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Deleted File Keeps Reappearing: Why and How to Fix?

Updated on Tuesday, August 9, 2022

iBoysoft author Vain Rowe

Written by

Vain Rowe
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee

Deleted File Keeps Reappearing: Why and How to Fix?

Suppose you need to view, open, edit, and download files or folders on your Mac, then the deleted file keeps reappearing problem might not be an odd thing to you. This post is guiding you to figure out why do deleted files keep reappearing and how to eradicate deleted files keep reappearing problems on your Mac device.

the deleted file keeps reappearing on Mac

Table of Contents:

 

why do deleted files keep reappearing?

 Hi all. I deleted 2 files from my Mac's desktop and emptied the trash. A little while later I noticed the 2 files had reappeared in the trash so I deleted them again. They came back. I logged into iCloud and I emptied the recently deleted section of iCloud Drive which removed these files from the trash on my Mac. A little while later they came back again, both on my Mac and in the recently deleted section of iCloud Drive. Does anyone know how to permanently get rid of these 2 files and not have them come back? Many thanks.

It is not shocking that the deleted files keep reappearing on your Mac Trash or the desktop if you have downloaded them from iCloud Drive, Safari, or Chrome browsers, and view or edit these files stored on the USB drive or SD card. 

After several attempts of deletion, they came back again, and you might get puzzled and annoyed. Finally, you are highly likely to ask: why do my deleted files keep reappearing?

Actually, the reappearance of the deleted files on the Mac Trash or desktop is caused by your Mac Trash being corrupted, the error arising from the iCloud Drive or Safari and Chrome browsers, or Time Machine backup for the external drive. 

Since the deleted file keeps reappearing problem is caused by different factors, then this post is going to answer the question that why do my deleted files keep reappearing from respective perspectives. Keep reading.

 

How to fix deleted file keeps reappearing on Mac?

Responding to the reasons mentioned above, this post is going to guide you to fix deleted file keeps reappearing problem in the following aspects, and you can try these approaches according to your conditions:

Force delete the file in Mac Trash

The deleted file keeps reappearing, which occurs normally because of the error of Mac Trash. Dealing with why do deleted file keeps reappearing problems, force deleting the file on Mac is a feasible approach.

  1. Launch Trash on the desktop of your Mac device.
  2. Locate the file that keeps reappearing after deletion.
  3. Hold down the Control key on your keyboard, and then click the file that you want to delete permanently.
  4. Select Delete Immediately in the dropdown menu bar.  
    force delete the file in Mac Trash

Delete the file that keeps reappearing in iCloud Drive

Sometimes, you have downloaded the file from iCloud Drive, and then you dragged it to Mac Trash and empty the Trash after temporary use. After a short while, the deleted file keeps reappearing. In this scenario, you can delete the origin file in iCloud Drive to fix this tough problem.

  1. Launch browser Chrome or Safari via Spotlight Search or Home Folder on Mac.
  2. Type in iCloud.com in the browser.
  3. Log in with your Apple ID and double-click the folder where the file locates.
  4. Press down the Control key and click the file on the iCloud home page.
  5. Select the Delete icon.

If this approach cannot solve this issue, try the additional ways to fix the deleted file keeps reappearing problem.

Clear the browser cache

In most cases, the deleted file may be the shared collaboration file in browsers, thus even if you have deleted it, it still keeps reappearing. Facing this condition, clearing the browser cache is a viable way.

Clear Google Chrome browser cache on Mac

Try the following steps to prohibit the deleted file keeps reappearing problem on Mac:

  1. Launch the Google Chrome browser on your Mac device.
  2. Click the three dots on the upper right of the home page of Goole Chrome.
  3. Locate and click More Tools in the dropdown menu bar.
  4. Click Clear Browsing Data and select All Time in the Time range box.  
    clear Google Chrome browser cache on Mac
  5. Check Cookies and other site data and Cached images and files.
  6. Finally, click Clear data.

Clear Safari browser cache on Mac 

If the file comes from the Safari browser, you can fix the deleted file keeps reappearing problem by clearing the caches on the Safari browser:

  1. Launch Safari on the desktop of your Mac.
  2. Click Safari on the upper left of the toolbar on your desktop.
  3. Select Preferences and open the Advanced tab on the home page.
  4. Tick Show Develop menu in menu bar and close the Preferences window.  
    tick Show develop menu in menu bar of Safari
  5. Click Develop in the upper toolbar and select Empty Caches in the dropdown menu.  
    Clear Safari browser cache on Mac

Since these steps mentioned above can delete the origin file permanently, there is unlikely that the deleted file keeps reappearing again. 

Exclude the file from Time Machine Backup

If the deleted file comes from the USB drive, SD card, or other external drives, while the drive was linked with the Time Machine drive on Mac, it's possible that Time Machine has backed up the file on your external drive. Therefore, the deleted file keeps reappearing even if the external drive is disconnected from the Mac already. 

If you do not want the deleted file to keep reappearing, you can click the Apple menu > System Preferences > Time Machine > Options > click + button and add your external drive. These actions can stop the Time Machine from backing up the file in the external drive.

exclude the file from Time Machine backup

The verdict

The deleted file keeps reappearing without a clue on Mac is extremely annoying nettlesome, and you can try to fix this troublesome question by the approaches provided in this post. Meanwhile, these methods are also available for the deleted folder keeps reappearing problems on the Mac desktop or Mac Trash, if you encounter the problem, try them bravely!

FAQ

A

If you cannot delete files on Mac, it's because they are still being used by an application. You can launch Activity Monitor to force quit this application, then try to drag it to the Mac Trash for deleting them.