I am designing an android application showing a list of files and folders, something like dropbox or google drive.

My question is; when a file is selected should the delete option with share and tag be upfront and users can easily delete files? Or it should be like iphone contacts where delete is hidden inside and when you edit a contact at the button you get to delete the contact.

Which of these 2 options is best for an app showing a list of files and folder?

  • Further to answers below regarding how common is the delete operation expected to be used, I would ask how many files at a time would you expect a user to want to delete? Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 7:24

2 Answers 2


This depends on the both the frequency of the action and your provided fallback options. If deleting a file is a common task, then go ahead and display it upfront, if it's a task that is quite uncommon (e.g. as deleting a contact) then it's ok to require a bit more effort. Just be sure not to hide the button from the user, i.e. the user should always be aware how to delete a file.

If you choose to display the button upfront, there might be a chance to accidentally hit it, especially on a touch screen. Be sure to provide good fallback options to recover the accidental click. Again, if it's a common task, a simple "Are you sure?" message might be too much. Rather try to provide an option to undo a delete in a given time span after the click.


The contact-editing style would seem appropriate if there was also meta data or other file content to edit. But if the files or metadata are not typically edited within your app, then presenting a delete or trash button along side share etc seems appropriate (as long as there is a confirmation dialog).

Google Drive, for example, has a "Remove" button with a trash can logo, which is presented on the file info page.

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