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Deleted Files Not In Trash Mac, Why&How to Recover?

Updated on Wednesday, May 22, 2024

iBoysoft author Amanda Wong

Written by

Amanda Wong
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee


Solved! Deleted Files Do Not Go to Trash on Mac

Summary: If you can't find deleted files in Mac Trash, you can read this post explaining why the deleted files not in Mac Trash and guiding you to recover mistakenly deleted files when they don't go to Trash with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac.

deleted files not in trash mac

After deleting files on Mac, you open the Mac Trash located on the right corner of the Dock to check the deleted files. But unexpectedly, the deleted files not in Mac Trash, making you puzzled. And such a situation could be terrible if you accidentally remove some files from your Mac and want to restore them from Mac Trash.

If you want to know why deleted files don't go to Trash and how to avoid the same situation in the future, you can keep reading this post to get the answers and solutions. Besides, it also provides methods to help recover deleted files when they disappear from Mac Trash.

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Why are my deleted files not showing in Trash

Usually, the deleted files are moved to Mac Trash, they are not deleted permanently and instantly from your Mac. This is a means to protect mistakenly deleted data or in the event that you decide to retrieve a deleted file later. However, you find the deleted files not in Mac Trash, and you can't put them back to restore. There are two main reasons behind this scenario:

The files are permanently deleted

There are multiple ways to delete files on Mac, if you drag-drop the files to Mac Trash, control-click > choose Move to Trash or use keyboard shortcuts Command + Delete, the deleted files will be sent to Trash, a folder on Mac. However, if you select the target item, and use Option + Command + Delete, or hold Option and choose Delete Immediately in Finder's File menu, the deleted files will bypass the Mac Trash and disappear from your Mac instantly.

Even if you haven't permanently deleted files on Mac, the deleted files are still not in Mac Trash. Perhaps, you accidentally choose Empty Trash, or you have enabled Remove items from the Trash after 30 days in Finder's Settings, these also result in the deleted files not being in Mac Trash.

permanently delete mac files

System errors with the Mac Trash

Many Mac users may encounter this irritating issue frequently. They choose the methods to quickly delete files on Mac which should keep the deleted files in Mac Trash but they can't find deleted files there. It indicates that the Trash-related file permissions have been damaged or are simply out of balance. There doesn't appear to be a method to fix these, and they prevent the operating system from writing new files to the Trash folder.

How to recover deleted files not in Mac Trash

Whatever the reason why you can't find deleted files in Mac Trash, you can't find the removed files anywhere on your Mac. What if you mistakenly delete some files and they don't go to Mac Trash? It is still possible to recover them back. 

Recover deleted files with data recovery software

Even if the files are permanently deleted from Mac Trash, they are probably still kept on your Mac hard drive given that the disk space occupied by the file is marked as available after deletion and the data will be finally erased when the space is taken up by new data. Therefore you'd better stop writing data to your Mac and recover data from your Mac ASAP when you find deleted files not showing up in Mac Trash.

To make the deleted files visible on your Mac, you need third-party data recovery software. iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac is a good choice, being professional, super reliable, and easy to use. Just free download it on your Mac to have a try. 

Best Mac Deleted File Recovery Software - iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac

  • Recover deleted photos, documents, audio files, videos, emails, etc.
  • Recover deleted files from HDD, SSD, flash drives, SD cards, etc.
  • Support APFS, HFS+, exFAT & FAT32 formatted drives.
  • macOS Ventura & Apple Silicon Macs supported.

 Read-only & risk-free


Steps to recover deleted files with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac:

  1. Download, install, and run iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac.
  2. Connect the external hard drive you deleted the files from to your Mac.
  3. Select Storage Device under Data Recovery and choose the connected drive.scan drive
  4. Click on the Search for Lost Data button to start scanning the selected drive.
  5. Filter files using several categories, and then preview files that can be recovered.preview files
  6. Select the desired files and click Recover to save them in a different location.recover files

In case it is the startup disk which you want to recover data from, you should run iBoysoft Data Recovery in macOS Recovery mode.

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Recover deleted files with Time Machine backup

You can quickly retrieve deleted files or restore earlier versions of data if you use Time Machine to back up the contents on your Mac. Follow the steps below to recover deleted files that are not in Mac Trash with Time Machine backup.

  1. Connect the Time Machine backup drive to your Mac.
  2. Open the window for the item you want to restore on your Mac such as the Downloads folder, if the deleted files are previously located on the desktop, you don't need to open a window.
  3. Enter Time Machine by clicking the icon on the menu bar and choosing Browse Time Machine backups. You can add the Time Machine shortcut to the menu bar from the Apple menu > System Settings > Control Center > Menu Bar Only, expand the box behind Time Machine, and choose Show in Menu Bar. macos ventura menu bar time machine
  4. Browse the local backups and snapshots using the arrows and timeline.browse time machine backups
  5. Find and select the desired files you want to restore, then click Restore to return selected items to the original locations.

How to fix deleted files don't go to Mac Trash

After recovering deleted files that are not in Mac Trash, you can read this part to know some tips to avoid the same situation in the future. Applying the tips below to ensure that the deleted files are placed in the Mac Trash and that you are informed prior to permanently removing files from your Mac.

Check settings in Finder

  1. Go to Finder, click Finder on the top menu bar, and choose Settings.
  2. Select the Advanced tab on the Finder Settings window.find trash related settings
  3. Check the box of Show warning before emptying the Trash. In this way, the system will pop up a window for you to confirm the deletion when you click the Empty button in Trash.warning empty trash
  4. Untick Remove items from the Trash after 30 days. Thus, the deleted files will be kept in Mac Trash forever until you manually remove them from Mac Trash.

Restart your Mac

Whenever the Mac performs abnormally, you can restart Mac to quickly give it a fresh start. When you delete some files from Finder or on the desktop, but they don't show up in the Mac Trash, you can restart your Mac to see whether this quick fix can bring it back on track.

Change files/drives permission

When you can't find the deleted files in Mac Trash, perhaps you fail to delete them due to permission limitations. You can check the files or the drive's permission by right-clicking the item and choosing Get Info. You should have the Read&Write privilege under Sharing&Permissions. If not, you need to change permission on Mac.

Reinstall macOS

In case the above methods fail to troubleshoot the deleted files not in the Mac Trash issue, there could be some serious system corruption on your Mac. You can reinstall macOS to get rid of the problem with ease. And you'd better back up your Mac before the reinstallation.

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