How to Delete Google Drive Files: A Step-by-Step Guide

Deleting Google Drive files is a straightforward process that can free up valuable storage space and help keep your digital workspace organized. After deleting a file, it moves to the trash where it stays for 30 days before being permanently deleted. So, if you accidentally delete a file, don’t panic, you’ve got a month to recover it!

After you delete a Google Drive file, it isn’t gone forever right away. Instead, it’s moved to the trash or bin, where it stays until you decide to empty the trash or 30 days have passed, whichever comes first. The file is then permanently deleted and cannot be recovered unless you’ve backed it up elsewhere.


Google Drive has become an indispensable tool for many of us. It allows us to store documents, photos, and videos in the cloud and access them from any device, anywhere in the world. However, as the number of files we store in Google Drive grows, it can become cluttered and difficult to navigate. That’s why knowing how to delete Google Drive files is so important. It’s not just about getting rid of unwanted files; it’s about maintaining an organized and efficient digital space.

This task is relevant to anyone who uses Google Drive, whether you’re a student saving school projects, a professional sharing work documents, or someone simply using it for personal storage.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Delete Google Drive Files

Before we jump into the steps, it’s essential to understand that deleting files from Google Drive helps you manage your storage space and keep your files organized. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Open Google Drive

Navigate to in your web browser and log in if prompted.

This step is where it all begins. Make sure you’re logged into the correct Google account that contains the files you want to delete.

Step 2: Locate the File

Find the file or folder you want to delete by browsing your Drive or using the search bar.

Sometimes, you might have a lot of files, so using the search bar can be a quicker way to find what you’re looking for.

Step 3: Select the File

Click on the file or folder to select it. You can select multiple files by holding the ‘Ctrl’ key (or ‘Command’ on a Mac) while clicking.

Remember, once a file is deleted, it’s only recoverable for 30 days, so be sure you want to delete it!

Step 4: Right-Click and Choose ‘Remove’

Right-click on the selected file(s) and click ‘Remove’ from the dropdown menu.

If you can’t find ‘Remove’, look for the trash bin icon which represents the same action.

Step 5: Confirm Deletion

If prompted, confirm that you want to delete the file.

This is your last chance to back out before the file goes to the trash. Once you confirm, the file will be moved to the trash.

Step 6: Empty the Trash (Optional)

To permanently delete the file right away, go to the trash and click ‘Empty trash’.

Keep in mind that once the trash is emptied, there’s no going back. The file is gone forever.


Frees Up SpaceDeleting files can free up storage space on your Google Drive, which is especially helpful if you’re approaching your storage limit.
Organizes FilesIt helps keep your Drive organized by removing clutter and making it easier to find the files you do need.
Protects PrivacyDeleting sensitive files can protect your privacy and security, especially if you no longer need them.


Risk of Accidental DeletionThere’s always a risk of accidentally deleting important files, so you need to be cautious.
Permanent LossOnce the trash is emptied, files can’t be recovered, which could be a problem if you delete something by mistake.
Time ConsumingIf you have a lot of files to delete, the process can be time-consuming, especially if you’re doing it one by one.

Additional Information

When it comes to managing your digital files, deleting unwanted items is just one part of the equation. It’s also important to regularly back up the files you want to keep. This can be done by downloading them to your computer or using a backup service. Also, keep in mind that Google Drive files are often interconnected with other Google services like Google Photos and Gmail, so be aware that deleting files may impact these services as well.

Lastly, for those who are environmentally conscious, did you know that data storage has a carbon footprint? By keeping your Google Drive tidy, you’re not just organizing your digital life, you’re also contributing to a greener planet. So go ahead, delete those old files and feel good about it!


  1. Open Google Drive
  2. Locate the file
  3. Select the file
  4. Right-click and choose ‘Remove’
  5. Confirm deletion
  6. Empty the trash (optional)

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I delete a file shared with me?

The file will be removed from your Drive, but the owner and anyone else it’s shared with will still have access.

How can I recover a file I deleted by mistake?

You can restore it from the trash within 30 days of deletion.

Will deleting files from Google Drive delete them from my computer?

Not unless you’re using Google’s Backup and Sync app and have that option selected.

Can I delete files from Google Drive on my mobile device?

Yes, you can delete files from the Google Drive app on your smartphone or tablet.

What if I want to delete a file permanently without waiting 30 days?

Empty the trash after deleting the file to remove it permanently right away.


Knowing how to delete Google Drive files is a valuable skill in the digital age. Whether you’re making space for new files, decluttering your digital workspace, or protecting your privacy, the ability to manage your files effectively is critical.

Remember to proceed with caution and double-check before permanently deleting anything. As we become ever more reliant on cloud storage, understanding the ins and outs of Google Drive is not just useful; it’s essential. So, go ahead and take control of your digital files with confidence!

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