How to Find Trash on an Android

It's a little complicated

What to Know

  • Find recently deleted files in your Photos or File Manager app.
  • These files tend to be available for up to 30 days after you deleted them.
  • There's no official trash can on Android phones.

This article teaches you how Android phones and operating systems deal with your trash and files that you deleted and where to find files that aren't permanently deleted. 

Where Is the Trash Can on My Android?

Technically, Android OS doesn't have a trash can. Unlike your PC or Mac, there's no single trash can where deleted files are stored temporarily. Instead, Android apps have separate trash cans, depending on their design. Typically, file management apps such as Dropbox and Google Photos, and File Manager all follow similar formats of where to look for the trash bin. 

How Do I Find the Trash App?

As mentioned, Android OS doesn't have one trash app, but it does include numerous apps that contain their form of a trash can. One of the critical places where you may want to undelete files is Google Photos. Here's where to look in Google Photos. 

Files and photos are typically able to be restored for up to 30 days after they've been deleted. 

  1. On your Android phone, tap Photos.

    It might say Google Photos. 

  2. Tap Library.

  3. Tap Trash.

    Steps needed to find your Photos trash can on an Android

    The icon in this screenshot says Bin, due to regional differences.

  4. Your deleted photos are here. Tap on one to restore it, or tap the ellipsis to Empty the trash can.

How to Find Trash in File Manager

Most Android phones also have a File Manager app installed, or you can choose to download a third-party app from the Google Play Store. Here's where to find your trash in File Manager.

You can also use File Manager to look through your downloads and most other files on your phone.

  1. On your Android phone, tap File Manager.

  2. Tap Recently Deleted.

  3. Tap Delete All to delete everything or tap on each file to restore it.

    Steps required to delete all photos or files within File Manager on Android

Where Is the Trash Folder on My Samsung Phone? 

On Samsung phones, like other Androids, you can restore files and photos for up to 30 days after you've deleted them. 

Finding Deleted Photos on Samsung

Here's where to look for the trash can for your photos on a Samsung phone.

  1. Tap Gallery.

  2. Tap the ellipsis.

  3. Tap Recycle Bin.

Finding Deleted Files on Samsung

For other files, the location is slightly different. Here's what to do.

  1. Tap My Files. 

  2. Tap the ellipsis.

  3. Tap Recycle Bin.

  4. Tap Restore on the file to restore it to its original location. 

Can I Restore Permanently Deleted Files?

Generally, no. Some third-party apps claim they can recover deleted files, but these rarely work. Such methods definitely shouldn't be relied upon for any critical files. Only delete files from your phone or trash bin if you're sure you don't need it to avoid this risk. 

FAQ
  • How do I find the Messages trash folder on my Android phone?

    Since Android OS doesn't have a trash folder for messages, it's not easy to access and recover deleted messages. One option is to turn on AirPlane mode to stop your phone from making any data changes and overwriting the deleted messages. You can then try to restore the deleted messages from a Google Drive backup.

  • How do I find the trash folder for deleted email messages on an Android?

    Open Gmail and tap Menu (three lines) > Trash > select the message you want to recover. Next, select More > Move to > move the email back to your inbox.

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