iPad Trash Recovery: How to Restore Items Sent to Trash on iPad?

Last updated: Jan. 7, 2017

Have you ever deleted several not-so-nice pictures off your iPad, later you wanted them back only to find that you couldn't locate the Trash?

Weird enough, isn't it? Even if you saw the Trash icon at the right corner when you tap on it. But you just can't find it.

You may be wondering - Is there any trick to make the Trash show up? Or how to undelete trashed items on iPad?

Quick answer is: it all depends on the iOS version your iPad is with, and the type of file you delete from an app.

In this article, we're going to show you how to perform iPad Trash recovery.

Where can I find the Trashcan on an iPad?

In the nutshell — unlike Mac computer, iPads don't have Trash bin.

But, there is a "Recently Deleted" folder or option for most apps, though depending on the iOS version your iPad is with (see below for details).

The "Recently Deleted" function acts pretty much like the Trash to recycle content (pictures,  videos, notes), though the only difference is that items sent to "Recently Deleted" will only be kept for up to 30 days.

In other words, if you trashed a file more than 30 day ago​, you probably won't find it in "Recently Deleted" and you'll have to find other ways to restore it.

Why does iOS version matter?

It's all about this new feature — "Recently Deleted" has been added to several apps (like Photos, Notes, etc.) since iOS 8, released by Apple in late 2014. That means:

  • If your iPad is with iOS 7 or older, when you delete some photos or videos, they are deleted right away. However, you can easily recover them via iTunes or iCloud if you have backup. If backup isn't available for you, an iPad data recovery software may help.
  • If your iPad is with iOS 8 or later, those deleted items may go to the "Recently Deleted" folder. Depending on the apps you use, the way to find this feature is different. For example, for Photos app, tap on Photos > Albums and you'll see this Trash icon — be aware that items sent to this folder will only be kept for a certain period (usually 30 days). After that time, iOS will automatically clean them.
iOS Recently Deleted folder

How to know which iOS version your iPad is with? Go to Settings > General > About > Version, here it'll show you the version number (by the time we updated this article, latest iOS version is 10.2).

So it's pretty clear — once you delete something off your iPad, the first place you should check is this "Recently Deleted" folder or option. If you can't find it there, try the following methods.

Still can't find your items on iPad? Try these techniques

If you have backups in iCloud or iTunes, great. It's quite simple to restore all your iPad data. Follow the guide in this official Apple support article.

If you don't have any backups, it's not the end of the day. Because you may rely on a third-party data recovery utility to find them back. We've reviewed a collection of best iPad data recovery tools in another article.


Apple iPad makes it easy to delete items you don't want, a few taps can quickly remove almost anything you no longer need. That's why sometimes accidental deletion kicks in. Also failed iOS upgrades may also put your iPad data at risk.

Thanks to the "Recently Deleted" feature in iOS 8 and later versions, plus iCloud or iTunes backups, it's often very easy to restore those deleted iPad files. Last, iPad data recovery software may also be of help.

Hope you like this iPad tip. Let us know if you have any comments or feedback.

Andreas is an Apple and Microsoft fanboy who works with his Mac and lives with a PC at home. While he is not reading technology journals, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends or hiking in the wild.

2 thoughts on “iPad Trash Recovery: How to Restore Items Sent to Trash on iPad?

  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?


    • 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.

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