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How to empty trash on Android: A complete guide

Quick Answers

  • There is no universal recycle bin in Android. To empty the trash on Android, you must clean each app’s recycle bin individually.
  • To clear trash in Files by Google, tap the Hamburger menu (three-line icon) > Trash > All items > Delete > Confirm action.
  • To empty the Trash in Google Photos, go to Library > Trash > Kebab menu (three-dot icon) > Empty Trash > Delete permanently.

Have you deleted unnecessary photos, videos, or files from your Android phone to boost its performance, but it’s still running slow? After deleting any item from your phone, it doesn’t remove it immediately. Hence, you must empty the trash on your Android phone for optimum performance.

Unlike PCs, Android apps have their own recycle bins. Therefore, you will have to deal with each app’s trash individually. In this blog, I have covered step-by-step methods for emptying the recycle bin on Android and freeing up storage neatly.  

Is there a recycle bin on Android?

We’re accustomed to our desktop’s universal recycle bin, which deals with all the system’s trash. Unfortunately, an Android device doesn’t have a dedicated recycle bin. Take your texts, for example. Deleting messages doesn’t send them to any trash folder.

Instead, they’re gone in the in-app recycle bin. So, you need to empty that recycle bin to clear message trash on your Android. The lack of a universal recycle bin to store deleted files makes the task time-consuming.

Let’s look at different methods for clearing your Android’s storage. We would start with the native Google apps to clear the trash and then move on to other methods.

How to delete trash in Google Files on Android phone

Nowadays, most Android devices come with Google Files preinstalled. However, there are other great file managers too that you can use to keep your Android organized.

If you’re using Files by Google, deleting files doesn’t permanently remove them. They are sent to the trash folder and removed if not restored within 30 days. Follow the steps below to clear trash in Files by Google.

  1. Go to Files by Google.
  2. Tap the hamburger menu in the top left corner.
  3. Tap Trash.
  4. Select All items.
  5. Now, tap Delete.

    Tap on the hamburger menu, select Trash, select all images, tap Delete and confirm Delete
  6. Confirm the action, and that’s it.

Another app that stores bigger files is Google Photos. Removing trash photos and videos from this app can significantly free up space on Android.

How to permanently delete photos from Google Photos

After you delete large videos or multiple photos, you must permanently delete them from the recycle bin.

  1. Open Google Photos → Go to the Library section.
  2. Tap Trash.
  3. Tap the Kebab menu (Three-dots icon) in the top right corner.
  4. Select Empty Trash.

    Go to Library, tap Trash, select three dot icon and tap on Empty trash on your Android phone
  5. Hit Delete permanently to confirm the action.

Next comes Google Drive. This storage hub stores several large and private documents and files, which you must remove permanently from your Android phone to free up storage or protect your privacy.

How to empty trash in Google Drive on your Android phone

To clear trash from Google Drive, follow the steps mentioned below:

  1. Launch Google Drive → Tap the Hamburger menu in the top left corner.
  2. Go to the Trash section.
  3. At the top, tap Empty Trash.

    Launch Google Drive, Tap the Hamburger menu, Go to Trash, tap Empty Trash and hit Delete forever
  4. Finally, hit Delete forever to confirm.

While deleting trash from these apps should free up significant storage on Android, you should also deal with other Android trash. Efficient Android cleaner apps can make your task easier.

How to clear other Android trash

Apart from the abovementioned methods, getting rid of other trash works wonders if you want to optimize your phone further. Other trash includes the device’s DNS cache, individual app cache, deleted files from individual native and third-party apps, and malware.

First, let’s clear the cache of individual apps:

Clear cache of individual apps

  1. Go to the Settings of the device.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Select the app of your choice.

    Open Settings, tap on Apps and select the app of your Choice
  4. Tap Storage & cache.
  5. Tap Clear cache.

    Tap on Storage and cache, and select clear cache

You must repeat the steps for each app with large cache data. After that, clear the device’s DNS cache. Also, see if you use cloud storage services like Dropbox, OneDrive, MEGA, etc. Emptying trash from those apps can also help clear clutter and improve your phone’s performance.

Video: How to empty trash on Android phone

Manage Android trash for efficiency!

Clear your Android phone’s trash at regular intervals to keep it clutter-free. This will not only boost your device’s performance but also ensure that your security is not compromised. If you have any problems or queries, feel free to ask in the comment section below. Until then, doodles!

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  • Samvida Sharan

    For more than three years, Samvida has seamlessly blended her legal acumen with a passion for writing, choosing to embark on a journey that deciphers intricate legal nuances with eloquence. As a dedicated lawyer turned wordsmith, she finds joy in crafting narratives that transform complex jargon into a language that's both comprehensible and practical. Passionate about all things crypto, space, and tech, Samvida's curiosity mirrors that of a perpetual learner. Through her dedication, she aims to share the knowledge she's gathered, ensuring her readers save precious time in their quest for insightful information.

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