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How to empty the trash on your Mac

  Tom Trash Mac Empty Trash Context Menu

If you are used to the Windows Recycle Bin for unwanted items when you move to Mac, this folder is simply called junk. And just like a trash needs to be emptied from time to time, so does trash.

On Mac, you can clear all junk or just specific items. In addition, you can automatically empty the trash so you don't have to worry about doing it yourself. If you are new to Mac, you can empty the trash here.

Empty all trash

We have listed four different methods that you can use to empty the entire trash. This gives you many options, depending on what you do at that time on your Mac.

Method one:

The trash folder sits nicely in the Dock on the Mac. So if you want to clear all items quickly, this is the easiest way. Either right-click or hold Check and click Trash. Then select Empty Trash .

 Empty Trash Mac Dock

Method two:

If you decide to click and open the trash to make sure you are ready to say goodbye to everything in it, you can click the Empty button in the upper right corner to remove it.

 Tom Trash Mac Empty Button

Method Three:

Alternatively with your trash open, you can right-click or hold [19659009] control and click in the Recycle Bin and select Tom Trash from the context menu.

 Tom Trash Mac Empty Trash Context Menu

Method Four:

Another way to clear all junk is using the menu bar. Click Finder > Empty Trash .

 Empty Trash Mac Menu Bar

Empty certain files from the Recycle Bin

Maybe while doing your Mac spring cleaning, you may find some files in the Recycle Bin that you are not quite ready for to divorce or just not sure. But there are others you know you will never see again.

You can easily remove certain files from the Recycle Bin. Right-click or hold Check and click on the item you want to go for good. Select Delete Immediately from the context menu.

 Empty Trash Mac Erase Instantly

Recycle Garbage

Just remember that when you empty that Trash, these items are gone forever. So if you change your mind about a file and want to keep it, right-click or hold the Control and click item and select Revert from the context menu.

 Trash Mac Put Back File

Empty Trash Automatically

Maybe you really are bad at remembering to take out the trash. If so, you can set it up to empty automatically (which would be great with our physical junk, right?).

1) Select Finder > Settings from the menu bar.

2) Click the Advanced tab .

3) Check the Remove Items from Trash every 30 days .

 Auto Empty Trash

You can then close the Finder Preferences window.

Empty Trash With Terminal

Even if you are unfamiliar with Mac, you may be familiar with using command prompt or trying to get used to using Terminal for fast actions. In that case, you can empty the trash that way.

Navigate to and open Terminal on your Mac with Spotlight Search, Go > Utilities from the menu bar, or Applications > Utilities from Dock. Then open the Recycle Bin. Then, do the following to clear the Recycle Bin with Terminal.

1) Enter the command below in the Terminal window:

  sudo rm-R 

(make sure to use a space after the letter R)

Do not press Return keys .

 Tom Trash Mac Terminal Command

2) Select all, one or more files from the Recycle Bin that you want to delete and drag them into the terminal window. You will see the file name (s) in the window when you release your finger.

 Tom Trash Mac Terminal File Name

3) Now press the Return key.

4) Enter your Mac user password (not shown) and press Return .

element (s) disappears from trash.

Wrap It Up

As you can see, macOS gives you many ways to empty the Recycle Bin. So use what is most comfortable for you or most convenient at the time. Which method or methods do you think you would like to use?

For related tutorials, take a look at how to skip the Recycle Bin and remove files immediately, or what to do if your files don't want to be deleted from the Recycle Bin.

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