Contrary to popular belief, iPhones don’t have a traditional ‘Trash’ or ‘Recycle Bin’ like a Windows PC or Mac. However, they do offer a way to recover recently deleted files in certain apps. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to manage and find these deleted items.

Understanding iPhone’s ‘Recently Deleted’ Feature

iPhones have a ‘Recently Deleted’ folder in various apps, including Photos, Notes, Mail, and Files. This feature holds deleted files for up to 30 days before they are permanently removed​​.

Accessing Recently Deleted Files in Photos

Step 1: Open the ‘Photos’ app.
Step 2: Tap on the ‘Albums’ tab.
Step 3: Select the ‘Recently Deleted’ album.
Step 4: Here, you can recover or permanently delete your photos and videos​​.

Recovering Deleted Files in the Files App

Step 1: Open the ‘Files’ app.
Step 2: Tap on the ‘Browse’ tab.
Step 3: Under ‘Locations‘, select ‘Recently Deleted.
Step 4: Choose the files you want to recover and tap ‘Recover’​​.

Managing Deleted Messages

Step 1: Open the ‘Messages’ app.
Step 2: In the conversation list, tap ‘Edit’ or ‘Filters’.
Step 3: Select ‘Show Recently Deleted’ to view or recover deleted messages​​.

Restoring Notes from Recently Deleted

In the ‘Notes’ app, you can find a ‘Recently Deleted’ folder where you can recover or permanently remove notes that you have previously deleted.

Time Limit for Recovering Deleted Items

Items in the ‘Recently Deleted’ folder are kept for 30 days. After this period, they are permanently deleted. It’s important to regularly check these folders if you wish to recover any deleted items.

Permanently Deleting Items from iPhone

To permanently remove an item from your iPhone, you can delete it from the ‘Recently Deleted’ folder. This ensures that the item is completely removed from your device.

Why Doesn’t iPhone Have a Traditional Trash Bin?

The absence of a traditional trash bin on iPhone is by design to optimize performance and storage management. This encourages users to manage their storage more actively.

Securing Sensitive Information

When you delete sensitive information, it’s crucial to remove it permanently by deleting it from the ‘Recently Deleted’ folder to ensure privacy and security.

Using iCloud to Manage Your Photos and Files

iCloud also offers ways to recover deleted files and photos. Deleted items in iCloud-enabled apps will also appear in the ‘Recently Deleted’ folders across your synced devices.


While the iPhone doesn’t have a traditional ‘Trash’ bin, it provides a practical way to manage deleted items through the ‘Recently Deleted’ folders in various apps. Understanding and regularly managing these folders can help you effectively recover important items or permanently remove unwanted files.


  1. How long do files stay in the ‘Recently Deleted’ folder?
    Files stay in the ‘Recently Deleted’ folder for up to 30 days.
  2. Can I recover a file after it’s permanently deleted?
    Once a file is permanently deleted from the ‘Recently Deleted’ folder, it cannot be recovered.
  3. Does the ‘Recently Deleted’ feature apply to all apps?
    This feature is available in certain apps like Photos, Notes, Mail, and Files.
  4. How can I permanently delete a photo from my iPhone?
    To permanently delete a photo, remove it from both the album and the ‘Recently Deleted’ folder.
  5. Is there a way to extend the 30-day limit in the ‘Recently Deleted’ folder?
    No, the 30-day limit is fixed and cannot be extended.
Eric Chan

Hi! I’m Eric and I work on the knowledge base at  You can see some of my writings about technology, cellphone repair, and computer repair here.

When I’m not writing about tech I’m playing with my dog or hanging out with my girlfriend.

Shoot me a message at if you want to see a topic discussed or have a correction on something I’ve written.

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