iPad: How to Empty Trash or Recover Deleted Files

iPad trash recovery

The touch screen tablet has become a popular and very useful device that many people love to use for a variety of personal and professional purposes. With their easy-to-use interface and ever-expanding capabilities, tablets are a mainstay if you are looking for a cheaper option than a laptop computer that has many of the same benefits and features. The Apple iPad is one of the most well-known tablets and has defined this niche for years.

If you have an iPad, you probably store many files on the device that are important. From photos and videos to music and documents, the increased capacity in memory on newer iPads allows you to store quite a bit of information on the device.

Unfortunately, every once in a while you might accidentally or intentionally delete files. This article is going to show you how to empty trash on iPad, and how to recover deleted files if you accidentally delete some items.

Where is Trash on iPad?

An iPad functions differently than other common devices such as your computer. If you have a Mac laptop or desktop computer, you probably know that when you delete files from your computer, they end up in what is known as the trash can. Deleted files are stored in this trash can for some time and you can recover them before they are permanently removed.

Put back file from Mac Trash

iPads, however, do not have this same feature. There is no trash can to temporarily store deleted files on your iPad so once you remove them, they can be harder to recover.

Sometimes you might delete a photo or video from your iPad because you didn’t want it only to realize later that you actually do. Even though there is no trash can on your iPad to easily recover these files (or any other files you have deleted), there is still a way to recover them.

“Recently Deleted” Folder is Just Like Trash on iPad

Even though your iPad does not have a trash can, it might have a similar function that you can use to help recover any deleted files. On some devices, there is a Recently Deleted folder that acts very similarly to a trash can on a Mac computer. This folder will store any recently deleted files for up to 30 days and you can access it and recover if you want to restore the file. Not all iPads have this feature so let’s take a look at which ones do.

If your iPad is running Mac iOS version 8 or later (you probably are), deleted files will usually go into a Recently Deleted folder. To access this folder you need to go through the app in which the deleted files were used. So if it is a photo you are trying to recover go to the Photos app, then to Albums, and then you should see the Recently Deleted folder.

iOS Recently Deleted folder

Open this folder and find the files/photos you wish to recover. Click on them and then click Recover and your file will be back on your iPad.

If you want to completely delete an item, make sure to empty the “Recently Deleted’ folder as well in case someone else can access your file.

How to Recover Deleted Files on iPad

There are three different ways to do this, follow the steps below.

1. Recover from the “Recently Deleted” Folder

As shown above, the first place to look up is this folder. You can easily restore the files if they are there for less than 40 days.

If your iPad is running Mac iOS version 7 or earlier, there is no Recently Deleted folder to access. Once you delete a file, there is a good chance that it will be permanently deleted. There are other ways to try and recover these files and we will take a look at those next.

2. Recover iPad Files from Backup

It’s always a good idea to make a backup of all of the data you have on all of your devices. This essentially makes a copy of every important piece of data you have in the event that you accidentally delete any files or your computer, iPad gets stolen. There are different ways to back up the data on your iPad and you can either use an external hard drive or make a backup in iCloud.

Using iCloud to back up your iPad is easy and is recommended as it’s easy to do and you don’t need any extra accessories to accomplish the task. It also makes it possible to recover any files that you have deleted and want access to again. You can purchase different iCloud plans that will allow you to back up all of the information on your iPad or you can choose which individual files you want to keep stored in the cloud.

If you have an iCloud backup of your iPad it is really easy to recover any deleted files. In order to restore all of your information from an iCloud backup onto your iPad, you need to erase everything on your tablet. Unfortunately, you cannot simply recover one file and you must perform a complete restore. This is really not much of a big deal because if you do have a backup, your restore will be nearly identical to your current iPad.

To recover iPad files from an iCloud backup follow these steps:

  1. Erase all data from your iPad
  2. Follow the on-screen prompts for setting up the device until you see the Apps & Data prompt
  3. Locate Restore from iCloud Backup and select this option
  4. Sign in to your iCloud account
  5. Select a backup to use for the recovery. There will most likely be multiple options listed so choose the one with a date near the time when your file was deleted but before it was removed.
  6. The iPad will now sync up with the data in the iCloud and your files will be recovered

3. Recover iPad Files Using Data Recovery Software

If you don’t have a backup and your iPad does not have a Recently Deleted folder, there is another option you can use. iPad data recovery software is available to help you with this task and it can make it easy and fast to locate and restore any files that may have been accidentally deleted. Stellar Data Recovery is one such recovery program that comes recommended and can help you find a locate a variety of files from various devices including an iPad.

Stellar Data Recovery for iPhone is also able to retrieve data from iPads.

If you decide to use data recovery software, simply follow the instruction or prompts that show up when you launch the program. Within a few easy steps, you will be on your way towards locating and recovery your lost iPad files. There are other options than the one listed above and most are easy to use and fairly intuitive to operate, making data recovery of all types a breeze.

Do you have any tips or suggestions for emptying Trash on iPad or recovering deleted iPad files? Let us know in the comments below.

19 thoughts on “iPad: How to Empty Trash or Recover Deleted Files”

  1. Ok, so I have i OS 9.3.5.

    I sent several emails to trash and deleted them. They are not in the photos>albums file.

    Have I misunderstood your suggestion to recover deleted trash?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Bruce, the “Recently Deleted” folder only exists for certain apps including Photos and Notes. The Mail app does not have this function. When you sent emails to Trash and deleted them, they are gone. However, you could try to log into your email via a web browser, maybe you’ll find the deleted emails. If this doesn’t work out, your last option would probably be iPad data recovery software (as we introduced in the article). Good luck.

      Reply
  2. I have a iPad 10.3.6

    The photo was making pics look blurry so I deleted some I found out now I should not have, as other ones I knew were not looked blurry too. You state they can be restored/ recovered, but I do not see anything that will let me and I do not know about iCloud (I am retired). HELP PLEASE! Can I get them back? The Photo app tricked me. I never would have deleted them and I can never get the shot back.

    Reply
  3. My safari bookmarks have disappeared. I don’t know if I accidentally deleted to make more space. I want them back. I had tons of bookmarks and recipes. Help! I do have iCloud but don’t know if these went to the Cloud.

    Reply
  4. Hi Bruce My iPad Air 2 operates on iOS 12.4 .I have accidentally deleted some photos which I had intended to add to a new album.I cannot find any recently deleted or trash album to retrieve them.
    Help!

    Reply
  5. If you have a gmail address and look for a deleted ipad email by going to gmail on the web, you may not find the deleted email in the deleted items folder. However, if you do a search for the sender you may find that it pops up — it worked for me.

    Reply
  6. I only use an iPad because my work requires it. Recovering deleted files is only one reason why I do not use Apple products for person use. No trash bin? Really! What a pain to be forced to use a third party tool to recover deleted files!

    Reply
  7. It was my email not trash file. But it did not go to my trash file. Was trying to move a group of files & accidentally hit delete. Now they are no where to b found.

    Reply
  8. Hi…l have just accidentally deleted a folder in ‘my notes’ it’s not that important, but if it’s possible to retrieve l would like to do this. If anyone can suggest a way….but please keep it as simple as possible..if possible!

    Reply
  9. How can I restore Trash folder .I delet compactly this folder three years ago and now I can’t move files to Trash folder because can’t find it. Any idea?
    iPad 2 software version 9.3.6

    Thanks

    Reply
  10. Helping an elderly friend with their new iPad Pro, who does not have a computer to connect to nor access to the iCloud. He deleted emails containing an important document. So I have to tell them the emails are gone forever.

    He deleted contracts from iAnnotate. Can’t find any way to recover those.

    Deleted emails are not recoverable? Just one more item on the growing list of why I will never buy another Apple product again.

    Reply

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