Search
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu

Delete and restore files in Google Drive

Put a file in trash

To remove a file from your Drive, you can put it in your trash. Your file will stay there until you empty your trash.

If you're the owner of the file, others can view 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. Click a file.
  3. Click Trashtrash can.

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

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

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

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. In the left panel, click Trash.
  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. In the left panel, click Trash.
  3. Make sure that there are no files that you'll want later.
  4. At the top, click Trash.
  5. Select Empty trash.
Mac or PC

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

Recover a file from trash

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, your computer, or the Drive app for Android.

On the web
  1. Sign in to Drive at drive.google.com.
  2. In the left panel, click Trash.
  3. Right-click a file.
  4. Click Restore.
Mac or PC
  1. Open the trash on your desktop.
  2. Select a file and drag it to the Drive folder on your desktop.

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 File and then 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.

To contact us, sign in to your Google Account.

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

Was this article helpful?
Watch video tutorials

To get the latest tips, tricks, and how-to's, subscribe to our YouTube Channel.