Green, you may check if you have saved it to an SD card. The slot should be at the top of the phone, you will see a notch below the power button. Insert your fingernail or a coin into that notch and pull back to remove the upper portion of the back. your SD card (if you have one) should be in there. Use an external adapter on your computer to access it. If you do not have it, and were saving to the external NAND memory, there is no way (only for the very advanced hackers ;-)) to access that. If you are adventurous enough check on here. I would try and see if the phone will give you enough life after cleaning it and seeing if you can resolve some of the water damage. Use the iPhone 3G guide from here for a general idea on how to clean it. Here is a good video that will show you how to tear down your phone. After you cleaned it, replace the battery and reevaluate. If that does not work for you, I would suggest a data recovery company to get your videos. Hope this helps, good luck.

iPhone Image


Repairing iPhone Liquid Damage

Difficulty: Difficult1 - 2 hours

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It has been clearly and repeatedly established that if the phone will not power up, there is no way to retrieve its data. Even "advanced hackers" can't do this.

by bbhank

Simply not true! Unless the phone was encrypted, for the right amount of money, the data can probably be retrieved. Law enforcement and data recovery services do this all the time. But it may cost many thousands, so you'll have to decide if it's worth it.

by luke

No you can't!!!

by bbhank

Have to agree with Luke. For the "right" amount of money you can get some data back. Most of us don't have that kind of money. This is about being within reason.

by bbhank

It is ABSOLUTELY possible to recovered data from a phone that doesn't power on. But the cheapest I've seen it done for is $400.

The way it's done is through a chip-off process. This is usually a last resort if ultrasonic/spot cleaning of the phone's internal components doesn't work. During a chip-off recovery, the phone's internal memory chip (which holds ALL the phone's data) is de-soldered from the logic board, and put in a specific reader. The data is extracted and put into a readable format. For phones where the data is encrypted (iPhones and some recent Androids), the recovery is only possible if the logic board is working too. But even if you have a bad logic board, you can still replace parts of it to get it working again. For more info, see:

That was probably more than you wanted to know. But I hope it helps someone.

by Meghan Read

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there's too many useless responses here people. the phone was in water, that means it surged out. it's not just a dead battery issue. it's a dead phone. Androids do the same thing iPhone's do, except iPhone's give people bragging rights, as far as usability is concerned, it's not worth the price/bill difference.

I just did the same thing (phone in water, rice, nothing). there appears to be no hope. I can install retrieval apps to my dead phone via the computer but I can't open them to activate them on the phone so they'll sync to the web access. I'm installing FolderSync (and there's several other apps that do the same) now which is automatically syncing my pics to GoogleDrive from now on. I'm screwed for the old pics but it won't happen again. all we can do is be better prepared next time.

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your response is no less useless. may be even more

by zloi dooraque

Androidphonesoft has a powerful Android Recovery tool that can recover data directly from SD card or flash drive. You should check it out.

by doraamon

I would argue it is more useless. The poster added zero information The iPhone statement was an opinion. In my opinion, iPhones are no more "usable" than androids, they mimick improvements that are usually created first by other android manufacturers. Users of iPhones support one manufacturer alone and in general do not help advance any technology. Their phones are completely locked down. The good thing about iPhones is the ability to press one button to do something. A rooted android in my book is the most "usable phone". Much like Linux is the most "usable" operating system. Much like iPhones, every iOS feature was created by Linux first before apple and windows copy the features to their operating system and lock modifications down. The poster showed a lack of knowledge of technology and an alignment with other users who use technology blindly without learning about how devices work.

by Mscottdemarco

Lol.. This dude.. You dont wtf your taking about. Maybe YOU cant.. Its %#*@ near ALWAYS recoverable! Unless it burned in a fire


I've just recovered all my photos and videos from a water damaged phone. The screen is blank and black. But I simply plugged the charging cable into a usb slot on my pc. My pc detected the photos and automatically uploaded them. Really simple

by Emma Imbrey

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It seems possible ...

WARNING! - Refurbished only means you will get a working phone back.

Even if they guarantee to return it with your data intact, be VERY CAREFUL! they are just telephone call handlers and do not know for sure what will happen, also people do not tick all the correct boxes and others do not look at all the boxes, so you could loose out those ways!

I am very surprised that there is no information on this subject.

It must have been an issue for 1000's of people over the past few years.

My problem is that "back up has stopped", would not re-install, and I could not find out why (it said memory, but there was loads free - since found it was talking about Dalvik).

Over the weeks I built up a collection of useful information and photos which I do not want to loose.

I am assuming yours is an Android phone, but even if it's a Windows phone, the principle is still probably the same.

It appears to be possible to recover files from the internal memory of a dead phone using a PC, free software and USB cable.

The principle is start the Flashing process, BUT do not Flash the phone, because I can not be sure it would not destroy your data / files.

When at the stage to be able to Flash the phone, effectively your PC thinks it is communicating have a "USB memory device".

This is achieved by removing the phones USB driver and substituting another driver (to enable the Flashing process).

I've not had the time to spend on it that I need.

I will come back when I do finish ...

BUT do not wait for me, there seems to be too many things going wrong, and the most important get done first. Which is why I have things waiting for over 1 year now.

One problem I have is that Windows keeps throwing out the "substitution USB driver" and replacing it with the original phone USB driver.

Windows thinks the phones driver is more suitable, so automatically re-installs it.

I know the issue, I've had it several times previously with the "unknown device USB driver" (a crash causes the driver change). I just need to find the "Windows stored back up driver", delete it, then Windows will happily accept the "substitution driver".

Ahhh, the joys of owning a MS Windows computer :-(

Some usefull software names :-


Windows drivers - A25_USB_VCOM_Drivers


Some useful search terms :-



flash rom

SP Flash Tool exe v3 (not to use, but the process' before is what's wanted).

Searches with search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.), also You Tube (I could only find Flashing, but as previously, it's the process up to the "Flashing point" that you are interested in).

Sorry it's unfinished information, but at least it gives you hope and some where to start.

Data Recovery firms will be able to recovery the data / files and some are open to "please help, I'm skint ...", by reducing their prices to a poor private person, but they will not do it for free.

So good luck to all of us.

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Thank you very much for your long post. Definately something to try out there before sending it anywhere. Thank you

by Jacob

I don't think I will get this solution to work though since there seems to be no connection to my phone on the micro-USB. Nothing shows when I try to charge it, no light is turned on or anything nor when I plug into the computer and try with adb.

Do you reckon I should still try the process you described?

by Jacob

I got seriously lucky. A repairing company took my phone in and tested it and said it couldn't be done. It was dead.

Then an other company said - nah other companies quit too easily. Send it to us, if we can't repair it or you don't want to pay we will send it back to you for free.

An offer too good to be true it seemed.

Yet within a couple of days they told me they were now almost able to boot it but it failed just before the OS loaded.

It showed to be a heating problem.

This they solved by cooling it to -40 degree Celcius and now they were able to boot it up and recover the data. Phone was dead after that but I got what I needed - all the beautiful pictures of my baby daugther and the rest of the family.

Most excellent service. A danish company though if anyone is looking for one let me know.

by Jacob

I am facing same problem.could you please help me.

by Ranjith

Hi jacob,

Please give me details....

by Ranjith

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Read this article to get knowledge about NAND and data recovery. nut your memory module more complicated than article explained.

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This is not about dead cell phone data recovery at all.

by bbhank

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Wow non of those answers were helpful...

When someone says DEAD phone... It's 100% a brick... Can't turn on, no lights, computer doesn't detect!!

I'm having this problem and was hoping for some sort of internal phone hard drive to USB adapter. I can turn ANY other type of hard drive into an external USB. So is there such a device to use with a small phone internal hard drive. (Not an SD card...)

I wouldn't minding soldering the thing in / out or a 1 time use thing but I too have the first 2 months of my daughters life on that phone, along with some other videos of my 1 1/2 year old playing...

So with a DEAD phone there is no way to download / upload a program to run data recovery software. Only way is to remove HD and put into something that will work... So I think the question is who makes one and where can I buy it? Or do I need to get another same model phone and try to swap the drives out?

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Any luck so far with regards to this getting data directly from the internal storage?

I ask since I'm roughly in the same situation.

One morning I snoozed the phone - next thing the phone was permanently dead and I too have precious pictucres of my baby daugther.

Alternately I'm looking for the service online but I don't seem to have much luck finding any offering this service.

by Jacob

@Nick, sorry but there are no hard drives in smart phones. All the information is stored on memory IC's (chips) which are in turn soldered to the logic board. There are no adapters, no shortcuts. It's a situation where you either fix the logic board, use a professional data recovery service and consider your information a lost cause.

by oldturkey03

No luck yet no.

Those chips can be removed very easily from computer motherboards and replaced with working chips. So it's with reasonable logic they can do that for phones. I realize this involves soldering, as I mentioned in first comment. Do you think a phone that can't turn on would stop the FBI or NSA from taking a look at it's contents? It seems like a very easy task for someone with some nice soldering equipment... Potential $$$ in this apparently

by Nick

Nand card reader is what we need by the sounds of it... I found a local guy in Minnesota that claims he can do it for $150. Or check out the Nand readers, seems a bit technical but I think I'm on the right path now

by Nick

anything but easy to resolder those unless you know how to reball. There is a bit more to it than just throwing it in a NAND reader. You will need a complete setup in order to read the information within the chip, which is also encrypted. "Do you think a phone that can't turn on would stop the FBI or NSA from taking a look at it's contents?" I am actually quite familiar with the process that is being used by any decent forensic lab.....Let us know how it works out for you.

by oldturkey03

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You can easily spot SD card usage in almost all the cool gadgets, such as the android king – Samsung galaxy s3, all the camcorder goes either full memory card storage or hybrid – with built-in hard drive, the Nikon d90, canon EOS 5d mark ii and all the DSLRs alike. But you must be very pained when you lose data from those SD card in following situations:

• Accidentally deleted files from SD card

• Formatted SD card

• SD card got corrupted or inaccessible

• Virus inflection

• Power failure

• Others

Thanks to the Android Data Recovery, which can recover deleted photos from samsung galaxy and videos from SD cards on Android devices, as well as restore data from Android internal memoryand messages on SIM cards.

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You can try Android Broken Data Recovery tool to recover photos,text messages, contacts or other major data directly from dead/broken/damaged Android phone completely.Most models of Android phones are support to restore data with Android Broken Data Recovery.Such as Samsung,HTC,LG,Lenovo,Motorola,ZTE,etc,.

How to restore lost data from broken Android

Read more:

How to restore lost data from broken Samsung

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If you’re going to recover deleted files from Samsung Galaxy S5/S4/Note 4/Note 3, Galaxy A9/A7/A5, etc. with broken screen, here is your chance. Android Data Recovery is a Do-It-Yourself program which can help you recover data from damaged Samsung Galaxy,like S5/S4/Note 5/Note 4/Note 3.

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But in fact, Android Data Extractor is powerful enough to recover data from broken Android phone. You may take a try.

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I have a very similar situation with an LG LS 970 phone it turns on and works but it says scanning files when I plug it into the computer it does not recognize it and is unable to pull any Data. from my research someone noted that the modem was not working I do not believe my verbage is correct. One night I woke up my phone turned on and had restored to factory settings and it simply says scanning media files and does not go any further. I'm able to use the phone and connect to a wifi signal. any help that you may be able to provide would be greatly appreciated as my deceased father's videos and pictures are still on my phone. My mother and are desperate but are unable to pay the data recovery fee of $1000.00 Thanks in advance for any guidance.

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For Hard Drive Recovery you should go to an expert and they will get your data back very nicely and with guarantee.

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This is not relative to phones.

by bbhank

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In order to recover your data from HTC Android Phone on Mac, this is possible only with the help of third part application. Whenever you lose your data you should stop using your phone till all the data is recovered. As the data are still present in raw format and if you use your phone then those data would get overlapped and then it would become difficult to recover them. When I lost my data I have recovered all the lost data with the help of Android Data Recovery on Mac software. The best thing of this software is that it is very user friendly. For more information kindly visit the web address mentioned below:

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But what if your computer doesn't recognize your device being plugged in? I have mine plugged in, but it doesn't show up.

by Matthew Ho

If the device doesn't show up, if your computer can't see it, Android Data Recovery does NOT work.

by bbhank

My htc phone turns on , it's just the touch screen that doesn't function, I've tried plugging into my laptop and it shows its connected, but don't know where to go from there, could someone please advise on where to go next, thank you all for your time I appreciate any response.

by David

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Eggs Green will be eternally grateful.