How to Recover Deleted Google Drive Files: A Step-by-Step Guide


Matthew Burleigh

Accidentally deleted an important file from Google Drive? No worries! Recovering deleted Google Drive files is a straightforward process. All you need is access to the internet and your Google account. By following a few simple steps, you can restore your lost documents, photos, or any other files in no time.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Recover Deleted Google Drive Files

Before diving into the specifics, it’s important to understand that when you delete a file from Google Drive, it’s not gone forever—at least not immediately. Deleted items are moved to the Trash, where they stay for 30 days before being permanently erased. The following steps will guide you through recovering those files from the abyss.

Step 1: Open Google Drive

Open Google Drive by typing into your web browser and logging in with your Google account credentials.

Once you’re in Google Drive, you’ll be able to access all your files and folders. If you don’t see the file you’re looking for, it might be in the Trash.

Step 2: Navigate to the Trash

On the left-hand side of the screen, you’ll see a menu. Click on "Trash" to view all the files you’ve deleted.

Remember, files are only available in the Trash for 30 days. If it’s been longer than that, the file might be gone for good.

Step 3: Locate the Deleted File

Scroll through the contents of the Trash to find the file you want to recover. Use the search bar at the top if you have a lot of files and need to find it quickly.

If you can’t find your file here, it’s possible that it was shared with you and owned by someone else. In this case, you’ll need to ask the owner to restore it.

Step 4: Right-click and Select "Restore"

Once you’ve found the file, right-click on it (or click the three dots next to the file) and select "Restore" from the menu.

After clicking "Restore," your file will immediately be returned to its original location in your Google Drive.

Step 5: Verify the File has been Restored

Go back to your Google Drive and make sure the file is back where it belongs.

If the file doesn’t show up right away, try refreshing the page. If it still isn’t there, repeat the steps to ensure it was properly restored.

After completing these steps, your file should be back in its rightful place, just as if it never left.

Tips for Recovering Deleted Google Drive Files

  • If you can’t find a file in the Trash, check if it’s in a different Google Drive folder or if it’s been shared with you.
  • Keep your Google Drive organized so you can easily find files and notice when something’s missing.
  • Regularly back up important files to another location, like an external hard drive or another cloud service.
  • If you’ve shared a file with others, make sure you recover it as soon as possible, as someone else might empty the Trash.
  • Be mindful of the 30-day limit in the Trash; set a reminder if you need to think about whether to permanently delete or restore a file.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I recover a file after 30 days?

If it’s been more than 30 days since you deleted the file and it’s not in the Trash, it’s permanently deleted and can’t be recovered through Google Drive.

What if I didn’t delete the file, but it’s missing?

If a file is missing but not in your Trash, it might have been deleted by a shared user, removed by Google for a policy violation, or misplaced. Check other folders and with other users who had access.

Can I recover a file deleted from a shared folder?

Yes, if you have edit access to a shared folder and delete a file, it goes to your Trash, and you can restore it following the same steps.

How can I protect my files from accidental deletion?

Regular backups and using Google Drive’s "Star" feature to mark important files can protect them. Additionally, consider restricting shared file editing rights.

Can I recover a file on the Google Drive mobile app?

Yes, the mobile app has a Trash section too. Follow similar steps to restore your file on a mobile device.


  1. Open Google Drive.
  2. Navigate to the Trash.
  3. Locate the deleted file.
  4. Right-click and select "Restore."
  5. Verify the file has been restored.


Losing files can be stressful, but thankfully, Google Drive has a reliable recovery system. Whether you’ve accidentally deleted a file or someone else did, the process to get it back is simple and quick. Just remember to act within 30 days, and your files will be safe. As an authority on this topic, I can’t stress enough the importance of regular backups and staying organized. Even with recovery options, the best defense against data loss is preparation. So, go ahead and recover deleted Google Drive files, but also take steps to protect your digital life in the future.

Matthew Burleigh

Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech content online for more than ten years. He enjoys writing about Google Docs in addition to many other applications and devices and has cumulatively covered Google’s word-processing application in hundreds of different articles.

He has been published on dozens of popular websites, and his works have accumulated millions of pageviews.
While focused primarily on tutorials and guides for popular electronics like the iPhone and iPad, as well as common applications like Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and Excel, he covers topics across the entire technology spectrum.

You can read his bio here.

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