Although we are approaching platform stability, Android 12’s latest beta still has many new features to offer. Among them is a new way to access and empty the trash, previously only available via the pre-installed Files app. You can access your junk files via the storage section in the system settings now.
The new garbage shortcut lives right among the other entries in the storage overview. When you tap it, you will be taken directly to the Files app, where you can select one or more items you want to recover or delete. The junk option is still available via the hamburger menu in the Files app itself.
Left and center: Storage gives you access to the trash in Files. Right: Also available via the Files app itself.
We previously suspected that Google would add a trash section to system settings thanks to a leak back in April. At the time, it looked like you could just empty the trash when you clicked the icon, but luckily Google has chosen to give you full access to everything you’ve deleted through the Files app instead.
It’s unclear if the junk that is visible in Files really is all the junk stored on your device. We previously covered the introduction of the Recycle Bin in June, and at the time, it looked like the Recycle Bin only consisted of items that were deleted through the Files app. This can be problematic, as other apps may choose to move deleted files in a separate junk folder for the entire system since Android 11. The elements in it are kept for 30 days before being deleted indefinitely, and so far it is not an easy way to manage this the folder on.
For more on Android 12, check out our ongoing series coverage here, or take note of your regularly updated change history and check in later. If you want to install Developer Preview on your own device, you can find out how in the Android 12 download guide.