Why Don’t Smartphones have a Recycle Bin & How You Can Add One?

We all have those moments when we accidentally delete an important file and I know how frustrating it could get.  While with computers, thanks to recycle bin you have a way to recover your files but the smartphones do not come with one.

Does that make you wonder, why a smartphone does not have a recycle bin like a Windows or Mac?

How Does the Recycle Bin Work on a Computer?

To get there, you first need to understand the way file storage system works. It works differently in a PC than a smartphone. In PCs, the files are stored natively and when deleted, it creates a reference point in recycle bin and moves back to its original location upon restore. These deleted files in trash continue to use the hard disk space of the PC and that’s why tools like CCleaner prompt you to empty your recycle bin regularly. The files do not clutter your file system and remains in the trash folder until permanently deleted. That way you can restore the files if you ever accidentally delete them.

A mobile phone works as a portable computer these days and not just a telephone device. So, the question is, why don’t the developers just add a built in recycle bin to the smartphones?

The Answer

One of the primary reasons they don’t have a recycle bin is because smartphones do not come with a hard disk. They have very small storage space. Even with an SD card onboard, the storage is pretty limited.

With an in-built recycle bin the space will soon run out and the user will have to keep clearing the bin regularly. This defeats the purpose of recycle bin, which in general, is useful to recover your deleted files.

Secondly, if you talk from usability stand point there actually is no need of a trash bin for recovering your file. Given the fact that every mobile operating system as well as the apps come with a back up system, which saves your data safely in the cloud (provided you turn the feature on) even if you delete it from the system. Thus, there’s little or no chance of losing your important data.

There also is the security concern as each app has access only to what the user allows. You wouldn’t want a social app to have access to the ones with your private information. All your files are managed within the app or shared within strict guideline. Which limits the need for an external system container for deleted files. It could potentially break the restriction guidelines and could cause leak of information.

Most of the apps these days like Clash Royale, Whatsapp, etc. backup your data to the cloud. In Android smartphones, Google offers to store your photos, Wi-Fi passwords and system settings on the cloud. Most of your important data is protected. For other data, you can simply sync it to Google Drive.

Having said that, if you are someone who definitely has to have a trash bin, there are many third party apps available in various app stores that work as a trash bin.

Please scroll below to read our list of top applications for different operating systems.

Recycle Bin Apps for Android

ES File Explorer

This is a 3rd party app that can be downloaded from the play store. This according to me is the best recycle bin app available in the market. The review of the app with a 4.5 rating further proves the point. This app lets you create a fail-safe recycle bin for every kind of files including pictures. It works as a full-fledged file manager and lets you manage your android phone and it’s files with ease and without any data cost.

Another amazing feature of the app is, it lets you access your files from remote locations, and lets you access the data in your phone using a computer. Once you delete any file from your phone using the file explorer it creates a copy of the file in recycle bin, which you can access at any point in the future. But keep in mind the app doesn’t let you restore files that were deleted before installing the app and to restore the files you need to delete them from inside the app. Files deleted from your My Gallery or Whatsapp may not be recovered.

The only negative bit about the app is it has got a lot of ads. I would recommend you buy the pro version for a few bucks. It will be worth investing in.

ES File Explorer File Manager


Dumpstar is another amazing app with a 4 star rating which lets you protect any kind of files. If you are someone who keeps forgetting to back up your phone often, this app is a life savior. It perfectly syncs with most cloud platforms and ensures you don’t lose out important files accidentally.  The preview file option makes it easier to recover the right files. You can also manage timeline to auto-empty your trash.  However it is important to empty your trash more often to avoid storage space issues, as the files in recycle bin still uses your storage space of your phone.

The newer version also has a feature to back up your apps. So you can now restore any deleted apps from your phone. You wouldn’t be able to restore information stored in the app, but you atleast don’t have to re-download the apps from store.

Dumpster Photo & Video Restore

Recycle bin

This app has the user-friendliest features. This works as a trash and works with most 3rd party file explorer. This monitors file both from your internal memory as well as from external SD card.
One amazing feature of this app is you can select multiple files to send to recycle bin if your file explorer supports. The size of the app is small and occupies very little space on your phone, which is the cherry on top.

Recycle Bin
Developer: RYO Software
Price: Free+

These three apps will get you sorted on Android devices. This ensures that you can restore any critical data you have accidentally deleted.  There are many other apps, which does the same job. But by far these three are the best.

While we have a lot of options in android, there is not any such app for our iOS users. You will have to stick to the classic way of backing up your data in the cloud to avoid any accidental loss of data. I hope you all had a good read and the article was informative. Please feel free to leave feedback in the comments section,

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