How to Empty Trash on Mac

Joel Mason

Mac, Tutorials

In this tutorial, we will guide you on how to empty the trash on your Mac computer. Emptying the trash is an important task as it helps you reclaim disk space and permanently delete files and folders from your system. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Opening the Trash

To begin, locate the trash icon on your Mac’s dock. It is usually located at the far right end of the dock and looks like a waste bin. Click on it once to open the trash.

Step 2: Emptying the Trash

Once you have opened the trash, you will see a list of files and folders that have been deleted from your system. To empty the trash, simply right-click (or two-finger click) anywhere within the trash window. This will open a context menu with various options.

Note: If you prefer using keyboard shortcuts, you can press Command + Delete to empty the trash as well.

Option 1: Empty Immediately

If you want to permanently delete all items in your trash without any additional confirmation prompts, click on “Empty Trash” from the context menu or press Command + Shift + Delete.

Option 2: Secure Empty Trash (Recommended)

If you want to ensure that deleted files cannot be recovered by any means, choose “Secure Empty Trash” from the context menu. This will overwrite each file multiple times before deletion, making it virtually impossible to recover any data.

Option 3: Review and Selective Deletion

If you want to review the contents of your trash before deleting them permanently, choose “Open” from the context menu. This will open a new Finder window displaying the contents of the trash. From here, you can select specific files or folders to delete or restore by dragging them out of the trash.


If you encounter any issues while emptying the trash on your Mac, try the following troubleshooting steps:

  • Force Quit: If the trash refuses to empty, try force quitting any applications that may be using files in the trash. To do this, click on the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen, select “Force Quit,” and then choose any relevant applications from the list.
  • Restart: If force quitting doesn’t work, try restarting your computer.

    This will close all running processes and free up any system resources that may be preventing you from emptying the trash.

  • Repair Disk Permissions: In some cases, incorrect file permissions can prevent you from emptying the trash. To fix this issue, open “Disk Utility” from your Applications/Utilities folder, select your startup disk, and click on “First Aid.” Then click on “Repair Disk Permissions” to fix any permission-related issues.

That’s it! You have successfully learned how to empty the trash on your Mac computer. Remember to regularly empty your trash to keep your system clean and optimize disk space usage.

We hope this tutorial was helpful. If you have any further questions or need assistance with anything else, feel free to reach out to us.

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