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Is Android 12 getting a trash bin feature? Code teardown reveals hidden setting

(Pocket-lint) – Google might be planning to add a trash feature to Android – something typically only seen in desktop operating systems. Whether you call it trash, a bin, or (if you’re a Windows user) a recycle bin, it looks like Android 12 could arrive later this year with a way for you to throw away and recycle files.

XDA-Developers has been rummaging through Android 12 code to find yet-to-be-announced features possibly buried in the upcoming mobile operating system update. And the latest juicy nugget it has uncovered is a line in the main Settings app for “Trash” (found under Settings > Storage). Apparently, when you tap Trash, Android 12 surfaces a dialog box telling you how much storage deleted files are taking up on your system, and it’ll let you empty your trash.

In other words, it works like the trash found on desktop operating systems such as Windows or MacOS. But, before you get excited, let’s walk back a bit.

Android 11 has a trash API that apps can leverage to hide files, rather than fully delete them. The thing is, few apps use the feature, though Google appears to be ready to support it in the Files by Google app. There isn’t a way to recover trashed files in the current iteration of the feature, and the Android 12 trash settings that XDA found doesn’t point to a system-wide recovery option either. But individual file management apps, like Google Files, could offer it.

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So, it’s unclear if Android 12 or Google’s Files app or both will support trashing and recovering. But with I/O set for May, we’re hoping to learn more soon.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.