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Google Drive will automatically delete trashed files after 30 days

Online file storage solutions started out as being modeled after their local, non-cloud counterparts. Next month, Google Drive will automatically delete files and folders placed in the trash after 30 days.

Starting October 13, 2020, we’re changing the retention policies for items in the Trash in Google Drive. With this new policy, any file that is put into a Google Drive trash will be automatically deleted after 30 days. 

The previous behavior saw items in trash be “retained indefinitely” until permanently removed by the user. As such, while hidden away, it still counted against your storage limit/plan. 

As part of this change, items currently in trash will not count against the new policy until next month:

Any files already in a user’s trash on October 13, 2020, will remain there for 30 days. After the 30-day period, files that have been in the trash for longer than 30 days will begin to be automatically deleted. 

Google says Drive now matches Gmail and other services to “ensure behavior is consistent and predictable for users across G Suite products.” It’s also meant to fall in line with user expectations for “deleting” a file, while providing enough time to change their mind.

From today onwards, Google Drive will feature an in-app notification informing all users of this change, with a message in Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc. following on September 29.

There are a number of specific considerations for enterprise customers: 

  • Admins can still restore items deleted from a user’s trash for up to 25 days for active users
  • Retention policies set by admins in Google Vault are not affected by this change, unless they become obsolete as they are now redundant. Learn more about retention rules for Drive
  • These changes affect items that are trashed from any device and any platform. 
  • Files deleted via Drive File Stream will be purged from the system trash after 30 days. There is no impact to Backup and Sync behavior. 
  • Files in shared drives trash are already automatically deleted after 30 days. 
  • Items in trash will still continue to consume quota. 

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: