The Android 11 public beta is off and available for anyone who wants to try it – anyone with a compatible phone, so – and we see a steady stream of new features coming to light. The latest is a potentially very useful trashcan for recovering deleted files.
As noted by 9to5Google, this trash is apparently already present since the developer’s preview in February, but so far it has largely flown under the radar. It works exactly the way you think it could, in the classic Windows Recycle Bin or macOS Trash folder tradition: files and photos you delete are not completely deleted for a period of 30 days, giving you a window to restore them.
This is a significant improvement on the current way Android works, where files that are deleted from the local storage are immediately erased and cannot be restored unless you have a backup somewhere. It will be a reassuring safety net if you accidentally delete an entire folder of audio files you were planning to listen to or all the photos from your recent vacation – you should be able to restore them with just a few taps.
App developers, however, will need to implement the user-centric features, so this trashcan may look slightly different between apps. It’s part of a more general change in the way Android handles files called scoped storage, and Google has a video on it. Some apps, of course, already have these features built-in – Google Drive and Google Photos are two apps that can restore your files from the cloud if you accidentally delete them from your Android phone and tablet. It’s similar to many apps on iOS.
However, the built-in feature in the operating system adds some extra peace of mind and is useful for files stored only on your device (such as downloads from the web). A full launch of Android 11 is expected later this year.