How to Empty Trash on iPhone

It's time to recover some space on your iPhone.

How To Empty Trash Iphone

Emptying the trash is one of the best ways to free up storage on an electronic device like a PC or phone. Sadly, iPhones and iPads don’t have a dedicated “Recycle Bin” like a Windows computer does or even a catchall Trash folder as a Mac does. Instead, you have to clean deleted files separately for each app on your iOS device, which is possible only for the apps that offer the “Recently Deleted” folder. For other apps, you must offload the app to erase deleted content for good. Let’s check out how to empty the trash on your iPhone with both of these methods.

How to Empty Trash in Apple Photos

Trash, Bin, or the Recently Deleted folder holds your deleted files for 30 days, after which they get deleted automatically. You can manually remove the files from this folder, as these continue to take up storage on your iPhone until permanently deleted.

  1. Open the Apple Photos app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on the “Albums” tab at the bottom.
Apple Photos Albums
  1. Scroll down to the next screen and tap on “Recently Deleted.”
Apple Photos Recently Deleted
  1. Tap on “Select” at the top and hit the “Delete All” button.
Apple Photos Recently Deleted Delete
  1. Tap on “Delete X photos” in the confirmation pop-up that appears. (X is the number of photos to be deleted.)
Apple Photos Recently Deleted Delete Confirm

Alternatively, go to “Settings -> General -> iPhone Storage -> Photos” and tap on “Empty” next to “Recently Deleted Album.”

How to Empty Trash in Apple Notes

  1. Open the Apple Notes app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on “Folders” at the top left followed by “Recently Deleted” to see all deleted notes.
Apple Notes Recently Deleted
  1. Tap on the “Edit” option at the top right and press the “Delete All” button to trash all the deleted notes.
Apple Notes Recently Deleted Remove

How to Empty Trash in Files

  1. Open the Files app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on the “Browse” tab at the bottom to reveal various folder locations and select “Recently Deleted” in this list.
Apple Files Recently Deleted
  1. Tap on the three-dots icon at the top right and choose “Select” from the context menu.
Apple Files Recently Deleted Select
  1. Press the “Delete All” option.
Apple Files Recently Deleted Remove

How to Empty Trash in Voice Memos

  1. Launch the Voice Memos app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on the back arrow at the top-left corner of the app and select “Recently Deleted” from the menu.
Apple Voice Memo Recently Deleted
  1. Tap on “Edit” at the top right and press the “Delete All” button at the bottom right.
Apple Voice Memo Recently Deleted Empty

How to Empty Trash in Apple Mail

  1. Open the Apple Mail app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on the “Mailboxes” option at the top and press the “Bin” or “Trash” option.
Apple Mail Mailbox
  1. Tap on “Edit” and hit the “Select All” button at the top to select all deleted email. Alternatively, you can select individual emails that you want to delete.
Apple Mail Mailbox Select All
  1. Hit the “Delete” button at the bottom right.
Apple Mail Mailbox Delete All

How to Offload Apps on iPhone

Clearing trash is just one of the methods to free up storage on iPhones. It doesn’t help much, as not all apps offer the ability to empty trash. An alternate way is to offload apps from your iPhone.

Offloading an app is similar to uninstalling the app from your phone but in a slightly different manner. It deletes the temporary files and storage occupied by the app, which is equivalent to clearing trash, but retains its important data. After you reinstall the app, your data is restored automatically. You can offload all apps on your iPhone one by one as shown below:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Go to “General -> iPhone Storage.”
Apple Iphone Storage
  1. Scroll down and find the app that you want to offload. Tap on it and hit the “Offload App” button.
Apple Offload App
  1. Tap on “Offload App” in the confirmation prompt that appears.
Apple Offload App Confirm
  1. Restart your phone to free up the storage left after offloading the app.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get back an app I offloaded?

Tap on an offloaded app’s icon on your phone and it should start installing again.

How can I offload a hidden app from iPhone?

Even if an app is hidden from your phone’s screens and folders, it is visible in iOS settings. You can offload the app as usual. If you want to get rid of the app for good, learn how to delete hidden apps from your iPhone.

How can I permanently delete all data from my iPhone?

You have to factory reset your iPhone via “Settings -> General -> Transfer or Reset iPhone -> Erase All Content and Settings” to clear all data from it.

All images and screenshots by Mehvish Mushtaq.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox