Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Mount a Smartphone in Ubuntu to Recover Files

Ubuntu 11

In this article, we will delve into the steps required to mount a smartphone’s internal storage on Ubuntu for the purpose of recovering files. This process can be particularly useful if you have inadvertently deleted important files or if your smartphone is malfunctioning.

Quick Answer

To mount a smartphone in Ubuntu and recover files, you need to enable Mass Storage mode on your smartphone, install ADB, create a raw image of the partition using ADB and dd, transfer the image to your Ubuntu computer using ADB, mount the image using the mount command, and then use file recovery tools like Photorec to recover your files.

Pre-Requisites

Before we begin, it’s important to note that Photorec, the tool we’ll be using for file recovery, requires direct access to the filesystem. This means your smartphone needs to be in Mass Storage mode. If your phone is in MTP mode, Photorec won’t be able to access the filesystem. If you’re unsure how to enable Mass Storage mode, refer to your smartphone’s documentation or the Photorec website.

If your smartphone’s screen is broken and you’re unable to change it to Mass Storage mode, don’t worry. We’ll also cover how you can perform a recovery by creating a raw image of the affected partition using adb and dd.

Installing ADB

ADB (Android Debug Bridge) is a versatile command-line tool that lets you communicate with a device. If you haven’t installed it yet, you can do so by running the following command in your terminal:

sudo apt-get install adb

Creating a Raw Image of the Partition

Connect your smartphone to your computer and enable USB debugging on the device. Once done, open a terminal and run the following command:

adb shell su -c "dd if=/dev/block/mmcblk0pX of=/sdcard/recovery.img"

In this command, adb shell is used to start a remote shell in the device, su -c allows us to run commands with superuser privileges, dd is a Unix command used for copy and convert, if stands for input file (source), and of stands for output file (destination). Replace mmcblk0pX with the appropriate partition number for the internal storage.

Transferring the Image to Ubuntu

After creating the raw image, you need to transfer it to your Ubuntu computer. You can do this using the following command:

adb pull /sdcard/recovery.img /path/to/save/location

In this command, adb pull is used to copy a file from the device to the system. Replace /path/to/save/location with the desired directory on your Ubuntu computer.

Mounting the Image

Once the image is on your Ubuntu system, you can mount it using the following command:

sudo mount -o loop recovery.img /mnt

This command mounts the image to the /mnt directory. The -o loop option is used for mounting file images as a filesystem. You can change the mount point if desired.

Recovering Files

With the image mounted, you can now use Photorec or any other file recovery tool to scan and recover files from the mounted image.

Conclusion

While the process of mounting a smartphone’s internal storage in Ubuntu to recover files may seem daunting, it becomes much simpler when broken down into these steps. However, if you don’t have access to the screen or root on the smartphone, the recovery process becomes much more challenging. In such cases, utilizing cloud sync services like Google Drive or Dropbox, which may have backed up your files, could be helpful.

Remember, always back up your data regularly to prevent data loss.

What is Mass Storage mode?

Mass Storage mode is a USB connection mode that allows the smartphone’s internal storage to be recognized as a removable disk drive on the computer. This mode enables direct access to the filesystem, making it possible to recover files.

How do I enable Mass Storage mode on my smartphone?

The process to enable Mass Storage mode may vary depending on the smartphone model. It is recommended to refer to your smartphone’s documentation or the Photorec website for specific instructions on how to enable Mass Storage mode.

Can I use this method to recover files from an iPhone?

No, this method is specifically for mounting a smartphone’s internal storage on Ubuntu. iPhones use a different operating system (iOS) and have different file system structures. You will need to use specialized software or consult Apple support for file recovery on an iPhone.

Can I recover files from a smartphone with a broken screen?

Yes, it is possible to recover files from a smartphone with a broken screen using the method described in this article. By creating a raw image of the affected partition, you can then transfer it to your Ubuntu computer and mount it to recover the files.

Is Photorec the only file recovery tool that can be used?

No, Photorec is just one example of a file recovery tool that can be used. There are other tools available, such as TestDisk and Recuva, which can also be used to recover files from the mounted image.

Can I use this method if my smartphone is not recognized by Ubuntu?

If your smartphone is not recognized by Ubuntu, it may be due to driver issues. In such cases, you may need to install additional drivers or troubleshoot the connection before proceeding with the file recovery process.

Can I recover files from a smartphone that has been factory reset?

If a smartphone has been factory reset, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to recover files using this method. Factory resetting erases all data on the device, including the internal storage. It is always recommended to regularly back up your data to prevent data loss.

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