Where is the recycle bin on a Samsung Galaxy phone?

recycle bin
Trash talk: turn on the Samsung Galaxy recycle bin

If you’ve accidentally deleted a photo or some other file, you’re probably looking for the recycle bin on your Samsung Galaxy phone to see if you can retrieve it from the trash. There’s good and bad news here. The good? Samsung Galaxy phones do have a recycle bin. The bad news is you need to have turned it on first.

How to switch on the recycle bin on a Samsung Galaxy

To activate the recycle bin, so that you can recover photos or other stuff that you might have accidentally deleted, do the following:

  1. Press the apps icon (normally bottom right icon on the main home screen)
  2. Use the search facility at the top of the apps screen to search for ‘files’ and click on the My Files app
  3. Once in the My Files app, click Recycle bin
  4. You’ll now be asked if you want to switch it on – click Turn on Recycle bin

Once you’ve switched on the Recycle bin, any files that are deleted from your phone will now sit in there for 30 days, after which time they are permanently deleted.

That’s great for recovering photos, videos and files that you may have accidentally deleted, but it does come with a downside and that’s storage capacity. If you’re having to clear files off your phone because you’ve run out of storage, they’re just going to build up in your Recycle bin, not clearing any space at all.

If you do need to clear space, make sure to go into the bin and permanently delete any files that you no longer need, or else you’re going to run out of storage space and not be able to take any new photos, record videos or install apps.

If you haven’t already switched on the Recycle bin and you’re trying to recover a deleted file, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to retrieve it. There are some file recovery apps that may be able to rescue a deleted file, but in my experience they’re more miss than hit. Sorry.

Turn off Bixby on your Samsung Galaxy

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at

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