How to Empty Trash on Android

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How to Empty Trash on Android

This article introduces how to empty trash on Android to free up space and boost your privacy. Most deleted files are not permanently deleted until the contents of the Trash folder are cleared.

How to Delete Trash on Android

There’s no one way to empty the Trash on Android because there’s not just one Trash folder (more on that below). However, one place that could be considered the “Android Trash” is your phone’s built-in file manager.

For example, Google’s Files app provides an interface to search for screenshots and other locally stored images, as well as downloaded APKs, documents, and more. Here’s how to delete items from the Trash in the Files app:

1. Tap the three-line menu button at the top of the Files app.

2. Choose Basket.

3. Press All the elements to select everything in the Trash folder, or manually select specific files if you want to keep some of them.

4. Choose DELETEthen press again DELETE at the confirmation prompt.

Empty Trash on Android

Delete Other Android Trash

The Files app isn’t the only place on an Android device with a Trash folder, so it’s also not the only place files go when deleted. There are also other areas of the device that could be considered to have a “trash” component that you can erase.

For example, images and videos deleted from your Google Photos account, which are already backed up online, are stored in This trash folder. Permanently deleting Google Photos files frees up storage space in your Google account.

A similar trash folder is available for Gmail, Google Keep, Contacts, and other apps. If you delete anything in a Google Drive product, like Docs, Sheets, or Slides, empty the Google Drive Trash to erase them permanently.

If you have mobile access to your cloud storage service, such as Dropbox, OneDrive, or MEGA, you’ll also find a trash folder there. Again, the folder for each of these apps is only for deleted files from this application.

You can also consider malware as garbage, in which case there are free antivirus apps for Android that we recommend you check out. When an antivirus locates a threat, it automatically deletes it, completely bypassing any type of trash folder. However, some antiviruses may have a quarantine folder to store threats until you decide what to do with them; a cleaning that would amount to deleting the recycle bin.

Where is the Android Trash?

Unlike desktop operating systems that have dedicated recycle bins for deleted files and folders, like Windows Recycle Bin, there is no central recycle bin on Android devices.

An example of this can be seen when you delete texts. Instead of being sent to a trash folder when deleted, they simply disappear. This is why restoring deleted Android texts is not a simple process.

However, as we explained above, many apps include their own trash folder. For example, when you delete a downloaded file, it is placed in a Trash folder until you delete it.

On that note, most trash folders, including all of Google’s, automatically delete their contents on a schedule, usually 30 days after the file is deleted. This is in place to give you the option to recover the deleted file if you wish.


How to empty the e-mail trash?

Tap the three-line menu in the top left, then tap Basketthen on Empty the trash now > Empty. Emails are automatically deleted after they have been in the trash for 30 days.

How to clear the cache on an Android smartphone?

Go to: Settings > Appstap an app, and then tap Storage > Empty the cache. Deleting this information is usually done to fix problems with an app, but just like emptying a trash folder, it also frees up space on your device. Our article on Clear Android Cache Data goes into more detail.

How do I find a photo I deleted on an Android phone?

In the Photos app, select Library in the bottom menu, then Basketlong-press one or more photos you want to restore, then Restore > Restore.

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