1/5/219:00 am Mac Basics: Using the Trash To Delete Files The Trash, also called the Bin, on your Mac is how you delete files. You can also recover files from the Trash, skip the Trash, and set it to automatically delete files after a period of time. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Today let me show you how to use the Trash on your Mac. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 800 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you can read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. So Trash on your Mac is the primary way to delete files. Outside of the United States it's usually called The Bin. You'll find it in the Dock. It's always on the right side of the Dock. So if you want to delete a file you can select the file, drag it down until the Dock appears, and then drop it into the Trash. Notice the Trash icon changes to show that there's something inside. Now think of the Trash as a temporary holding place for your files. You want to delete them but it's kind of dangerous on a computer to instantly delete a file and then it's gone forever. So the idea with the Trash is you're putting it in this place where the intention is to delete it but for the time being it's going to be there in case you need to get it back because you made a mistake. Now you can click on the Trash in the Dock and it will open up the Trash. It looks just like a normal folder in the Finder. You'll find the files there that you put there. You can switch views and go to Icon View, List View, Column View, Gallery View. But if you try to open a file in the Trash it's not going to let you. It's going to give you a WARNING. Now when you want to empty the Trash and permanently delete everything in the Finder you can go to Finder and then Empty Trash. It will prompt you to make sure that's what you want to do. Also if you're looking at the Trash folder, like I am here, you can click the Empty button. You can also Control click or two-finger click on a trackpad or right click on a Mouse and then select Delete Immediately for anything that's in the Trash. You'll notice here there's also another option. Put Back. Each item in the Trash remembers where it came from. So if you bring up the Context Menu and then select Put Back it will return it into its original location. This will even work if you have multiple files. Say this file is in the Trash and also in here you've got this file in the Trash. You could see they are both missing now. But if I go to the Trash, select them both and Control click and select Put Back, or I could select them both and do File and then Put Back. Then it will put both of those back. You could see this one goes back here and this one goes back here. It's really handy if you accidentally delete a bunch of files and you just want to Undo that. Speaking of Undo, Undo will work as well by if a drag a file to the Trash, place it in there. I can instantly do Command Z or Edit, Undo and it will pull it back out of the trash. That works with any move that you do in the Finder. Now there are keyboard shortcuts for moving something to the trash. You can select the file and notice under File, Move to Trash, Command Delete is the shortcut. So you can select one file or many and do Command Delete to move them there. Now you can also skip the Trash. If I select a file, you can see I can go to File, Move to Trash. If I hold down the Option Key it changes to Delete Immediately. So the keyboard shortcut is then Command Option Delete. A file will skip the trash and just be deleted. Also if you're not good at emptying the trash and it tends to accumulate a lot of things you can set it to automatically empty. In the Finder go to Finder, Preferences, and then select Advanced. There's an option here to Remove Items from the Trash after 30 days. So as soon as an item is 30 days old it's automatically deleted. Now a note about using the Trash. You should never put anything in the Trash unless you are sure you want to Delete it. It's not meant as a temporary holding place for you to think about whether or not you want to delete it. If you're not sure whether you want to delete something then create your own folder. Put it in your Documents folder. Create a folder Maybe Delete or Future Trash or something like that and put the files in there. When you move something to the Trash you should consider it deleted already. You should treat the fact that you can remove it out of the trash as kind of an emergency measure for when, perhaps, you hit the keyboard shortcut by accident or were dragging it somewhere and accidentally dragged it to the trash. Or maybe you dragged the wrong file to the Trash. Take moving a file to the trash very seriously. Otherwise you're headed for trouble. I get requests all the time from somebody that they moved something to the trash and then emptied the trash and now they need to get it back. So I know it happens a lot. Also note that there's usually not a rush to empty the trash. So people like to put a file in the Trash and immediately to empty the trash. Unless you're really running short on disc space and deleting files to clear up more storage there's no harm in letting a file sit in the trash for awhile. As you can see I just like to use the 30 day deletion and I never empty the trash. Things go in there. They are there for 30 days and they get automatically deleted. A couple of more tips. If you want to empty the Trash if you don't want to go through this extra step of this dialogue here you can simply hold the Option key down and Empty Trash will work instantly if you select it. You can also go to Finder, Preferences and then turn off Show Warning Before Emptying the Trash. Although I don't recommend it. Related Subjects: Finder (294 videos), Mac Basics (34 videos) Related Video Tutorials: No related posts. Comments: 6 Responses to “Mac Basics: Using the Trash To Delete Files” Michael Ganey 3 years ago Gary, good Trash tips. I recently tried deleting 1.5 GB of files from an external drive. My Mac Mini M1 took 3 days to move all the files to Trash, and 1 full day to delete. Any suggestions for shortening the process? Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Michael: Perhaps issues with that drive? Is it old? Is is USB 2 or 3? Henk 3 years ago Hi Gary, I can't delete folders in the trash named like '2018-03-29-114826'. They are 0 kb and are from Time Machine. They contain also 0kb folders named 'Macintosh SSD' and 'Macintosh HDD'. Computer is iMac 27" from 2011 s/w 10.13.6 High Sierra. Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Henk: You have Time Machine files in your Trash? How did they get there? You should never try to manually handle the files in a Time Machine drive. You've probably corrupted your Time Machine drive by doing so and will need to erase the driver and start your backup from scratch. Michael Ganey 3 years ago Gary, I misspoke in my post above. I was deleting 1.5 TB of files from a USB 3 drive. It literally took days to move the files to the Trash, and than over a day to delete. Any suggestions? Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Michael: Sorry, no. Not sure why it would take that long for you. Sounds like you would have been better off moving the files you didn't want to delete somewhere else and then just erasing the drive. Maybe the drive is old and having problems? Also, I wonder if using "Delete Immediately" would have been faster. Comments Closed.