How to empty trash on iPhone?


It’s no secret that our mobile phones generate data constantly when we use them. We need to limit the amount of data we use on our iOS devices because too much data can slow down our devices and cause other issues. Apple users may have the habit of periodically deleting useless data from their iPhones, iPads, and iPods, but does that mean the data has been permanently erased?

It is a known fact that computers have a recycling feature in which you can put items you delete back. This feature is known as Recycle Bin for Windows computers. On a Mac, it is known as Trash. Apple iOS is the mobile operating system for iPhones. What do you think? Are there apps that recycle files after removing them? You were told your iPhone storage was almost full. What can you do to free up space?

Delete unused apps, optimize photos, clear the cache, and many other techniques can help you free up space on your iPhone. 

Additionally, you can save space by removing the trash from the phone, but unlike your computer, there is no integrated trash or recycling bin on the iPhone. As opposed to Dropbox, iOS has a handful of separate trash bins, each of which must be emptied separately.  Mail, Photos, Notes, and Files are the iPhone’s four most popular trash cans. You can empty them all here. In this article, we show you how to empty trash on iPhone.

How do I find the trash on my iPhone?

Unfortunately, there is no Trash app for the iPhone. It might come as a surprise to some of you who are not familiar with iOS. Personally, I believe that modern mobile phones lack this useful feature for a compelling reason. In my experience, most users want to remove something permanently when they delete it.

Nevertheless, there is a “Recently Deleted” folder

The trick is not known by many users. Several apps, including Photos, Notes, etc., now have a new feature called ‘Recently Deleted’ in iOS 10 (specifically, since iOS 8). It is similar to a computer’s Recycle Bin in terms of its primary function.

However, “Recently Deleted” only retains items for a maximum of 40 days. Thus, your iPhone will automatically delete items stored in this folder on day 41, just as you do when you empty your computer’s Recycle Bin.

How to Empty Trash on iPhone (photos app)?

As I mentioned earlier, this particular feature of the Photos app is called “Recently Deleted”.

Where can I find it? You can find this trashcan icon square labeled “Recently Deleted” in Photos by tapping on Albums and scrolling down (see screenshot below).

By tapping it, you will now be able to see the photos (or videos) you have erased, together with how many days iOS will retain them for.

It is likely they have already been emptied if you cannot find the photos and videos you removed. Delete all the media files on the left after selecting the files to free up space.

However, they still occupy space. Some of you might not know this tip, so you might wonder why space those photos take up after deletion isn’t released. There is a secret folder called Recently Deleted.

How to empty trash in the Mail app on iPhone?

Here’s how to permanently remove an email from the iOS Mail app if you are new to it.

1. Launch the Mail app. Select Inbox. Select multiple emails and hit “Delete” if you want to get rid of them (as shown on the screenshot on the left). To get rid of multiple emails, tap “Edit” on the top right.

Alternatively, you can view the email and hit the “Trash” icon at the bottom (screenshot on the right) in order to remove that email.

2. Return to the Mailboxes page. Click Trash, select all the emails you want to permanently delete, and click “Delete.” That’s it.

Getting rid of hundreds of emails is time-consuming, I know. Unfortunately, iOS 10 does not have an All-Delete option.

Logging into your email account through a web browser is a better way to remove multiple emails if you use IMAP for your email account (most likely you do). Gmail users should go to

By doing so, we would be able to empty multiple mailboxes at once. These emails would be automatically removed from your Mail application as well. Do you have some important emails that you accidentally deleted? Hopefully, it isn’t too late to get them back.

Tip: if you are deleting emails to free up space on your iPhone, another option is to clear off the offline copies of the emails. Reading your email accounts is as simple as removing them first.

How to empty trash in the Notes on iPhone?

Besides text, our Notes app currently includes photos, videos, sketches, and scans. They could also consume a significant amount of storage space on your iPhone over time. You should review notes and delete those with attachments you do not need. These notes will be moved into the Recently Deleted folder after they are deleted, however. Delete the trash in this folder as well. Follow these steps to permanently delete notes:

  • Launch the Notes app.
  • Select the Recently Deleted folder.
  • To delete all items, tap Edit then Delete All.

How do I empty the trash in the Files app on iPhone?

With Files, you can find files that are saved on your iPhone by certain applications, such as Numbers and Pages by Apple, or files that have been backed up to cloud services such as Dropbox and OneDrive. 

  • Open the Files app.
  • You may need to tap “Browse” at the bottom of the page if the app doesn’t open on the Browse page. 
  • Click “Recently Deleted.”
  • Select “Select.”
  • Click “Delete All.”

Tip: How to undo trash on an iPhone (recover deleted data)

There are times when users don’t pay attention to the file they are about to delete from the trash and they accidentally delete important files. The trash cannot be undone on an iPhone. Dr.Fone is always available as an all-in-one solution.

Apple users can restore all types of deleted data from their iPhones using the iOS data recovery tool for Dr.Fone. Dr.Fone can quickly and easily restore deleted files, regardless of whether the files are on your device, on your iTunes library, or on your iCloud account.

Some frequently asked questions by users

1. Does iPhone have a recycle bin?

iPhone does not have a recycle bin. Although the iPhone does not have a recycle bin, you may be able to restore lost or deleted files from an iTunes backup or an iCloud backup if they were deleted or lost.

2. Is there a way to empty the trash on my Mac?

You can easily delete a file by clicking and holding the “Trash” icon in the Dock. When the popup appears, click “Empty Trash”. You have to hold down the “command” key while clicking “Trash” to run Secure Empty Trash. Then “Empty Trash” will become “Secure Empty Trash”. Click on it.

3. Once I empty the trash on my iPhone, can I restore my data?

Normally, restoring data is not possible. It is possible to recover deleted data using a third-party app such as Apeaksoft iPhone Data Recovery. 

4. How does emptying the trash on an iPhone affect your data?

Data will be deleted from your iPhone when you empty its trash. Trash on iPhone cannot be reversed.

5. Is it possible to delete everything in my Trash?

Deleted files and folders can be easily wiped from the Recycle Bin. Delete files are as simple as right-clicking on them and selecting the delete option from the pop-up menu. It will remove the file from your Recycle Bin.

Final Thoughts

It’s not possible to recycle content from iPhones or iPads, unlike computers. Removing content permanently may require additional efforts. Hope this helps.

Those of you who are new to iOS may find that it takes some time to get used to iOS since it feels totally different from other systems. Spend some time reading the manual before using the system. Enjoy your new iPhone and enjoy using iOS. 

I hope now you understand how to empty trash on iPhone. Please let me know in the comment section below if you have any problems with this article.

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