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Android Recycle Bin: Where Are Deleted Files Stored on Android Phone

Cannot find the access to restore deleted files on your Android phone? Try out FonePaw Android Data Recovery to get back your lost data fast and easily.
author Elsie Wesley
date Monday, September 5, 2022

Recycle bin on computers enables us to restore deleted files in one click. But as we are inclined to use smartphones nowadays, it's natural that we also would like to have a recycle bin or a trash folder on the phone. They can be extremely helpful especially when encounter situations such as accidentally deleting important files on an Android phone.

Perhaps some of deleted files on your Android device actually deserve a second chance. Therefore, this article is writing to clear up any confusion. You'll find out whether it is possible to access the removed files from your Android device. If you've already deleted files but feel the urgency to retrieve the deleted files on Android, the following will also introduce a universal method to recover various types of files from Android. Moreover, to prevent data loss, you can even learn how to install a recycle bin on Android to empty trash and restore deleted files just like it does on a PC.

Part 1. Is There A Recycle Bin on Android?

Unfortunately, there is no such a specific recycle bin that stores all deleted files on Android phones. The main reason probably is the limited storage of an Android phone. Unlike a computer, an Android phone usually has merely 32GB - 256 GB storage, which is too small to hold a recycle bin. If there is a trash bin, Android storage will be soon eaten up by unnecessary files. Thus, you cannot undelete data from a recycle bin on Android.

Recycle Bin

Although Android phones do not provide a system recycle bin for users, many applications have their own trash folders which allow users to recover deleted data on the applications. That's also another reason why there is no need to have a built-in recycle bin for Android.

Access Recycle Bin on Android

  1. Android Email Recycle Bin: All email clients, including Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook have their own trash folder to hold deleted emails temporarily. Open your email app on Android, tap the Trash folder to access the deleted emails.
  2. Recycle Bin in File Explorer: File Explorer applications like Dropbox, ES File Explorer contain their own recycle bin.
  3. Trash on Photos App: Photos app like Google Photos have a built-in trash folder. And if you have enabled Samsung Cloud on a Samsung phone, you can also find deleted photos on Samsung Cloud's trash folder.
  4. Find Trash in File Manager: The native File Manager app on your Android can also be a place to locate files that you recently removed. Tap File Manager on your Android phone, then go to the Categories section. Scroll down and you may find the Recently deleted folder where you can recover deleted files or emptied the trash folder.
  5. Check App Download History: If you accidentally delete an app but you can't remember its name, a viable solution is to check your App download history and recover the specific application. On the typical Android device, the direct way to get access to app download history is via Google Play.

Simply swipe right and tap on My Apps & Games, then tap on the Library tab, then all the apps that you've ever downloaded to any device will display in the list. But if the Android device you are using, for instance, a Samsung phone or tablet, has its own app store, you can find the recently deleted history from the app store.

Besides, sometimes when you delete an app on the home screen, it is very likely that you only delete the shortcut but the app is not completely removed. Therefore, you can recreate a shortcut to quickly launch the app.

Part 2. How to Retrieve Deleted Files on Android?

However, not all deleted files can be found from your Android phone. Even though they can be stored in several different trash folders, some file types can be completely erased once you delete them. Apps can be easily retrieved, but files such as your photos, video and audio files, text messages or contacts can be tricky to get back.

Therefore, the easy and ultimate solution to restore deleted files is to turn to a third-party data recovery tool. A professional Android Data Recovery tool enables you to retrieve accidental deleted data conveniently without having to spend efforts in searching for a dedicated android recycle bin or a trash folder.

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Among so many data recovery tools for Android, FonePaw Android Data Recovery stands out from the others for its ease of use and compatibility. To illustrate further the features, this Android data recovery tool is able to recover deleted files from common Android phone or tablet brands such as Samsung, Google Pixel, Huawei, OnePlus, Xiaomi and etc. Also, it performs smoothly when recovering photos, video and audio files, text messages, contacts, and even WhatsApp data from device running Android 2.1 and even Android 12. Before you recover deleted data, you can easily preview and select the specific file, and finally retrieve it with a simple click.

Basically, this tool can perfectly handle data recovery process on Android and it only takes 5 easy steps to restore your lost data.

Step 1. Download and Launch the Software

Click on the download button to get the program. The program is fully compatible with both Windows and Mac System.

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After installation, launch the program on the computer. And then, connect your Android phone to your computer with a USB cable.

Connect Android to Computer

Step 2. Authorize Your Android Phone

Click "OK" on the pop-up window on the Android phone for authorization. If the pop-up window does show up, you can manually enable the USB debugging on your Android phone.

Enable USB Debugging

Step 3. Select File Types to Recover

When your Android phone is successfully connected to the program, you are allowed to select the file types you need. For example, check "Contacts", "Messages" or "Select All" directly. And then, click on the "Next" button.

Select File Types

Step 4. Grant Permission to Scan Deleted Files on Android

Before being able to search deleted files on your phone, the program needs to have your permissions to access the space that stores deleted files. To get the permissions, the program will install a FonePaw app on your phone. Follow its guide to enable Install via USB and install the app.

After the installation, tap Allow to the desktop program's request to access your deleted contacts, messages and other deleted data.

Install FonePaw App

Give Permissions to FonePaw

Step 5. Choose Target Files

After getting the permissions, the desktop program will first start a standard scan on your phone, which can show you deleted thumbnails and non-deleted data on the phone memory. Check if the deleted files you are looking for show up after the standard scan.

Click Deep Scan if you need to access more deleted data from the Android phone.

Preview Deleted Thumbnails

When the scanning is finished, deleted files will be listed on the program's interface. In this step, enable the checkbox to choose your target files. After that, click the "Recover" button to get files back.

Recover Files From Android

The deleted files will be saved to your computer after recovery. You can manually move the deleted photos, videos, audio files, and etc. back to your Android phone or use FonePaw DoTrans, a helpful tool that can quickly import data from PC to Android/iOS devices as well as transferring files between Android and iOS devices.

Part 3. Where Are Deleted Files Stored on Android Phone?

Many of you might still wonder where the deleted files will go if there is no recycle bin on Android device.

As you've already known, the Android system doesn't have a special trash folder for the deleted files. When you delete a file on the Android phone, the file doesn't go anywhere. It is still stored in its original spot in the phone's internal memory. It's not until the spot is written in by new data that the file will be eliminated and replaced. And that's the reason why you still have a chance to get these deleted data back even though the deleted file is invisible to you on the Android system.

tips NOTE:
  • Operations like installing apps, sending messages, taking photos could generate new data and overwrite the deleted data. To protect the deleted files, you'd better turn off network connection and not use the phone until the data is recovered.

Still, Android phone manufacturers such as Samsung has provided an recycle bin option setting that allows you to find deleted photos or videos conveniently. Here's a simple guide to recover deleted photos on Samsung smartphone.

  1. Launch the Gallery app.
  2. Tap on the horizontal three dots icon.
  3. Select the Trash option.
  4. Tap or long-press to select photos that you want to restore.
  5. Tap the restore icon to retrieve deleted photos.

Note: Items in the Trash will be permanently deleted after 15 days.

Trash on Gallery App Samsung

Since deleted files are temporarily deleted, they can be restored even though there is no Android recycle bin you can access to. A powerful Android file recovery application can go deep into your Android phone memory and recover your deleted files effortlessly.

Part 4. How to Get An Android Recycle Bin

To avoid regretting about deleting a file on your Android, you can also consider to get an extra third-party Android recycle bin app to restore recently deleted files to their original place. For those who really need a system recycle bin on your phone, here are some useful and reliable recycle bin apps available for Android.


Much similar to the process of recovering files on your computer, Dumpster is a popular recycle bin app for Android that gives you an option to instantly retrieve your recently deleted photos, videos, apps, and many other file types. Once you've downloaded the app, it will create backup copies of your needed files, and basically you can manage all important files and documents on your device. The entire backup and recovery process doesn't require you to root your phone and tablet.

Dumpster for Android

Recycle Bin

Recycle Bin, also known as Trash, is yet another free file manager app that comes with the file restoration function. It serves as a temporary storage location for multiple different files on your Android devices. If you want to delete a file with Recycle Bin, you can get the result via "Send To", "Share it" or "Open With" options to transfer files to the Recycle Bin. And if you want to permanently remove the file, you need to go to Recycle Bin and enable the "Permanently Delete the File" option. Besides, this is also a useful tool that enables you to undelete and restore files to the original location.

Recycle Bin for Android

Final Words

There are no recycle bins on Android phones, but you still have ways to protect and recover your Android data. With all these useful data recovery tools and recycle bin apps, you don't have to worry about accidental deletion and have a chance to get back deleted files whenever needed.

Android Data Recovery
Android Data Recovery
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