I keep deleting things and clearing cache to try and clean up space on my android and it seems I just keep losing memory, as if it's all going to some huge trash bin and still taking up space. Is there a way to find and empty this trash?

  • Can you post your storage use. Go to settings>storage>internal storage this will help us know how your memory is being approportioned. – user145490 Nov 16 '16 at 4:53
  • @Abby Go to settings and look for storage click it. It should show you your memory allocation. Edit your answer with the screenshot. – user145490 Nov 16 '16 at 5:36

To answer this question I'll need to get you to understand what deleting means.

Deleting is basically telling the operating system, I'm done with this storage space, give it to someone else.

Think of it like a room where an app comes with his stuff then if it so happens that the app gets uninstalled, they leave the room there. So when android is installing the next app, it comes takes up the room. Just because the app was uninstalled doesn't mean the room was also demolished.

This would also explain why it's possible to recover data(through third party apps) even after having 'deleted' it. Now Android and I should believe all mobile phone operating systems don't have a native way of getting this data back. By native I mean you can't recover data by using the OS like the way you can use recycler bin in windows. This is due to the fact that memory is a very very precious asset on phones (it's very limited and the OS would rather have it stored for some other reason) and having a recycler bin would simply end up taking crucial memory making it more expensive to manage the phone.

So no, android doesn't have a recycler bin; but that doesn't mean you can't recover data. As to what might be taking up your memory consider wiping caches of your apps.

Cache is app data used on the go that is stored temporarily

. Also some apps have a nasty habit of leaving behind files after being deleted. They do this in anticipation that you might install the app again and if so you can just come back from where you picked off. I would recommend clean master app from the google playstore as I've I'm used it before and it works superbly fine in determining which apps you don't need and finding out whether your storage is being misappropriated and by who. They also fully uninstall apps and bloatware not leaving any files behind.

  • Thanks. I both hit the claer cache button in my operating system and also go into each app and clear it and it just seems that the memory space goes up then even further down very quickly. I've uninstalled just about everything and deleted or taken most my pics and videos off. It's now saying I have no room to even open my photos or get text! Like it's nearly worthless and I haven't even had it a year! I will have to try the clean master app if I can get it loaded, maybe I have a lot of hidden app trash. I'm using someone else's phone to use the internet! I'm so frustrated! – Abby Nov 16 '16 at 5:28

Turns out there is a "hidden" trash can! I was desperate for room on my LG V20, and I deleted about 30 GB of photos. And I got zero space back. I was waiting, thinking Android just needed to update itself, but after several days, I was still at the cusp of no space.

I used the PC-based Tree Size program (free, can find via search) that friends recommended. After installing that on my laptop and letting it run for a while, lo and behold, I found there was a .trashcan buried deep in the phone. Going there by navigating on the phone produced a blank screen, but using the program I could see more than 30 GB of deleted photos!

The location of my trash was android -> data -> com.android.gallery3d -> files -> .trashcan enter image description here

Good luck to anyone else with this issue!


My LG V20 Running on Android 7.0 with a gallery app v5.30.24.1 has a Trash can in the menu under the MANAGE section that saves Everything deleted for 7 days before permanently deleting it and then freeing up space. You can also go into the can and delete everything yourself. So Yes, android can have a recycler bin. A very useful feature for those accidental deletions.

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