How to Empty Trash on an iPad: Simplifying Storage Management

Your iPad's storage space is limited. As you use your iPad to take photos and videos, download apps and media files, and store documents, the storage space gets used up.

This can slow down your iPad's performance. One way to free up storage space is by permanently deleting files you no longer need from your iPad's trash folder.

Open the Files App

The Files app allows you to access and manage files stored on your iPad. To empty the trash, first open the Files app.

The Files app icon looks like a blue folder. Tap on it to launch the app.

Go to the Recently Deleted Folder

Once the Files app opens, you'll see different file locations on the left side.

Under Locations, scroll down and tap on Recently Deleted. This folder contains files that have been recently deleted from your iPad.

Review the Content

Before permanently deleting files, take a few moments to review what's in your Recently Deleted folder.

Tap on individual file icons to preview them. Make sure you don't accidentally delete anything important.

Select Files to Delete

After reviewing, it's time to select the files to delete. Tap on Select at the top right. This will enable file selection mode.

Now tap on each file icon you want to delete permanently. A blue checkmark will appear on selected files.

Delete Selected Files

Delete Selected Files
Delete Selected Files

Once satisfied with your file selections, tap the Delete button at the bottom. A confirmation prompt will appear.

Tap Delete again on this prompt to confirm you want to permanently delete the selected files.

The iPad will take a few moments to permanently erase the files from iCloud and device storage. When complete, the files are permanently gone, freeing up used storage space.

Recover Accidentally Deleted Files

If you realize you shouldn't have permanently deleted a file, there might be a way to recover it.

First, open the Files app and go back into the Recently Deleted folder if you have left it. Locate the file(s) you want restored.

Tap Select, then tap the file icons to select them. Finally, tap Recover to move the files back into their original folders.

However, keep in mind files are only stored in the Recently Deleted folder for up to 40 days.

If it has exceeded this time, permanent file recovery will not be possible. So act fast if this happens to rescue important files.

Empty Deleted Photos

Empty Deleted Photos 
Empty Deleted Photos

The Photos app has a similar Recently Deleted folder containing your recently deleted images and videos. To permanently erase these files and free up space.

  1. Open the Photos app
  2. Tap Albums tab at the bottom
  3. Scroll down and tap Recently Deleted
  4. Tap Select > tap images/videos to select > Tap trash icon to delete

Follow this process to empty and free up storage being used to store deleted photos and videos.

Delete Junk Emails

Your Mail app also stores deleted emails in a trash folder. Here's how to empty it:

  1. Launch the Mail app
  2. Tap Mailboxes at the top left corner
  3. Under your email account, tap on Trash
  4. Tap Edit> Tap Select All > Tap Delete

Repeat the process for each configured email account to delete all junk emails languishing in your trash.

Clear Recently Deleted Notes

Like with files, photos and emails, your iPad's Notes app keeps a copy of recently deleted notes. To permanently erase these:

  1. Open the Notes app
  2. Tap on Folders
  3. Tap on Recently Deleted
  4. Tap Edit> Tap Select All > Tap Delete

Use Storage Optimization Tips

Besides emptying the trash, also use these iPad storage optimization tips:

  1. Offload unused apps
  2. Enable iCloud photo library to store images/videos in the cloud
  3. Stream music/videos instead of downloading them
  4. Manually delete old files, photos, downloads and conversations