Android 11 Beta changed trashing files forever

A brief period of safe-keeping appears in Android 11 for 3rd-party apps trashing files (like photos and videos), thanks to MediaStore API. Storage access with Android 11 includes a sort of recycling bin – or safety net between the trashing of a file and that file's actual complete annihilation. This could be good news for the clumsy, or bad news for those prone to self-incrimination.

With Google's latest documentation of Android 11 – with Android 11 Beta – Google shows how apps with edit access to trashed files can display items in this new recycling bin. These same apps can potentially un-trash items – the same goes for apps that've asked for user consent to gain the right Android Permission.

Files that've been trashed in Android 11 will be completely deleted after they've sat in the recycling bin for 30 days by default. There'll likely be a way that apps can change the countdown to actual deletion of each file, and users will be prompted to give permission to each app before they put anything in the "trash" or the "recycling bin" – or whatever it'll end up being called.

This system is part of the new set of ways in which files are stores on Android devices. With Scoped Storage, Android users will have Private App Storage (only accessible to owner app) and Shared Storage separate. Shared Storage has two sections which are also separate from one-another: MediaStore (which needs Media Permission), and Downloads + Other Files (only accessible to apps via system picker.)

Android's newly separated sections for storage of files makes the entire platform more secure. Also new with Android 11 is app's ability to manage all files in shared storage with special app access.

Google's implemented a system like this before – in Google Photos. If you "Move to trash" a photo or video, it's not immediately deleted from existence. It's moved to the trash can – which can be accessed via the app's main options menu. If users do not retrieve items from the trash can in Google Photos, they become deleted permanently after a period of 60 days.