Trash

To remove a file, put it in your trash. From there, you can permanently delete it or restore it.

Put a file in trash

If you want to remove a file from your Drive, move it to your trash. Your file will stay there until you empty your trash.

If you’re the owner of the file, others can access it until you permanently delete the file. If you’re not the owner, others can see the file even if you empty your trash.

On the web
  1. Sign in to Drive at drive.google.com.
  2. Single click or right click a file.
  3. Click the trash can .

If you move a file to trash, it is removed from the Drive folder on your computer and the Drive mobile app.

On your Mac/PC
  1. Open the Google Drive folder on your desktop.
  2. Select a file and drag it to the trash on your computer.

If you move a file to trash on your desktop, it is moved to the trash in Google Drive on the web and the Drive mobile app. The file is also removed from the Docs, Sheets, or Slides home screen if the file is in a Google format.

On a mobile device
  1. Open the Google Drive app.
  2. Touch the info icon Activity Information.
  3. Touch the trash can .

Empty your trash

You can permanently delete an individual file or empty your entire trash. After deleting a file, anyone you’ve shared the file with will lose access to it. If you want others to be able to still view the file, you can give ownership to someone else.

On the web

Delete an individual file

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

Empty your entire trash

  1. Sign in to Drive at drive.google.com.
  2. Click “Trash” on the left side of your screen.
  3. Make sure that there are no files that you’ll want later.
  4. Click Trash at the top.
  5. Select Empty trash.
On your Mac/PC

To permanently delete your files, empty the trash on your desktop.

On a mobile device

You can empty your trash from Drive on the web or from your computer, but not from the Drive mobile app.

Restore a file

If you put a file in your trash but decide that you still want it, you can put it back in your Drive. You can restore files from Drive on the web or from your computer, but not from the Drive mobile app.

On the web
  1. Sign in to Drive at drive.google.com.
  2. Click “Trash” on the left side of your screen.
  3. Right click a file.
  4. Click Restore.
On your Mac/PC
  1. Open the trash on your desktop.
  2. Select a file and drag it to the Drive folder on your desktop.
On a mobile device

You can restore files from Drive on the web or from your computer, but not from the Drive mobile app.

Restore a file you don’t own

If you’re not the owner of the file, contact the owner to have them restore it.

Tip: If you have important information in a file, you can make a copy of it. Open the file and click the File menu > Make a copy.


If you delete a file and need to get it back, contact a Drive specialist. For the fastest way to find your file, we highly recommend that you call or chat with us. If you use Google Drive through work or school, contact your administrator to recover your file.

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

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