When you delete a file from Dropbox, it's no longer visible in any of the folders you see in your account. However, the file is not yet permanently deleted. Rather, it's moved into a queue for permanent deletion (see below for info specific to your account type). This queuing enables features like file recovery and version history. Depending on what type of Dropbox account you have, file recovery and version history differs:
- For most Basic and Plus users, files are recoverable for 30 days.
- For Plus subscribers with extended version history, files are recoverable for 1 year.
- Most Dropbox Business can recover files for 120 days (learn more about file recovery options on Dropbox Business).
You can permanently delete a file yourself to skip the above queuing process. Permanent deletion of a file will not allow you or Dropbox to restore these files at a later date. This applies to manually permanently deleting a file, as well as a file exceeding the recovery period specific to your account type. Here's what you should know about permanent deletions:
- This action will begin a permanent deletion process that can take up to 60 days in the normal course of operations.
- Permanently deleting a file means that you will not be able to recover it.
What happens when I delete files from a shared folder?
- If you delete a file from a shared folder (whether you created the shared folder or joined someone else's), any member of the folder may be able to restore the file.
- If you delete a shared folder from your Dropbox account, you're leaving the folder, not deleting it for everyone else. This means that the shared folder and the files in it will remain available to the other members it was shared with. You also have the ability to add the folder back to your Dropbox account.
- To completely delete a shared folder and its files from all members of the shared folder, you will first need to unshare the shared folder.
- Note: Only shared folder owners have the ability to unshare a folder.
- Learn how to transfer ownership of a shared folder.
Data destruction mechanisms
Dropbox uses a secure deletion process to delete data from our servers. Additionally, when a Dropbox storage disk has reached the end of its useful life or is damaged, we follow a decommissioning process that is designed to physically destroy the disk to the point data cannot be recovered. Our third-party service providers also follow secure destruction processes for media they control.