How to Empty Trash on iPad – An In-Depth Guide

Managing your storage space is especially important if you want to retain the performance and responsiveness of your new iPad. Most people don’t know, but Apple includes a Trash Bin that can store all your deleted items just as a Recycle Bin on Windows.

However, compared to Windows, you can’t easily access the Trash folder on your iPad, and the “Trash Bin” also accumulates deleted emails just like Gmail does. All this data can accumulate over time and fill up your storage. iOS/iPadOS does delete the recently deleted files in about 30 days, but if you want to clear a lot of storage quickly, you will need to manually delete all those files or use a third-party tool to delete those automatically.

Today we’ll be looking at all the ways you can delete the trash files and recover back some storage space and performance. So, let us get straight into the guide.

How can I find out if your iPad has Trash files?

The quickest and easiest way to check to see if you have any Trash files on your iPad is to go into your storage settings and look for Trash files. However, if that doesn’t work, you can also connect your iPad with your desktop and use iTunes to figure out if you have any Trash files. You can do this by following the steps below.

For iPad Settings:

  • Go to the “Settings” app and scroll down to the “General” tab.
  • Now, click on it and select “Storage”, and now this will show you the allocation of all your files.
  • The gray or “Other” part of the storage allocation that you can see in the screenshot above is what consists of Trash files.

For iTunes:

  • Firstly, connect your iPad to a desktop
  • Now, run iTunes and let it scan your device and scan for storage allocation
  • Now, select your device from the top left section, click on “Summary”, and check your storage allocation as shown in the screenshot above.

Note: The “Yellow” sections in your storage allocation are what consists of the Trash files

Why should you empty Trash on your iPad?

You might be thinking that iOS/iPadOS does, in fact, clear the trash files in 30 days, so why should you be worried to empty the Trash manually? There are a number of reasons, actually, and here are some cases to help you figure out why you should empty Trash on your iPad.

Case 1: You want to delete a lot of data at the same time

So, if you’re looking to do some storage cleaning and getting rid of all those hundreds of high-resolution pictures or videos you took, thinking that it would be fun. If you do indeed need to delete those for freeing up storage for some other files, you’ll see that your storage space is still occupied. What gives? You deleted those data, but now they’re all stored in the trash bin. So, either you wait for 30 days or go in the trash bin and clear those yourself.

Case 2: Your iPad is starting to lag and lose performance

Most people believe that their iPads get slower over time and that with around 3-4 years of usage, they become obsolete. Well, there is some merit to it, and Apple has been guilty of slowing down their devices with updates.

However, there is a lot more to the story, and one of the leading causes of performance loss in iPads is storage. People tend to fill a lot of data in their devices and forget about it. This, in turn, slows down your device and makes it less usable. So, if you are feeling that your iPad is getting slow, then go ahead and clear the trash files and see an instant improvement.

Case 3: You can’t install new apps because you don’t have storage space

Finally, this is another common reason to clear the Trash files. It mainly occurs to people with older iPads that have been in use for more than a year and can pose a definite concern if you want to install a new app. Most apps and games are growing in size as they include a lot of new features and other assets. Let’s take an example of a game released back in 2020 October – Genshin Impact.

It was first launched with a 6GB storage requirement, but now you would need around 12GB of free storage space if you want to download it. That’s double, and if you are not careful with managing your storage, you can end up with an unusable device. So, empty the Trash files and make some space for that new app or game you want to download.

How to empty Trash on iPad?

As we have discussed, there is no one way to clear all storage that is inbuilt into your iPad. So, you would need to go and remove all the Trash files manually, and you can follow the steps below to get it done quickly and efficiently.

1. Empty Mail Trash

Regular mail and messages don’t take up a lot of data but every drop of storage space counts and if you want to empty mail and messages trash, then follow the process below:

  • Open the Mail app on your iPad and delete any messages or emails that you don’t want to keep.
  • Go to the Trash folder on the left column, as shown in the screenshot above, and select all the mails you want to delete.
  • Finally, tap on the “Edit” button on the top corner, select all the messages, and click on “Delete All” to delete those mails and messages permanently.

2. Empty Photos Trash

Photos and Videos are guaranteed to take up a lot of storage, so clearing them from the Trash folder is essential to keep your iPad running smoothly. You can follow the steps below to delete all the trash photos and videos from your iPad.

  • Firstly, open the “Photos” app and delete any photo or video that you don’t want to keep.
  • Now, tap on the “Albums” button on the bottom section of your display.
  • Scroll down to the “Recently Deleted” section and tap on “Select” on the top right corner of your iPad.
  • Finally, select all photos and click on “Delete All” to delete all the trash photos and videos permanently.

3. Empty Files Trash

Deleting data from the Files app also retains it in the trash folder. This can be an issue for data privacy and storage concerns. So, you can follow the instructions below to delete all your trash files without difficulty.

  • Open the Files app on your iPad and delete something if you want.
  • Now, look for the “Recently Deleted” tab on the left column and click on it.
  • Finally, select all trash files and click on “Delete All”, and you would be prompted to delete all those files once again. Click on “Delete”, as shown in the screenshot above, and you’ll finally be able to delete all the trash files.

4. Empty Notes Trash

Notes is another thing that can help maintain data and information. However, if you don’t want anyone snooping on your old deleted notes and want to save some storage space in the process, then follow the steps below:

  • Open up the “Notes” application on your iPad. Now, delete all the notes that you don’t want to keep.
  • Next, tap on “Folders” and select “Recently Deleted”, and you will be greeted with a screen similar to the screenshot above.
  • Finally, tap on “Edit” on the top right corner and select all the notes you want to delete and click on “Delete All” to empty your notes Trash.

5. Automatically Empty All Trash Files

Now that we have looked at all the manual methods to empty trash on iPad let’s look at some automatic methods that can make the process a whole lot easier. However, do note that this method requires third-party apps that can clear the trash files from your iPad storage. So, let’s take a look at the best overall choices. Here are some third-party apps that are good at clearing Trash files.

3rd-party apps help you empty Trash with ease

iMyFone Umate – All around the best pick

iMyFone Umate is an excellent tool that can clear all the trash files on your iPad quickly. It is quick, reliable and features rich. It also comes with a free trial version which can be upgraded to the Pro version if you want extra privacy and security for your data. You can follow the instructions below to get your iPad’s storage cleaned, and all trash deleted automatically.

Step by Step Guide

Firstly, install and run iMyFone Umate from the link above and connect your iPad.

Next, click on Quick Scan and let Umate scan your iPad/iPhone for all the Trash files.

Now, after the scan is complete, click on the “Clean” button next to the junk and Photo files to delete all the trash files.

After Umate is completed cleaning, you will see a screen similar to the screenshot above stating “Cleanup Completed”, indicating that all the trash files are deleted.

FREE Trial: Download a free trial of MyFone Umate
Price: $29.95 for 1-year plan; $49.95 for life-time plan

Dr.Fone – Data Eraser (iOS) – Alternative Pick

Dr. Fone – Data Eraser is another excellent tool to erase all the trash files easily and quickly. However, it takes a bit longer than iMyFone Umate as Dr.Fone Eraser has a few extra steps in the process. Other than that, both apps are excellent in quickly deleting trash files, and we would recommend you try both and see what works better for your device.

Step by Step Guide

Firstly, install and run the Dr.Fone Eraser app from the link above, and you should be greeted with a similar screen to the screenshot above.

Next, click on the “Erase” tab and connect your iPad to your computer.

Next, you should see a screen similar to the screenshot above and now click on the “Erase Deleted Files” option to start scanning for all the Trash files.

Dr. Fone will take a few minutes scanning for the data, and you should be greeted with the following screen in a short while.

Now, select all the data you want to delete and click on the “Erase” button on the bottom right corner of the app.

Finally, Dr. Fone Eraser will start deleting the data and once completed, and you will see the screen with an “Erase Successfully” message as the screenshot above.

Free Trial: Download free trial of Dr. Fone – Data Eraser
Price: $19.95 for 1 year license, $29.95 for lifetime license.

Pros and Cons of using third-party erase tools


  • Easy to use
  • Saves time
  • Can delete all trash files at once
  • Doesn’t need to select all trash files manually


  • It needs you to download and install an app on your desktop


Where is the Trash folder on my iPad?

There is no Trash Folder specifically, but iPadOS does come with separate trash folders for Photos, Mail, Notes and Files. You can access those by going into the app and looking for the “Recently Deleted” tab or just follow or in-depth guide above.

Can you retrieve permanently deleted photos from your iPad?

Yes, you can recover and retrieve permanently deleted photos from your iPad by going into the “Recently Deleted” Album and restoring all the images you want. However, if the data is more than 30 days old, you would have to restore a backup from iCloud or iTunes to get your photos back.

Where is the recently deleted iPad iOS 14?

Recently deleted is basically a Recycle Bin for iPad and iPhones and can be located in specific apps such as Mail, Notes, Files and Photos. You just need to open the app and look for the “Recently Deleted” tab on the left column. You can also follow our guide to get an in-depth analysis of how you can use it above.

Recover accidentally deleted files on iPad

Now that you have learned how to clean and delete all the trash files from your iPad, let us take a look at a few ways you can recover your lost data back. You can use the Trash folders to restore your data, or you can follow our data recovery review guide to get the best information on tools to recover your lost iPad data.

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