Where is Trash on iPad? Ways to Delete or Recover iPad Files/Apps

(by JP Zhang | Last updated: May 10, 2017)

where is iPad Trash?

Owning a new Apple iPad feels great. I still remember how excited I was when I got my first iPad 4. It's so easy and convenient to get things done; it's just like a mini computer!

But one thing surprised me: the trash. When I tried to delete files by dragging them to the "recycle bin", or looked for a trash icon to recover something I'd deleted, just like I do on my laptop…it wasn't there.

Did I miss something? I asked myself. Was there some tricks to make the trash icon show up? Where in the world was the trash bin hiding on my iPad?

To be blunt, there is no trash bin on an iPad! However, that does NOT mean you can't delete (or undelete) your files.

Read on to learn how you can get this done with detailed step-by-step instructions.

Note: The guides below apply to all Apple iPad models, including Air, Mini, Pro, etc. as long as it runs iOS.

iPad Trash - The Myths & Realities

Myth 1: When you tap on any photo, you'll see a Trash icon located on the bottom right. Touch it and you'll get two options: "Delete Photo" or "Cancel." Normally, you'd expect you could go back home, locate the Trash icon, and restore the item you deleted by accident.

The reality: There's no trash icon!

Myth 2: If you want to get rid of a file or app on a Windows PC or Mac, simply select the item, drag and drop it to the Recycle Bin or Trash. That's it, right? But on iPad, it seems you can't do it that way.

The reality: iPad doesn't work that way!

There's got to be a reason why Apple designed iPad to be as it is now. Maybe research proved there was no need to add a trash bin icon to a touchscreen device. Who knows? But hey, it probably makes sense if 99% of iPad users don't want to double-delete an item if he/she intends to remove it permanently.

Important Update:

Apple has a new feature called "Recently Deleted" in iOS 9 and 10. It can be seen in many apps such as Photos, Notes, etc. For example, in Photos > Albums, you'll see this folder Recently Deleted. Basically, it acts like the trashcan on a computer expect that Recently Deleted only keeps items for up to 30 days. Within the period, you can recover any pictures or videos you delete. In day 31, these media files will be removed automatically. 

How to Recover Accidentally Deleted Files on Your iPad?

If by accident you remove some apps or pics, and later you want them back, try one of the following two methods to restore them:

#1: Restoring trashed items via iTunes or iCloud backups

Note: This method applies only when you synced your iPad data with iTunes/iCloud before the items were deleted.

Step 1: Connect your iPad to your computer. Open iTunes, then click on your iPad Device on the top left side of the interface.

Step 2: Under the "Summary" tab, you'll notice a section called "Backups." Underneath it, click on the "Restore Backup" button.​

Screenshot restore iPad backups in iTunes Mac

Step 3: A new window will pop up asking you to choose a backup to restore. Select the right one and click "Restore". If you enabled the "Encrypt local backup" option, you'll have to input the unlock password to proceed.

Step 4: Done! Now your previous deleted files should be restored.

Still can't see them? Try the second method below.

#2: Using a third-party iPad data rescue software

Note: This method can work even if you don't have a backup. But it's going to cost you, as I haven't found any free software yet. If I do, I'll update this section.

Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery for iPhone (also works for iPads): the software offers a trial that works on a PC or Mac. It allows you to free scan your iOS device to find recoverable items, eventually you'll need to pay to recover the data. Stellar Phoenix claims the program is able to recover files including photos, messages, notes, contacts, reminders, calendar entries, and many more. 

Dr.Fone for iOS Mac Main Screen

Above is a screenshot of the app on my Macbook. Note: depending on the recovery mode (there are three as shown on its main interface) you choose, you may need to connect your iPad to your computer first.

In case Stellar Phoenix ​doesn't work out, you can also try this program PhoneRescue which I reviewed in another post (don't be fooled by its name, besides iPhones it also supports iPads).

What if I want to actually remove apps or items on iPad?

If you are trying to get rid of an app, simply press on it for two seconds until it jiggles. Then tap on the "x" on the top left of the app icon. See the image below.

delete iPad apps shaking

If the there is no "x" appearing when the apps are shaking, then these are pre-installed apps made by Apple. You can disable them by going to "Settings" -> "General", tap "Restrictions" and enter the passcode, then turn off the apps you don't want (see this screenshot). That's it.

Remove Preinstalled App iPad Restrictions

If you want to remove a file -- Contacts, photos, videos, Safari tabs, etc -- the method of deletion really depends on the app. Just play around or do a quick Google search.

Did I miss anything? Let me know

Are the guides above helpful to you?

Do you have any other questions or issues related to iPad Trash?

Leave a comment below or shoot me a message, I'd be happy to address it for you.

  • JP
  • November 20, 2015
JP
 

Hey, I'm the guy behind this blog. I've been passionate about computer software ever since I had my first laptop in 2007. I currently use a Macbook Pro, a PC (HP Pavilion), an iPhone 5, an iPad, and an Android (Samsung Galaxy S5). My goal is to provide you with useful software and how-to tips to solve computer or device issues you may encounter. Learn more about me.

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