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How To Empty Trash on iPhone (5 Easy Ways to Free Up Space)

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Emptying your iPhone trash helps declutter your phone for optimum performance. On Android or other phones, it’s a smooth and easy process. But on iPhones, it’s not as easy as that. This is because the trash in an android phone is in a single location you can easily get to. However, on iPhones, the trash is not in a single-easy-to-locate place.

If you are an old iPhone user, you will be familiar with the location of trash in your phone. On the other hand, new users are not so familiar with this – they do not have a clue where the trash is. Hence, in this post, you shall learn about this and other iPhone features. Do read on to know more.

Step-By-Step: How To Empty Trash On iPhone

Windows phones use Recycle Bins, while Mac uses trash, but on iPhones, there is no general folder for deleted files. In the absence of a general folder for trash, iPhone incorporates trash sections in some of its apps. Apps like Photos, Notes, Mails, and Files all come with in-built trash folders. The phone moves all deleted files temporarily to the trash folder for 30 days before the system automatically deletes them, or the user manually does so.

On your iPhone, four different apps houses files recently deleted, and these include:

  • Photos app
  • Mail app
  • Notes app
  • Files app

When trying to empty iPhone trash, the holistic approach is to visit all the individual trash locations and empty them.

1. Photos app

As you delete photos from your album, they would not just leave the phone; they would be stored in the trash temporarily. The deleted photos would stay in the trash for 30 days. After 30 days, the app automatically deletes the files; therefore, even if you do not delete the files manually, the phone will eventually delete the files.

How to empty trash in the Photos app on an iPhone

  1. Launch the Photos app.
  2. Afterward, open “Albums,” as seen on your phone screen at the bottom with other icons.
  3. To locate the Photos Trash, you must navigate to the bottom of the screen to “Recently Deleted” in the Other Albums section. This folder is the recycle bin for all deleted photos.
  4. Select the File and tap “Delete All” to move them permanently out of your phone.

2. Mails app

Emails accumulate daily. You save some emails in your Sent folder. Some go into the inbox, others in the outbox, and some you send to the trash box. After prolonged use, all the emails you have ever deleted move to the Mail app trash.

How to empty trash in the Mail app on an iPhone

To remove emails from the mail app trash, follow the steps below:

  1. Launch your Mail app.
  2. After the app has opened, you will see the “All Trash” button on the Mailboxes page. Now tap the button to proceed to the next step.
  3. After tapping the “All Trash” button, tap “Edit.”
  4. Finally, tap “Delete All” to delete all useless emails or email accounts from your iPhone with that single tap of the screen.

3. Notes app

Notes app help you keep notes, memos, or daily reminders of activities in a paperless fashion. The notes are saved on the phone as small text files and come with negligible space consumption. After a long while, the note files pile up, and there will be a need to delete them to create room on your phone. The deleted notes are moved temporarily to the Recently Deleted folder until they are deleted permanently.

How to empty trash in the Notes on an iPhone

To empty the trash in the notes app, here is what you do:

  1. Launch the Notes app. After launching the app, if it refuses to open on the folders page, you can tap the Back button to navigate to the folder.
  2. On the folders page, navigate to “Recently Deleted” and tap it to proceed.
  3. The final step is to tap on “Edit” and then “Delete All.”

4. Files app

Different files from some Apple apps on your iPhone store in the Files app. Examples of such apps include Apple’s Numbers and Pages app, Dropbox, OneDrive, downloads, etc. These files can cumulate to take up a huge chunk of your phone memory. The files range from PDF, doc, presentation files, and so on.

How to empty trash in the Files app on an iPhone

After your move deleted files to the Files app trash on your iPhone, proceed with the steps below to empty it:

  1. Launch the Files app. If, after launching the app, it refuses to open on the Browse page, tap Browse located at the bottom of the page.
  2. Then tap “Recently Deleted. “Now click “Select” and “Delete All” to remove the files from the phone permanently.

5. Third-Party App Method 

This article would not be complete without stating the use of Third-Party apps to empty your iPhone trash. An example of such an app is the Dr.Fone – Data Eraser (iOS). The app scans and locates files for permanent deletion, and with a single tap, you can execute the action. This can be carried out without going through the process of navigating to different trash folders on the phone.

This method is a lot easier than the earlier process. However, one demerit is that it requires downloading the app to a laptop.


Now that you have learned how to empty trash on your iPhone, you can do it with one hand tied to your back. It’s that simple. Share these simple steps with others and also learn how to do them. With this knowledge, you never have to go through the stress of having a filled-up phone memory.

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Pigtou Editorial Team

A group of tech enthusiasts who find pleasure in troubleshooting and resolving various issues. When we're not engaged in writing, we typically enjoy playing table football or spending time with our office dog.
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