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What And Where Is Mac Trash?

Updated on Friday, May 17, 2024

iBoysoft author Amanda Wong

Written by

Amanda Wong
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee


What And Where Is Mac Trash?

Summary: This is a simple yet clear explanation of Mac Trash. It elaborates on what and where is Mac Trash. Plus 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 feel strange about macOS. Although with similar functions, a program has different names on two OS.

It's common that a new Mac user doesn't know what and where the trash folder is on Mac, let alone how to use it. After reading this guide, you can use the Mac Trash with ease.

What is Trash folder on macOS

Before you head to use Mac Trash to delete files and recover deleted files on Mac, it is necessary to know what the Trash folder is on Mac and why it is so important.

Take it literally, it is a folder that is used to put the files you unwanted. It seems like a trash can, you can throw any unnecessary files to it from your Mac computer. When you delete photos, videos, and documents from Finder, they will be sent to the Trash folder.

Similarly, before you empty the trash can, you can get back the items in it, and so does the Trash folder on Mac. If you find you delete something important by mistake, open your Trash folder to get it back. And if you are certainly sure those files in the Trash folder are useless anymore, you can empty it to free up space on Mac.

Mac Trash manages to help users delete unwanted files or applications most of the time. But sometimes, the error code 43 on Mac may pop up when it can't delete files.

 Mac Trash empty and full

Where to find Trash folder on Mac

Even for the first time using a Mac computer, you can easily find the Trash folder on it. By default, it locates on the far right of the Dock. You can distinguish it from other applications based on its appearance. It looks like a trash can.

You can judge whether there are files in the Trash folder from its icon. If there is no item in it, you will see an empty and clean Trash can. Otherwise, there are crumpled papers inside of it.

Double-click the Trash icon, the folder will open to display all deleted files here. Usually, the items in the Trash folder can stay there forever until you empty them manually to permanently remove them from your Mac. Or, you can change the preferences to empty the Trash folder automatically.

How to use Mac Trash

The Trash folder can help you manage files from your Mac, be it to delete files, recover files, or empty the Trash permanently. See the detailed steps below.

To delete files with Mac Trash: Click and drag the file onto the Trash icon in the Dock, and then release your mouse or trackpad button. Or, Control-click the file you want to erase, choose Move to Trash from the menu. If Mac says the item can't be moved to Trash because it's open, you need to close the files/folders/Apps before deleting them.

To recover files in Mac Trash: 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.

To empty the Trash manually: Click Empty from the top right corner. Click Empty Trash when asked to make a confirmation.

To empty the Trash automatically: click Finder > Preferences from the top menu bar. Click Advanced. Tick the checkbox next to Remove items from the Trash after 30 days.

Final Words

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.

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