How to reactivate the Gallery

In most operating systems, photos are organized by the application called Gallery , which consists of a convenient file cabinet for easy access to any image and video on your smartphone.

How to reactivate the Gallery

Photos and videos are certainly among the most present content on our smartphones, whether they are made with the cameras - increasingly powerful and advanced - that the devices in question are equipped with, whether they are downloaded from the Internet. In most operating systems, photos are organized by the application called Gallery , which consists of a convenient file cabinet for easy access to any image and video on your smartphone.

But here's the unexpected: you picked up your phone and realized that the Gallery icon is gone. You don't know where to turn your head because you think you have lost access to your entire image archive and so you have searched online for a possible solution to the problem. Do not worry; you have come to the right place.

With this guide, in fact, I will explain how to reactivate the Gallery on your smartphone or tablet (both Android and iPhone / iPad) even if you are not very experienced in new technologies. Contrary to what you may think, this is a simple operation once you have identified the source of the problem. Make yourself comfortable, take five minutes to read this tutorial, and in the end you will see that you will solve the problem yourself.

How to activate the Gallery on Android

Let's start with how to reactivate the Gallery on Android . On devices equipped with the green robot operating system, the Gallery app is a system application . It means that unless you have activated special permissions with complicated procedures (the so-called root of the phone) the Gallery can never really be removed or disabled.

Rarely, some devices, for example Lenovo Tab M8 come to mind , can be delivered without an app called Gallery , but they use Google Photos (or something similar). The same principle applies as above. In this tutorial I will use the generic term "Gallery", but know that I am talking about any application to manage photos and images that comes by default with a "factory" installation of your device.

Reset the Gallery app icon

The first thing I advise you to do is this: simply check that the Gallery icon has not been deleted from the Home of your smartphone. Maybe you did, holding your finger over the icon and accidentally dragging it to the removal area. Or maybe someone you lent the phone to briefly played a joke on you. The important thing is that it is nothing serious and the solution is very simple.

Open the drawer of your phone; it is that virtual drawer where all, absolutely all, of the applications on your device are present. To do this, go to the Home of the phone; on some older systems there is an icon at the bottom of the screen with nine dots arranged in rows of three, next to each other. Tap on it. In the most modern versions of Android this icon is not present but the drawer is opened by sliding your finger upwards starting from the bottom of the screen.

Done? Now check if the Gallery app is on the list. You can do this by swiping through the icons or typing the app name in the search field. If you find it here you are one step away from the solution. Put your finger on it and hold it down for a few seconds, until a context menu appears from which you can select the Add to Home item . In some the system will directly give you the possibility to bring a copy to the Home. In any case, drag the icon to where you want to place it and let it go. Your Gallery is back where it was meant to be!

Similarly, check that you have not moved the Gallery app into a folder on the phone's Home or in the drawer. Sometimes it can happen to move icons by mistake. Try opening the folders and checking the icons inside. If that of the Gallery were inside, to put it back where it was before, you just need to press the button on it, hold it down, and drag it out. For a more detailed explanation, I refer you to my guide on how to organize apps .

Haven't solved it? Don't worry and try one of the next steps.

How to reactivate the System Hidden Gallery

As I told you earlier, on Android the Gallery is a system app and cannot be permanently removed from the phone. On some smartphones, however, it can be hidden and your not being able to view it could be precisely this. You can easily check: for example, on Android 11 customized by Samsung you can open the drawer, press the ⁝ icon at the top right and select the Settings item . The next page shows a number of items, including Hide apps .

What you are faced with is a list of all the applications on the phone. If the Gallery has been hidden it will be present in the appropriate section at the top. To reactivate the Gallery, simply press the relative icon with the minus sign at the top left and then press Done at the bottom of the screen. The Gallery will return to its place.

Given the large number of existing Android systems there may be minor differences between my example and your smartphone. However, I refer you to my guide on how to find hidden apps which can give you more details.

How to reactivate Gallery deactivated by system

At the beginning of the tutorial I explained to you that the Gallery is a system app and cannot be permanently removed from the phone. On some smartphones or tablets, however, it can be disabled . Some devices need root (admin) permissions for this, while others don't need it.

To check if this is what happened to you you need to go to the system settings . Look for the icon with a gear symbol . Also this, depending on the configuration of your system, can be present in Home. If not, it is always accessible by dragging your finger downwards from the top of the screen. The icon is on the right, opposite the date and time (above the status bar with icons to enable and disable Wi-Fi, airplane mode, etc.) Press it to enter settings.

You are there? Now search for and open the Applications entry . On some systems it may have a slightly different name, such as App or App Info . What matters is that it is a list of all applications installed on the device. For reference, I invite you to look at the images accompanying this part of the guide.

Look for the entry related to the Gallery application in the list and tap on it. If the application was deactivated you will see the possibility to reactivate it, usually by selecting the Activate option and responding positively to any pop-ups that ask you for confirmation. Perfect! You have restored the disabled Gallery ! If the icon does not appear on the Home screen, look for it in the usual drawer, as explained at the beginning of this section.

How to reactivate the hidden Gallery from the launcher

Launchers are those apps that replace the default Android Home screen, offering additional customization options. Some of these programs allow you to hide apps. If you are using a launcher the Gallery may have disappeared for this reason.

Here I will tell you about how to view hidden apps in Smart Launcher 6 , one of the most popular solutions to replace the standard Android interface, but each app of this type has a differently structured menu. In principle, however, just access the settings of the latter and look for the option relating to hidden apps.

First, therefore, enter the drawer of the launcher, dragging your finger upwards from the bottom of the screen. Now tap on the icon with three dots , at the top right. From the menu that opens, choose Hidden Apps . You will be shown all the hidden and no longer visible apps in the general list. If the Gallery is among them, put your finger on the icon and hold it down until a menu in the shape of a comic is shown. From this choose the item Make visible . You have now restored the Gallery, which will be visible again in the drawer and on the home.

Other launchers, as mentioned, may have a slightly different procedure. Unfortunately, there are too many apps of this type to be able to list them all. However, I refer you to the dedicated chapter of my tutorial on how to hide apps .

Reset the permissions of the Gallery app

On Android it may happen that when you open the Gallery app, you will see a message about "you do not have the necessary permissions" and the application closes immediately afterwards. Or it opens but displays no photos or images. What to do at this point?

The solution is simple. Go to Settings and select the App item . You need to get to the list of installed applications. Now look for the Gallery app and tap on it to open the Application Info menu . Select the entry Permissions . Archiving must be enabled for this to work properly . If it wasn't, tap the gray lever to turn it blue.

As I have already explained, given the multiplicity of Android custom interfaces, some names may be slightly different, (for example, Storage could be Memory ), but the procedure remains the same.

How to activate the Gallery on iPhone

IPadOS library

On iPhone and iPad , although Google Photos and other third-party apps for managing the gallery are available, the default app for managing photos and videos is Photos and cannot be removed from the device in any way. From iOS 10 onwards it is possible to uninstall some system applications but not Photos; however, it is possible to remove it from Home and, if you do not see it there and you are not very experienced, it may seem that it has been hidden.

First check that you haven't simply moved the app to another place, perhaps putting it inside a folder you created. Otherwise, look for it in the App Library , which you can access by swiping from right to left while on the last page of the Home screen.

Found the Photos app ? Then press on it with your finger for a few seconds and, when the context menu appears, select the Add to Home item . It's really a no-brainer, right?

If the Photos app is present but requires a pin to log in, this is due to a lock setting. To remove it, go to the Settings menu and choose Screen time , then Content and Privacy . If there are apps blocked, the "lever" next to Content and privacy will be ON . Go to allowed apps and find Photos in the list. Now you have to unlock it by turning the relevant option back to ON , with a touch of your finger.

How to recover photos from the Gallery

White smartphone

Another problem you might run into is this: the Gallery works, it displays some photos, but you are missing some images and you just can't find them anywhere. It is a common problem; individual photos can be hidden on both iOS and Android. Don't worry because even in this case it is possible to fix it. To do this, I invite you to read my guide on how to recover photos that have disappeared from the Gallery .

How do you say? Do you suspect that you have deleted images and would like to recover them? Also in this case it is possible to do something and I invite you to take a look at the tutorial: how to recover deleted photos from the Gallery , which could be just for you.