Trash

If you want to remove a file or folder from Drive, or Docs, Sheets, or Slides, you can put it into the trash. Then, you can empty the trash to permanently delete the file, or restore the file so that you can still have access to it.

Remove files and folders

If you want to remove a file from your Drive, or a Docs, Sheets, or Slides home screen, you can move it to your trash.

Drive on the web
  1. Sign into Drive at drive.google.com.
  2. Single-click or right-click the file or folder you want to remove.
  3. Click the Remove icon google drive trash icon.

What happens to the file that is removed?

If you own the file you remove in Drive on the web, it will be removed from the Drive folder on your computer as well as the Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides mobile apps if you have them installed. The file will also be removed from the Docs, Sheets, or Slides home screen if the file is in a Google format. If you need to restore the file, go to the trash in Drive on the web and move it out of the trash.

If you remove a file that was shared with you, you’ll still be able to see the file in the "Shared with me" section of Drive on the web after you move the file to the trash.

Can other people still see the file?

If you’re the owner of the file, others can still access a file you’ve moved to the trash until you permanently delete the file by emptying your trash.

Google Drive on your Mac/PC
  1. Open the Google Drive folder on the desktop of your computer.
  2. Select the file or folder you want to remove and drag it to the trash on your computer.

What happens to the file that is removed?

A file you remove from the Drive folder on your computer will be moved to the trash in Drive on the web and in the Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides mobile apps if you have them installed. The file will also be removed from the Docs, Sheets, or Slides home screen if the file is in a Google format. If you need to restore the file, go to the trash on your desktop or in Drive on the web and move it to the trash.

Can other people still see the file?

If you’re the owner of the file, others can still access a file you’ve moved to the trash until you permanently delete the file by emptying your trash.

If you’re not the owner of a file, moving it to the trash only removes it from your own view. Others will still be able to see the file even if you empty your trash.

Docs, Sheets, or Slides home screen
  1. Open a Docs, Sheets, or Slides home screen:
  2. Hover over the file you want to remove and click the menu icon .
  3. Click Remove.

What happens to the file that is removed?

A file you remove from a Docs, Sheets, or Slides home screen is also removed from Drive on the web, as well as the Drive folder on your computer and the Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides mobile apps if you have them installed.

Can other people still see the file?

If you’re the owner of the file, others can still access a file you’ve moved to the trash until you permanently delete the file by emptying your trash.

If you’re not the owner of a file, moving it to the trash only removes it from your own view. Others will still be able to see the file even if you empty your trash.

Restore a file from the trash

If you decide that you don’t want to delete a file or folder that you’ve moved to the trash, you can restore it so that you can access it again. Once you restore a file, it will be recovered wherever you use Drive or Docs, Sheets, and Slides, including on the web, on your computer, and on your mobile devices.

At the moment, you can’t restore a file or folder from the Drive mobile apps or from the Docs, Sheets, or Slides home screens. You can restore your files from Drive on the web or on your computer.

Drive on the web
  1. Sign in to Drive at drive.google.com.
  2. Go to the “Trash” section on the left side of your screen.
  3. Right-click the file or folder you want to restore.
  4. Click Restore.

How can I restore a file I’m not the owner of?

To restore a file from the trash that you don’t own, you need to contact the owner of the file to have them restore it. If you want to make sure you don’t lose access to an important file, you can also make a copy of it by opening the file > clicking the File menu > Make a copy.

Google Drive for your Mac/PC
  1. Open the trash on the desktop of your computer.
  2. Select the file you want to restore and drag it to the Drive folder on your desktop.

How can I restore a file I’m not the owner of?

To restore a file from the trash that you don’t own, you need to contact the owner of the file to have them restore it. If you want to make sure you don’t lose access to an important file, you can also make a copy of it by opening the file > clicking the File menu > Make a copy.

Permanently delete files and folders you own

If you want to permanently delete a file or folder you own, you can delete an individual file or empty your entire trash to delete all files you have removed.

Once a file has been deleted, anyone you’ve shared the file with will lose access to the file as well. You may want to give ownership to someone else if you want others to be able to still view the file.

Drive on the web

Delete an individual file

If you want to delete a single file from your trash:

  1. Sign in to Drive at drive.google.com.
  2. Go to the “Trash” section on the left side of your screen.
  3. Select the file you want to delete.
  4. At the top, click Delete forever.

Empty the trash

Before emptying the trash, check to see if there are any files in the trash that you don’t want to delete so that you don’t have to recover them later. Once you’ve done that, to permanently delete all files in your trash:

  1. Sign in to Drive at drive.google.com.
  2. Go to the “Trash” section on the left side of your screen.
  3. Click Trash at the top.
  4. Select Empty trash.
Google Drive for your Mac/PC

To permanently delete files you added to the trash from the Drive folder on your computer, simply empty the trash on your desktop. The files, along with anything else you trashed, will be deleted.

Recover a deleted file

If you permanently delete a file or folder that you realize you need access to, Google is able to help you recover it for a limited time. But, after the file has been deleted from Google’s systems, it’s gone forever. Read more about Google Drive’s deletion and recovery policy.

If you’re the owner of a file and want to submit a recovery request, see details for contacting us below.

Contact us

We highly recommend that you use phone or chat support so that we can better assist you in finding your files.

Phone or chat support: If you’d like to speak or chat with a person about your issue, please visit our live support page and click either Phone or Chat. Live support is available in English only.

Email support: For help with your issue via email, please fill out our missing items contact form. Email support is available in English only.

If you use Google Apps at work or school, you can contact your administrator to restore Drive files that were deleted within the past 25 days. Note that it's not possible to recover files owned by a user after a Google Apps administrator has deleted that user's account.

Matt is a Docs & Drive expert and author of this help page. Leave him feedback below about the page.

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