Last year, Android 11 took over a “hidden” feature straight out of the 90s: a “trash can” for deleted files. Back in the day, deleted files weren’t really user-manageable. Apps could mark items for deletion (they would bite the dust 30 days later) and offer their own ways to restore them, but this was not the kind of central “trash” or “recycle bin” for actually deleted files. than we are used to other platforms. But based on a recent report, that could change in Android 12.

For a bit of context, this change was part of Android’s ongoing “Scoped Storage” tweaks, and it didn’t directly affect the user. That means developers can use it and build support into their apps – much like Google Photos or Google Drive’s new 30-day deletion policy – but you can’t just directly manage your local files with it. At least not yet.

That last part seemed set to change late last year when a developing feature was spotted for the Files by Google app that would allow it to display Android’s “trashed” files. 11 in a convenient folder accessible from the sidebar menu of the application. This has yet to be rolled out, but in tandem with it, Android 12 himself can support trash file management.

Images of the new System -> Storage section “Recycle Bin”, via XDA Developers.

All of this, of course, is subject to change, but a recent teardown from the folks at XDA Developers indicates that the Storage pane in Settings may get a new “trash” list showing how much space these trashed files take up, the number of files put in the recycle bin and offers to empty the recycle bin and delete them. The controls are a bit less granular than the feature spotted in development for the Files by Google app, but they’re also built right into the system itself.

It’s curious that while the Files by Google feature was spotted last year and should only depend on Android 11 to function, Google still hasn’t rolled it out. Based on this latest development, Google can keep appearing there until the end of Android 12 – although nothing really prevents Files by Google from getting it first. Either way, Android 12 is poised to catch up with Windows 95’s cutting edge file deletion technologies.