How to Empty Trash on iPhone – Apple phones have had limited storage space in the past, but recent models have improved in this area. However, you may still find that your iPhone memory fills up quickly. Deleting photos or messages may not always increase your free storage space, as some apps keep deleted files on your phone for up to 30 days for potential restoration. To immediately free up space, here’s how to empty the trash on your iPhone.

Where Do I Find the Trash on iPhone?

how to empty trash on iphone

An iPhone does not have a centralized trash folder like a Mac or Windows computer. Instead, certain native iPhone apps have their own trash folders where deleted files are temporarily stored before being permanently deleted. These apps include Mail, Photos, Notes, and Files. To empty the trash in these apps, it must be done individually in each app, as there is no option to delete all files at once.

How to Empty Trash in Mail

When you delete messages in the Mail app, they will be moved to a trash folder. The length of time the messages remain in the trash folder varies based on the type of email account and its settings. To manually delete these messages, you can do it through the settings on your iPhone.

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To empty Trash in Mail:

  1. Open the Mail app.
  2. Scroll down and tap Trash for the account containing the messages you want to delete (or Bin if you’re using UK English on your iPhone).
  3. In the top right-hand corner, tap Edit.
  4. If there are multiple items to delete, tap Select All.
  5. At the bottom of the screen, tap Delete.
  6. The Trash folder is now empty. Repeat this process for any other email accounts you want to empty.

How to Empty Trash in Photos

When a photo is deleted in the Photos app, it is transferred to the Recently Deleted album instead of being instantly removed. The images will remain in this album for 40 days before they are permanently deleted. If you want to delete them sooner, you can do so manually by accessing the Recently Deleted folder.

To empty trash in Photos:

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. At the bottom of the screen, tap Albums.
  3. Scroll to the very bottom and tap Recently Deleted. You may need to unlock this folder with your passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID.
  4. To remove all the photos, tap Select in the top right-hand corner.
  5. In the bottom left-hand corner, tap Delete All.
  6. Confirm that you want to delete the photos—this cannot be undone.

How to Empty Trash in Notes

With the Notes app, you can choose to share your notes through iCloud, email or save them locally on your iPhone. If a note is deleted from the On My iPhone folder, it will be moved to the Recently Deleted folder, providing the chance to restore it later. However, if you want to free up space immediately, you can manually delete the notes from the Recently Deleted folder. These deleted notes will ultimately be permanently removed.

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To empty trash in Notes:

  1. Open the Notes app.
  2. Under the On My iPhone section, tap Recently Deleted.
  3. In the top right-hand corner, tap Edit.
  4. At the bottom of the screen, tap Delete All.
  5. Confirm that you want to delete these notes. Once you make this decision, you won’t be able to undo it.
  6. Your notes trash is now empty.

How to Empty Trash in Files

How to Empty Trash in Files on iphone

When files stored in the Files app on your iPhone are deleted, they will be transferred to a Recently Deleted folder similar to photos in the Photos app. If you wish to remove them immediately, you can do so manually. Note that this does not apply to items that were sent from your iCloud Drive.

To empty trash in Files:

  1. Open the Files app
  2. At the bottom of the screen, tap Browse.
  3. Tap Recently Deleted.
  4. In the top right-hand corner, tap the Three Dots icon.
  5. Tap Select.
  6. At the bottom of the screen, select Delete All.
  7. Confirm that you want to delete the files; you will not be able to undo this.
  8. Your Files trash will now empty.

Maximize Your iPhone Storage

By understanding how to clear the trash on your iPhone, you can instantly free up storage space without waiting for files to delete automatically. Additionally, there are several other methods to increase storage space on your iPhone as needed.

For instance, if you have text messages with large attachments, you can either manually delete them or set your phone to automatically delete older messages. Furthermore, apps that you don’t use but remain hidden still take up space on your iPhone, so you can delete them to free up space.

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Another alternative is to offload unused apps. This will remove the app from your iPhone but keep its data and documents, in case you want to use it again in the future.

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