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Android 11 adds a hidden trash folder to recover your photos and videos

Up to this point on Android, when any file is deleted, be it a photo you took or a song you downloaded, it’s immediately gone forever. With Android 11, Google has quietly introduced a new trash folder that can help keep your photos and more from being accidentally deleted.

One of the more controversial changes of Android 11, in developers’ eyes, is the addition of scoped storage, which — to oversimplify things — dramatically revamps the way that Android apps can, and more importantly cannot, access and alter your files. In a longer video discussing some of the changes to scoped storage in Android 11, XDA-Developers notes that a previously unannounced feature is called out.

When using an app that has been properly optimized for Android 11, you’ll soon be able to “trash” files instead of immediately deleting them. When you put something into the trash, it will apparently stay on your phone for another thirty days before being automatically deleted.

Once something has been put into the trash, it’s essentially hidden from the rest of your device. Apps can then show you the files that you have trashed recently, in case you ever want to un-delete them. The whole experience is a lot like the Recycle Bin on Windows computers, except Android won’t have a dedicated trash folder to show your trashed items. That said, it should be possible for file manager apps to offer such a feature.

Reportedly, the feature has been available since the first Android 11 Developer Preview, and developer Yuriy Mysochenko showed off an early demonstration of it from that time. Judging from the screenshot, items in the trash were originally only kept for seven days, while the video above mentions 30 days.

Whatever the case may be, it’s exciting to see Android 11 allowing more developers to easily manage the kind of file trashing that apps like Google Photos have been able to do for quite some time now.

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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