How to Empty Your Mac's Trash

  Matt Cone       January 24, 2021      Tutorials Mac


When you’re ready to delete files on your Mac, you drag and drop them on your Mac’s trash can. It’s the equivalent of the Recycling Bin on Windows operating systems. But what happens after you move files to the trash?

Empty your Mac’s trash

The trash is essentially a folder on your Mac — a holding spot for files you want to delete eventually, but not quite yet. If you change your mind, you can just drag a file out of the trash and into another folder. When you’re ready to permanently delete the files in the trash, you need to empty your Mac’s trash yourself (unless you set your Mac to automatically empty the trash).

Here’s how to empty your Mac’s trash:

  1. Check the trash and make sure you want to delete the contents.

  2. Switch to the Finder by clicking the Finder icon on the dock.

    Empty your Mac’s trash

  3. From the Finder menu, select Empty Trash.

    Empty your Mac’s trash

The files and folders in the trash will be permanently deleted.

Other Ways to Empty the Trash on Your Mac

Alternatively, you can right click on the trash icon on the Dock and select Empty Trash, as shown below.

Empty your Mac’s trash

Or, if you’d prefer to use a keyboard shortcut, press the Shift, Command, and Delete buttons.

Empty your Mac’s trash keyboard shortcut

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© 2021. A Matt Cone project. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Made with 🌶️ in New Mexico.