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How to empty the trash on your iPhone in 4 different apps to free up storage space

Business Insider | Aug 20, 2019, 08.18PM IST

iPhone XS Max

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You can empty trash on your iPhone in the Mail, Photos, Notes, and Files apps.

  • The iPhone doesn't have one integrated trash can - instead, to reclaim space, you will need to empty the trash on your iPhone in several different apps.
  • You can empty trash on your iPhone for recently deleted files in Mail, Photos, Notes, and Files.
  • If you don't clear recently deleted photos, they are automatically purged after about 30 days.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

If you're running low on storage space on your iPhone, there are a number of ways to free up space by deleting unused apps, optimizing photos, clearing the cache, and more.

You can also save a lot of space by emptying the phone's trash, but unlike on your computer, the iPhone doesn't have one integrated recycling bin or trash can. Instead, iOS has a handful of separate trash cans, each of which much be emptied individually.

The four most common trash cans on the iPhone are located in Mail, Photos, Notes, and Files. Here's how to empty trash for each of them.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone Xs (From $999.99 at Best Buy)

How to empty trash in the Mail app on an iPhone

1. Start the Mail app.

2. On the Mailboxes page, tap "All Trash."

trash 1

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The Mail app has a single trash for all your email accounts, though you can also empty trash in each account individually.

3. Tap "Edit."

trash 2

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The Edit button is at the top right of the screen.

4. Tap "Delete All."

trash 3

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After you tap "Edit," you have the option to delete everything in your Mail's trash.

This empties all of the trash cans in your various email accounts with a single click. If you prefer, you can tap an account on the Mailboxes page, tap "Trash," and only empty trash associated with a specific account.

How to empty trash in the Photos app on an iPhone

1. Start the Photos app.

2. Tap "Albums" in the row of icons at the bottom of the screen.

3. Scroll down to the bottom of the Albums page and tap "Recently Deleted" in the Other Albums section.

trash 4

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The trash in Photos is called the "Recently Deleted" folder.

4. Tap "Select."

5. Tap "Delete All."

trash 5

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You can permanently remove all your recently deleted photos at once - or recover them, which returns them to your camera roll.

The Photos app automatically deletes files in this folder after about 30 days, so if you don't manually delete anything here, eventually it gets removed on its own.

How to empty trash in the Notes on an iPhone

Notes are small text files and generally take up very little space on your iPhone, but you might want to remove recently deleted notes to reduce clutter. Like Photos, they're deleted automatically after about 30 days.

1. Start the Notes app.

2. If the app doesn't open on the Folders page, tap the Back button to go to Folders.

3. Tap "Recently Deleted."

trash 6

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The Notes app has its own "Recently Deleted" trash you can empty whenever you like.

4. Tap "Edit."

5. Tap "Delete All."

How to empty trash in the Files app on an iPhone

The Files app helps you locate files stored on your iPhone by certain apps, like Apple's Numbers and Pages apps, and files stored locally on your phone by cloud services like Dropbox and OneDrive.

1. Start the Files app.

2. If the app doesn't open on the Browse page, tap "Browse" at the bottom of the page.

3. Tap "Recently Deleted."

trash 7

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You can delete miscellaneous files on your iPhone using the Files app.

4. Tap "Select."

5. Tap "Delete All."

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