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Unlike a desktop computer’s trash system, Android doesn’t offer a universal recycle bin that stores your deleted files. Instead, most Android apps manage their own trash, which you have to individually empty to free up your phone’s storage. Here’s how to do that.

In this guide, we’ll cover how to empty the trash for Google Photos and Files by Google, which are two of the popular gallery and file manager apps for this operating system. If you use a different app, check the “Recently Deleted” folder, “Trash,” or similar places to find and remove your deleted files.

RELATED: How to Delete Duplicate Files on Android

Clear the Trash in Google Photos

To clear your deleted photos and videos, first, launch the Google Photos app on your Android phone.

In Photos’ bottom bar, tap “Library.”

Select "Library" at the bottom.

On the “Library” screen, at the top, tap “Trash.”

Choose "Trash."

On the “Trash” page, in the top-right corner, tap the three dots.

Tap the three dots at the top-right corner.

From the three-dot menu, select “Empty Trash.”

Select "Empty Trash."

In the prompt, choose “Allow” to confirm your choice.

Warning: Make sure you’re okay with permanently losing all the items in your trash. You can’t recover them once they’re gone.

Hit "Allow" in the prompt.

And Google Photos will permanently delete everything from the trash. You’re all set.

RELATED: How to Stop Google Photos From Asking Permission to Delete Photos

Empty the Trash in Files by Google

If you use Files by Google as your file manager and you want to clear the trash, first, launch the Files by Google app on your phone.

When the app launches, in the top-left corner, tap the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines).

Access the hamburger menu.

In the menu that opens, select “Trash.”

Choose "Trash" in the menu.

On the “Trash” page, your deleted files are displayed. Here, select all your files by choosing “All Items.” Then, at the bottom, tap “Delete.”

Enable "All Items" and tap "Delete."

In the prompt that opens, choose “Delete.”

Warning: You won’t be able to recover your files once they’re permanently deleted. Make sure you’re okay with that.

Select "Delete" in the prompt.

And you’re done. Files by Google will delete your trashed files for good.

RELATED: How to Free Up Storage Space on Your Android Phone with Files by Google

Other Ways to Free Up an Android Phone’s Storage

Emptying the trash is one of the many ways to clear your Android phone’s storage. You can use other methods to reclaim even more storage space on your phone. These include clearing the app cache, (like Discord’s cache files), reducing WhatsApp’s storage usage, and removing Dropbox’s cache.

RELATED: How to Free Up Storage Space on Your Android Phone

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Mahesh Makvana is a freelance tech writer who specializes in writing how-to guides. He has been writing tech tutorials for over a decade now. He’s written for some of the prominent tech sites including MakeUseOf, MakeTechEasier, and Online Tech Tips.
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