How to Use Mac Trash? A Guide for Beginner

By Amanda | Posted to Home > Wiki, on Octorber 13th, 2021

Summary:This is a complete guide for Mac Trash. It elaborates on how to use Mac Trash to delete files, recover files, and empty files.

Mac Trash

If you get used to Windows computers and switch to a new MacBook Air/MacBook Pro/iMac, you may be puzzled about where is the Recycle bin. As two different operating systems, Windows and macOS name the programs with the same functions differently. On Mac, it is called Trash, displaying on the far right of the Dock.

Now, let’s dive into how to use Mac Trash in every aspect. After reading, you will have a thorough understanding of the functions of the Apple Trash can.

How to delete files with Mac Trash?

During the process of using the computer, you create all kinds of files on your Mac. When a file is not useful anymore, you want to move it from your Mac to keep the desktop tidy. Check how to move the unnecessary files to the Trash.

Option 1: Click and drag the file onto the Trash icon in the Dock, and then release your mouse or trackpad button.

Option 2: Control-click the file you want to erase, choose Move to Trash from the menu.

Option 3: Click a file, use keyboards combination Command + Delete, then release two keys.

delete files with Mac Trash

Now, you have deleted the unwanted files on your Mac. Click the Trash icon, you can see all the deleted files lying here.

How to recover files in Mac Trash?

When you deleted a file by mistake, or want to retrieve some deleted files, you want to undo the delete operation. If the removed files are still in the Mac Trash, you can restore them. Because when you delete a file, you just move the file from the original folder to the Trash folder, rather than erasing it from the Mac permanently.

  • Open the Trash from the Dock.
  • Find the desired file from the list. The file’s name, modified date, size, and kind are shown here.
  • Contro-click the file you want to recover, then choose Put Back, or click Edit > Undo Move of "filename." The file will locate in its previous folder.
recover deleted files from Mac Trash

How to empty the Trash manually or automatically?

If you want to delete unwanted files permanently to free up space on Mac, you need to empty the trash to erase them from your disk thoroughly.

To empty the Trash manually:

  • Click the Trash in the Dock.
  • Click Empty from the top right corner.
  • Click Empty Trash when asked to make a confirmation.
Empty Trash manually

To empty the Trash automatically:

  • Back to your desktop and click Finder > Preferences from the top menu bar.
  • Click Advanced.
  • Tick the checkbox next to Remove items from the Trash after 30 days.
Empty Trash automatically

How to bypass the Trash and delete files immediately?

If you are determined to delete a file from the Mac without sending it to the Trash, you can instantly delete it by following the steps below.

Option 1: On your desktop or in the Finder, select the item you want to delete and then hold down the Option key on your keyboard, then click File > Delete Immediately in the menu bar.

bypass the Trash to delete immediately

Option 2: Select the item and press Option+Command+Delete on your keyboard, then click Delete when a warning message says "This item will be deleted immediately. You can’t undo this action."

bypass the Trash with shortcuts

If a file has been deleted permanently from the Mac, you can no longer recover it in the Trash. So, think twice before you delete a file forever. However, if you have enabled Time Machine, you may restore files from Time Machine. In addition, you can try iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac to retrieve files.