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How to Empty Trash on Your iPhone to Reduce Clutter and Make It Run Faster

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Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

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Unlike Mac or Windows computers, the iPhone doesn’t have a dedicated trash folder that stores deleted files.

Instead, some of the built-in apps that manage files, such as Messages, Emails, Photos, etc, have their own recycle bin.

However, accessing these bins isn’t as straightforward as accessing them on a Mac computer, where it’s just one click away.

It would be beneficial if Apple introduced an option in Settings where users could simply toggle a switch to empty all trash.

Until such a feature is implemented, we’re left emptying the trash in each specific app individually.

Why You Should Empty the Trash on Your iPhone

Deleting a file on your iPhone, like a photo or email, doesn’t mean it’s gone forever.

Instead, Apple keeps the file for 30 days before permanently deleting it. This lets you recover the file if you accidentally delete something important.

However, this convenience comes at a cost: it consumes precious storage space on your iPhone. As we all know, storage space is often limited on iPhones and can impact performance when running low.

So, if you’re certain that you don’t need those deleted files, you can choose to permanently delete them instead of waiting for a month.

How to Empty Your Email Trash

Each email account on your iPhone has its own trash folder.

However, how long deleted emails stay there before disappearing for good depends on your email service provider and your personal settings within that email app.

To manually empty the trash, follow these steps:

1. Open the Mail app.

2. Tap the Trash folder for the specific email account you want to clean.

iPhone Mail trash folder

3. Tap Edit at the top right corner of the screen.

Edit button iPhone Mail

4. Tap Select All at the upper left.

Select all items from email trash folder

4. Tap Delete, then select Delete All.

Empty email trash folder on iPhone

This will empty the trash folder in the Mail app. Although deleted emails don’t take up space on your iPhone, they can consume storage in the Mail app’s cloud storage.

So it’s a good idea to regularly clear out the trash folder.

How to Empty Trash in Messages

If you’re anything like me, you likely have a plethora of deleted text messages cluttering up your deleted folder.

From spam to confirmation messages and verification codes, these texts can pile up over time, eating up valuable storage space on your iPhone.

Here’s how to get rid of them.

1. Open the Messages app, then tap Edit at the upper left.

Apple Messages edit button on iPhone

2. Choose Show Recently Deleted from the dropdown menu.

iPhone show recently deleted messages

3. Tap Delete All at the lower left.

Delete all recently deleted messages on iPhone

This will permanently delete any messages you have deleted over the past 30 days.

How to Empty Trash in Photos

It’s no secret that photos can be storage hogs. To free up space and optimize your device’s performance, you need to regularly empty the “Recent Deleted” folder in the Photos app.

The steps below will show you how.

1. Open the Photos app.

2. Go to the Albums tab and scroll down to tap Recently Deleted. (you might need to verify your identity with Face ID or Touch ID).

Photos recently deleted folder on iPhone

3. Tap Select at the upper right.

Select button recently deleted folder iPhone photos app

4. Tap the three dots icon at the lower right corner of the screen.

More button recently deleted folder photos app iPhone

4. Then select Delete All from the popup menu.

Empty recently deleted folder on photos app iPhone

This will permanently delete any photos and videos you’ve moved to trash in the past 30 days.

How to Empty the Notes Trash

If you use the Notes app frequently, you might have some notes lingering in the trash. Here’s how to clear them.

1. Open the Notes app, then tap Recently Deleted.

Apple Notes recently deleted iPhone

2. Tap Edit.

Edit button Apple Notes

4. Select Delete All at the lower right, then confirm.

Empty Apple Notes trash on iPhone

How to Empty Trash in Files

The Files app also has its own trash bin. Here’s how to check and clear them.

1. Open the Files app and navigate to the Browse tab. From there, tap “Recently Deleted” to access your recently deleted files.

Recently deleted folder on iPhone Files app

2. Tap the three dots icon at the upper right.

Files app more button

3. Choose Select from the dropdown menu.

Select button iPhone Files app

4. Tap Delete All at the lower right, then confirm.

Empty trash on iPhone Files app

Clear Out Voice Memos Trash

Long voice memos can take up significant space on your phone. Here’s how to delete them:

1. Open the Voice Memos app, then tap the arrow icon (caret) in the top left corner.

iPhone all recordings

3. Choose Recently Deleted.

iPhone recently deleted recording folder

4. Tap Edit.

Edit button iPhone voice memo

5. Select Delete All and confirm.

Empty voice memo trash on iPhone

We hope this guide helped you reclaim some storage space on your iPhone. If you have any questions or need further assistance emptying the trash on your iPhone, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

Herby Jasmin

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