How to Delete Downloads on an Android Phone

Delete Downloads Android Featured

Over time, the Downloads folder on your phone can become full of necessary data and lead to “internal storage full” errors. It’s important to clean out the Downloads folder and get rid of files you don’t use. The three methods outlined below will show you how to delete downloads on Android phones.

1. Using File Manager App on Phone

Deleting downloads or downloaded files isn’t a tough job on Android. Just open the dedicated Downloads folder using a File Manager app, then select the file you want to delete and hit the Delete button. That’s it.

Typically, your phone will have File manager preinstalled. It will be called “Files,” “My Files,” “File Manager,” “File Explorer,” etc. If your phone doesn’t have a File Explorer app, you can always install one from the Play Store. One of the best File Manager apps is Files by Google.

Let’s check the steps to clear downloads on Android using two popular file manager apps: Files by Google and Samsung My Files. The basic steps will remain the same on other File manager apps as well.

Delete Android Downloads Using Files by Google

1. Install the Files by Google app on your Android phone if it’s not already preinstalled.

2. Open the app and find the Downloads folder on the home screen under the Browse tab. If you don’t see it, scroll down in the “Browse” tab and tap on “Internal storage -> Downloads.”

Android Downloads Folder Files By Google

3. Once inside the Downloads folder, tap on the three-dot icon next to the file and select “Move to Trash.” If a confirmation pop-up appears, confirm that you want it moved to Trash.

Android Downloads Move To Trash Files By Google

If you want to delete multiple files, touch and hold any one of the files to select it, then tap on the selection boxes to select more files. Finally, hit the Delete icon to clear the downloads.

Android Downloads Delete Multiple Files By Google

Delete Downloads Using Samsung My Files App

1. On your Samsung phone, open the My Files app.

2. Tap on the Downloads folder. Chances are it will have none or few files. Tap on “Internal storage -> Download.” You will see all your downloaded files in this folder.

Android Downloads Folder Samsung My Files App

3. Touch and hold the file you want to delete. The multiple selection feature will get enabled automatically, as you tap on other files to select them. Tap the Delete icon to remove the files. A confirmation pop-up will appear. Tap on “Move to trash.”

Android Downloads Delete Samsung My Files App

What Is Trash?

When you delete files using a file manager app, the files will move to the Trash folder instead of being permanently deleted. The Trash folder (Recycle bin) houses your deleted files for 7, 15, or 30 days, depending on the file manager app you use. They will be delete after the given time frame. You can restore the deleted files before their time is up from the Trash.

However, if you don’t want to keep the files in the Trash, you can remove them manually. To do so in the Files by Google app, open the app and tap on the three-bar icon at the top. Select “Trash” from the menu. Select the files to be deleted and tap Delete.

Android Downloads Files By Google Clear Trash

In the Samsung My Files app, tap on the three-dot icon at the top and select Trash. Choose the files to be deleted and hit Delete.

Android Downloads Samsung Files Clear Trash

2. Delete Downloaded Files from PC

You can delete downloads on your phone from your PC as well. Just connect your Android phone to the computer using a USB cable. Once your PC detects the phone, open the phone folder on the PC and navigate to “Internal storage -> Downloads.” Delete the files. The same will be removed from your phone as well.

3. Delete Downloaded Files Straight from Google Chrome

You can delete downloads directly from the browser. Follow the steps shown below for the Google Chrome browser.

1. Open Chrome on your phone.

2. Tap on the three-dot icon at the top and select Downloads.

Android Downloads Delete Chrome

3. Hit the three-dot icon next to the file you want to delete and choose Delete from the menu. To delete multiple files, touch and hold one of the files you want to delete, then tap on the other files and hit the Delete icon.

Android Downloads Delete From Chrome Multiple

Troubleshooting: Cannot Delete Downloads on Android

If you are unable to delete downloads from your Android phone, follow these troubleshooting methods.

1. Restart Phone

Start by rebooting your Android phone, then try deleting the file again.

2. Delete Using Another File Manager App

Next, try deleting the file using a different file manager app for Android.

3. Clear Cache

You need to clear the cache for the File manager app that you are using and for Media storage. To do that:

1. Go to “Settings -> Apps.”

2. Tap on the three-dot icon at the top and select “Show system apps.”

3. Under the list of apps, select “Media storage.”

4. Tap on “Storage and cache” and hit the “Clear cache” button.

5. Restart your phone. If the issue persists, hit “Clear data” (or Clear storage).

6. Repeat steps 1 through 5 for the File manager app.

Tip: try removing write protection from the card.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I delete PDFs and half-downloaded files from my Android phone?

You can delete PDFs and half-downloaded files in the same way you delete other files. That is, navigate to the Download folder in the File manager app and look for the required files. Select them and hit the Delete button.

2. How do you find recently downloaded files?

To find recently downloaded files, use the Sort option. Open the Downloads folder in the File manager app and look for the Sort option. Then choose “Sort by date.” Your recently downloaded files will be at the top.

3. How do I delete hidden files on Android?

To delete hidden files, open the File Manager app on your phone and go to its settings. Enable hidden files, then navigate to the folder containing the hidden files. Select it and hit the Delete option.

4. Will clearing data from the file manager or browser delete downloaded files?

No. Clearing the cache or data from the file manager app or browser will not have any impact on the downloaded files.

5. Is it okay to delete downloads?

Yes. You can delete downloads as long as you are sure that you don’t need them. In fact, you should occasionally delete the unnecessary or old downloads to free up storage space, especially the APK files for the apps you have installed.

6. How can I free up storage on an Android without deleting files?

If you don’t want to remove downloaded files, you can still increase internal storage through a couple of other methods. For instance, you can compress large audio files, move photos and videos to a cloud storage service like Google Photos, add an SD card if your phone supports it, etc.

Deleting downloads, however, remains one of the best ways to free up space on Android phones. You can also change the downloads location on your Android phone, move Android apps to an SD card, or uninstall apps to get more storage.

Mehvish Mushtaq Mehvish Mushtaq

Mehvish is a technology enthusiast from Kashmir, India. A computer engineer by degree, she's always been keen to help when someone finds technology challenging. Her favorite verticals include how-to guides, explainers, tips and tricks for Android, iOS/iPadOS, Windows, social media, and web apps.

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