How to Permanently Delete Files from the File Apps on iPhone and iPad

How to Permanently Delete Files from the File Apps on iPhone and iPad

After years of users screaming and begging Apple to allow it, the company introduced the Files application. This gives you access to storage on your iPad or iPhone without the need for third-party solutions.

But despite improvements in the application over the years, File is still lacking in some areas. Namely, storage management continues to be a pain point. Even with iOS 13 and iPadOS, there are still problems when users try to delete files in an attempt to free up some storage.

Utilize the File apps


Outside of jailbreaking your device, managing storage on your iPhone or iPad is complicated. This usually means that you need to uninstall the application altogether or use a third party solution that has never worked properly.

Now with the Files application, this gives you more control over the various documents and files that are saved to your device. But you also have several additional benefits when using the Files app.

Those who use iCloud Drive can easily synchronize files between devices. You don’t need to upload to something like Google Drive, wait for the file to upload, then access it on another device.

Speaking of Google Drive, the Apple File application supports third-party cloud storage clients. This means you can access files stored in other cloud storage services all from the same application. Gone are the days of needing a separate application if you have Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, or someone else installed on your device.

How to delete documents and others from the Files app

After downloading a few files, you will most likely want to get rid of them. Whether it’s because you like a neat file browser or if you need space, the time will come. Here’s how you can delete a document from the Files application:


  1. Open the File app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Navigate to the folder where the file is stored.
  3. Press and hold the file to open the contextual menu.
  4. From the menu, tap Delete.

That’s it, the file will be deleted from the Files application, and you no longer have to worry about appearing in your directory.

Why don’t I get more storage after deleting files?

Errors occur, and especially when you are working with important documents and files, you don’t want to delete something accidentally. Without the following features, the files can be lost forever without any way to recover them.


However, Apple thought about the possibility of “accidental” deletion of a file. If you open the File application sidebar, you will see an option called New Deleted. This can be found in the Locations section in the sidebar.

How to delete files permanently

Whatever is deleted from iCloud Drive or on your device goes to this folder. Then, after 30 days, your files will be deleted automatically. This gives you 30 days to recover and recover files that you might have deleted accidentally, or it turns out you need to save them.

If you are in a pinch for storage, then you must go through and empty the New Deleted folder. Here’s how you can do it:


  1. Open the File app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Open the sidebar in the app by tapping the Browse button.
  3. Tap New Removed from the sidebar.
  4. Tap Select in the upper right corner.
  5. Select Delete all at the bottom of the page.
  6. Confirm that you want to delete the file.


After you tap Delete in the dialog box, all files in the New Deleted folder will be deleted. This is something very useful as a way to permanently delete all deleted files or to recover something if accidentally deleted.

Why hasn’t the file been deleted?

The problem that continues to appear itself almost every year is when you try to delete the files and nothing happens. One method you can try is as follows:


  1. Open the File app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap the Browse button in the bottom menu.
  3. In the upper right corner, tap the three dots in the circle.
  4. Tap Edit.
  5. Switch On My iPhone or iPad to the Off position.
  6. Toggle On My iPhone or On My iPad to the On position.
  7. Tap Done in the upper right corner.
  8. Restart the Files app.
  9. Try deleting the file from the File app again.


If the method above doesn’t work, then you want to do a “soft reset” on your iPhone or iPad. Here’s how you can reset your iPhone without the Home Button:

  1. Press and release the Volume Up button quickly.
  2. Press and release the Volume Down button quickly.
  3. Hold the Side button until the Apple logo appears.

This works well for iPhone and iPad models that don’t display the home button. This includes every iPhone after iPhone X, in addition to the iPhone 2020 SE which still includes a home button.

Check for software updates


Not surprisingly, there are some bugs that exist on iOS 13 and iPadOS. Apple has released a semi-regular update as we approach the next major software release.

While some software updates have introduced new features (eg trackpad support), they have also included some major bug fixes. So it’s important to check for software updates to make sure you are using the latest version of iOS or iPadOS.

  1. Open the Settings application on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Select Software Update.

If an update is available, tap Update Now, while ensuring that your iPhone or iPad has at least 50% battery life or is connected to a power source.


Apple has made some big steps with the Files application, and we are happy to see what will happen in the future. For now, there are still some frustrations, but for the most part, Apple has given us another great “stock” application.

If you continue to experience problems when trying to delete files from the Files application, let us know in the comments below. Also, if you have found another way to delete those files forever, listen and share them with everyone!

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