How to Recover Deleted Data Using Trash Can in Google Analytics

Admit it – we’ve all done it. Accidentally deleted an important file or the minutes to the last board meeting. We can blame the intern all we like….but we all know it was us. Usually, the first place we check is the trash can.

We’re used to the trash can being our last chance saloon on Windows, on Google Drive, or even on Gmail. But up until recently, Google Analytics didn’t have a trash can.

So, if the, er, intern, accidentally deleted that important reporting data that your boss was urgently looking for – well, it was well and truly gone.

customers. So when Google Analytics users wrote in begging for a trash can feature that would buy them a little wiggle room to undo mistakes, Google obliged. On January 27th, 2015, they rolled out the Google Analytics Trash Can feature.

If you’ve accidentally deleted data, views, or even whole accounts in Google Analytics, then take comfort in the knowledge that you can now restore them.

However, you do need to take steps to restore the deleted data within 35 days, because the Trash Can feature automatically empties after that period of time, and then you are truly up a creek without a paddle!

Here are the steps you need to follow to use the Trash Can feature in Google Analytics:

Step 1: Log into Your Google Analytics Account

Log in to your Google Analytics account with your password and e-mail (we’re assuming you have one, of course). If you don’t have administrator access to your company’s GA account, you need to request it from your supervisor.

Step 2: Find the Trash Can Feature

Once inside, locate the Administration tab, as shown below:


Then choose which account you need, and click on the Trash Can icon on the left-hand panel, as below: 

Step 3: Find and Restore the Item

Search through the table in the Trash Can for the data, report, account, or property that had been accidentally deleted. Or use the search function to find the file within the table. Click on the restore button and, voila! The selected file is restored to the main account page (see illustration below).

About the Trash Can Itself

  • The Trash Can shows a list of all the files, accounts, or properties that have been selected for deletion, the account user who selected them for deletion, and the date on which the files will be permanently deleted.
  • The Trash Can self-empties once every 35 days, so be sure to catch your deletion mistake before then – once it’s gone from the Trash Can, it’s gone forever!

What gets Restored Automatically and What Doesn’t?

When you restore an account using the Trash Can feature, every account or property has its individual, component properties and/or views restored automatically. The exception to this is, however, if you moved any of these individual properties or views to the Trash Can separately from the main account.

Take a look at the chart below to familiarize yourself with the basic structure of accounts, properties, and views in Google Analytics:

So, using the example from the chart, Account “e-nor” contains Property 1 (website), with Views 1 (e-commerce data) and 2 (PPC data), and Property 2 (mobile app).

Let’s run through all of the possible outcomes of deleting the account, or individual views or properties within the account:

  • Example 1:Let’s say you move View 2 (PPC data) to the Trash Can (separately to Account “e-nor”’). Later on, you also move Account “e-nor” to the Trash Can. Restoring Account “e-nor” now will automatically restore Property 1 (website) and View 1 (e-commerce data), but not View 2 (PPC data).  View 2 (PPC data) remains in the Trash Can because you moved it there separately and manually!
  • Example 2:You move Account “e-nor” to the Trash Can. Restoring Account “e-nor” will automatically restore Property 1 (website), with Views 1 (e-commerce data) and 2 (PPC data), and Property 2 (mobile app).  In other words, everything. Since you deleted the account wholesale, the restoration will also be wholesale.
  • Example 3:You move View 2 (PPC data) to the Trash Can. Later, you also move Account “e-nor” to the Trash Can. Restoring View 1 (e-commerce data) will automatically restore Property 1 (website) and Account “e-nor”, but not View 2 (PPC data).  View 2 stays in the Trash Can because you moved it there separately to the mother account.

Setting and Configurations

When you ‘rescue’ an account, property or view from the Trash Can, don’t worry – all of your settings and configurations (filters, goals, user permissions, links to other Google products, and so on) are also restored in full.

You won’t have to go through the configuration process again.

Collection of Data

Google Analytics is one of the most powerful business tools at your disposal, because it tells you exactly which business accounts are performing best, and therefore you know where to direct your marketing budget resources and efforts.

What it does is collect and analyze data about the performance metrics of each of your online assets.

So what happens when you accidentally put one of those business assets into the Trash Can?

Well, in brief, when you put an account, or property, or view into the Trash Can, Google Analytics pauses it data collection on that asset, because it thinks you don’t care about it any longer.

But don’t worry – once you restore the deleted assets, data processing on your main core reports (the ones you set up when you set the parameters of what Google Analytics is to measure on your behalf) resumes within one hour of being restored.

And real-time processing starts back up again within seconds of the asset being rescued from the Trash Can.

Last Word from a Google Analytics Representative

According to one Google Analytics representative[1], the Trash Can feature was a direct result of feedback from users who were desperate to undo potentially job-threatening mistakes!

“We heard from a lot of users that had mistakenly deleted their accounts, properties, and views.

Especially in a multi-user environment, mistakes like this happen too often. Trash Can gives users a safety net, a chance to recover things before being deleted forever.”


Remember that once items are deleted, you have a turnaround time of only 35 days before they are completely cleansed from the Trash Can for once and for all.


Written by Nisha Pandey

Nisha Pandey is an ardent blogger and has over 10 years of experience in the industry. She ensures to provide the readers of my articles with informative and original contents aroun SEO, Content Markeitng and Social media.