How to Empty Trash on Mac | Solutions 2021

Any deleted files on Mac would be moved to the Trash folder, the user can then decide whether to restore the deleted files or erase them permanently. While emptying the Trash, you might have come across a few files that would not get deleted. This could be because the files might be in use with other applications, corrupted files or various other reasons. No matter what the reason is, below are a few ways which will help you in emptying the Trash. By following the steps mentioned in the article below, you will be able to empty trash on Mac.How to Empty Trash on Mac

How to Empty Trash on Mac?

  1. Check If the File is Still in Use
  2. Restart Mac on Safe Mode
  3. Empty the Stubborn Trash
  4. Repair the disk before emptying the Trash
  5. Use the Option key to empty the Trash
  6. Bypassing the Bin
  7. Empty Trash Bin on Mac Using Terminal

While implementing the above-mentioned methods, like using Mac terminal and others, you might encounter unforeseen circumstances of data loss scenarios on your macOS. In such cases, you will need a reliable mac data recovery tool to recover data from your mac drives. Download Remo Recover Mac now.

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Why Trash Won't Delete on Mac

    1. Application in Use
    2. Corruption of the partition
    3. Because File Deletion is locked

Nevertheless, by following the methods below you will effortlessly be able to delete the desired trash on your macOS

 How to Empty Trash on Mac:

There are situations where one feels there is a need to empty trash on Mac. This may be because one needs to get rid of unwanted files or maybe if his trash is full. Whatever may be the reason one can follow the below mentioned steps to empty his trash on Mac with ease. 

Check If the File is Still in Use

When emptying the Trash, if you get ‘File in Use’ error then try to close the app which is using the file. In such cases, try closing all the running apps running in the background. This will ensure that the file is not being used by any app. Now go back to Trash and try emptying it. If it still doesn’t, move to the next method.

Restart Mac on Safe Mode

The file that you are trying to delete might be in use by another application, making it difficult for you to empty Trash. Reboot the Mac in Safe Mode and clear Trash as shown below

      • Reboot your Mac, press and hold the Shift key, as you do so you will find Apple logo appear on the screen.
      • Once the login screen appears release the shift key and login to the computer.
      • After booting into the Safe Mode, open Trash and then click on Empty.

Note: There are situations when you are unable to open trash on Mac or you feel there is a need to uninstall or delete applications from Mac. One can refer to these articles by clicking on the above mentioned link. 

Empty the Stubborn Trash

This is another method to empty the trash. Sometimes, the files may be locked hence, you are unable to empty the Trash bin. Hold down the Option key then go to Finder, then empty Trash. This should definitely help you in cleaning the Trash as the Option key invokes Mac ‘Force Empty’ feature to bypass all the locked files and removes every other item residing in your Trash.

Note: Files deleted from Trash using this method cannot be restored again. So be careful about what files you are removing. In case, you want to restore files deleted from Trash on Mac, you can use a professional software like Remo Recover Mac. The software scans and retrieves back all your files from Mac Trash on any macOS like Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, etc.

Repair the disk before emptying the Trash

If you are unable to empty Trash on Mac, there can be possibility of corruption on the disk that might be preventing the deletion. Try the below steps to repair the disk and then delete the files.

  • Restart Mac and hold Command+R as the system starts.
  • In the macOS Utilities window select Disk Utility and click on Continue.
  • Select the disk from which the files need to be deleted and then click on First Aid to start the repair process.
  • After completion of the repair process restart your Mac and empty the Trash.

Use the Option key to empty the Trash

In case you can’t open the Trash to delete all that’s inside, there is a way to do it from the Dock. Using the Option key, you can initiate options and clear the Trash without opening the folder.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Find the Trash icon in Dock.
  2. Hold the Option key (or Option-Shift) and double-click the Trash icon.
  3. Click Empty Bin.
  4. Confirm when the pop-up window appears.
  5. Hope that did help to empty the Trash. If not, let’s move on to the next solutions.

Remove files bypassing Trash

Command + Option + Delete keys. By pressing CMD+Option+Delete keys you will permanently deleted the files bypassing the recyle bin.

Caution: there’s no way back! Use Command + Option + Delete if you want to completely remove a file. It won't go to Trash, so you won't be able to restore it later.

Empty Trash Bin on Mac Using Terminal

Use this method only when all the above-mentioned fixes fail. As this process will delete all the locked files without any alert message. So be careful with the command and do exactly what is given below:

sudo rm -rf ~/.Trash/*

This was used earlier, but it does not work on Sierra or El Capitan. If your OS X is 10.10 or above, follow the below-mentioned steps.

      • Open Terminal on your Mac.
      • Now type this command followed by a space and DO NOT PRESS ENTER AFTERWARD.
      • sudo rm –R 
      • Please note that the command will not work if you don’t add space after R.
      • Control-click Trash from the Doc.
      • Select all the files in the Trash Bin
      • Drag and Drop the files into the Terminal window. This will create the path to each file to remove the command which you entered earlier.
      • Now press Enter.
      • Enter your Admin password to continue the process. The password you enter will not be visible. It appears as if nothing has changed.
      • Now press Enter again.

The deleting process will start and take a couple of minutes or more depending on the size of the file.

Using the methods mentioned above you can permanently empty your trash on mac. But what if you unintentionally delete important files from mac trash? Do you know that you can easily recover deleted files from trash using a professional data recovery tool that can help you to retrieve accidentally deleted files from Mac.

Remo Mac data recovery tool is one such tool that comes in handy when you try to retrieve accidentally deleted files. This tool helps you to recover lost or accidentally deleted files like photos, videos, .doc or .docx, etc in just a few simple clicks. Download the software now!!

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Now you can empty your trash MAC from the stubborn files and folders which wouldn’t have been deleted just like that. And remember files deleted using Terminal will not be restored and be extra cautious while selecting the files from Trash. If you need any help in recovering files from Trash or otherwise, you can refer to the above-mentioned link.

How to Empty Trash on Mac | Solutions 2021 was last modified: September 16th, 2021 by John Harris
2 comments on “How to Empty Trash on Mac | Solutions 2021
  1. Dr Neeta Chhabra says:

    Thanks a lot. This is so correct and elaborate. Was able to delete 80000 files in a minute for which i was struggling for last 02 days

  2. MURTALA says:

    wow that was excellent

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